The Three Peaks Yacht Race

  • UK (GBR)

Leopard Make Their Move

Rob Howard / 20.06.2006See All Event Posts Follow Event
The Reflex 38, Leopard, first led the race when they rowed away from the start line at Barmouth in bright sunshine and on calm seas ... and more importantly they lead again as the leading yachts arrived in Fort William. This time they were under full sail with storm clouds gathering, and a favourable tide pushing them along Loch Linnhe towards the final landfall at the Lock Basin of the Caledonian Canal at Corpach.

On the final sailing leg of the race Rob Dornton-Duff skippered his crew into the lead, passing the defending champions Vlad the Impaler in the night, though exactly where neither crew seemed sure, and Leopard were not certain they lead until a few miles out from the finish. (They are one of the teams with no support crew to keep shore watch for them.) As a RIB went out to meet and photograph them close to the Corran Narrows, they shouted out:

“Where are the others?�
“Behind you!� Was the reply.
“All of them?�
“Yes.�

At the time Leopard was making 8 knots but was tightly reefed after broaching 3 times. “We’d taken 3 hits,� said Dornton-Duff, who bought Leopard in 2004, “so we’d taken sail in and didn’t look our best for the photographs!�

Vlad the Impaler was an hour behind them at this point, so the race was far from over. There was still the Ben Nevis run to complete, and although Leopard’s runners had recorded fast times they knew there was an outside chance they could be caught, especially as Andy Arbour is primarily a road and track runner. The Ben Nevis run is a straight up and down fell run with a big climb.

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