Magellan Three Peaks Yacht Race

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Safe Arrivals

Rob / 20.06.2003See All Event Posts Follow Event
Barmouth Harbour
Barmouth Harbour
By Friday afternoon all the competing yachts were safely anchored at Barmouth. Some had come a long way, Hellefix from Holland and Reiver from the Humber, via the Orkneys. This year there were no dramas on the way, though in the past damaged engines, broken masts and lifeboat rescues have made getting to the start as much of an adventure as the race. Maybe it will be a quiet year. Certainly the forecast for the start is quiet, winds of only force 1 or 2 are expected for the early stages of the race.

Finding all the yachts moorings at the mouth of the Mawddach Estuary is not an easy task. Barmouth has no marina development where you can motor in and tie up, it’s a broad harbour at the estuary mouth, which is increasingly silting up, so boats must tie up on anchorages in the deeper channels at high water. Harbour Master, Peter Phillips and Race Director Meic Ellis were involved with piloting and securing the yachts much of the day and once moored crews used their dinghies or water taxis to come ashore.

Difficult it may be, but the setting at Barmouth is magnificent. Overlooked on all sides by mountains the town nestles against high cliffs and looking out across the broad estuary there are views of the main ridges of Cadair Idris. Inland of the harbour the railway bridge, which first opened up the town to tourism, impressively spans the width of the estuary, and a sea wall offers protection at its entrance.

A Sponsors Welcome

Throughout the day the crews and runners went through kit checks, registration and disclosures at the Merioneth Yacht Club. Then at 16.30 there was a briefing from race sponsors, Magellan, who gave each team one of their latest GPS models, the SporTrak Colour, to use during the race. This is primarily for the runners to use and the 3 summits had already been pre-programmed into the units, so there will be no excuse for getting lost!

In fact Magellan plan to download the Tracklog’s after the race, to see how fast teams moved, and where exactly they did go! There were numerous questions about their use and crews were told they were waterproof for up to half an hour if held a meter under water. As no one plans to be underwater quite that long this seemed more than adequate! (They float anyway.)

For a very traditional race this isn’t the only hi-tech innovation either. For the first time this year SportIdent electronic timing will be used to record times on the mountain runs. Each runner will have a small electronic ‘key’ secured to their wrist and as they put it into a timing box on the summits it will record their time for marshals to download on their return to the yacht.

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