Magellan Three Peaks Yacht Race

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Comings and Goings at Caernarfon

Rob / 22.06.2003See All Event Posts Follow Event
Coming ashore at Caernarfon
Coming ashore at Caernarfon
The journey to Caernarfon was a long and difficult one for all the crews, even in calm weather this race is hard work and tactics play a key role. Although the faster yachts got away at the start it wasn’t long before many were becalmed and thinking about breaking out the oars. Rowing plays a vital role, moving the yachts into patches of wind or giving them that extra knot of speed when fighting against a tide. The inexperienced 3 peaks crews who don’t have them are at a major disadvantage.

Ryde Harriers YC are well prepared with large carbon fibre sweeps and put these to good use, swiftly passing the static leaders ‘Spirit of Barmouth’ and ‘Hellefix’ and moving into the lead rounding Bardsey Head. ‘Spirit of Barmouth’ had great difficulty getting round the head at all, making 3 attempts close in shore, VERY close in shore, but eventually giving up. They gave up and went around Bardsey Island allowing the rest of the fleet to catch up in conditions which now favoured the smaller, lighter boats.

Even so on the long night time sail up to the entrance of the Menai Strait they managed to regain a strong lead. Sailing without navigation lights they passed ‘Ryde Harriers YC’, crossed Caernarfon Bar safely and caught the tide into the Strait to arrive at 03.45 on Sunday morning. When Ryde Harriers arrived at 05.19 they thought they were still in the lead and were shocked to find they weren’t.

Hellefix were 3rd to arrive, shortly after at 05.51, and they sent Rob Barel and Bart Schweitzer up Snowdon, where conditions were, for once, good. Setting off Barel said, “This is an act of faith, we’re not experienced in the mountains.� They expected to be back in less than 5 hours but found the crossing of Snowdon harder than they thought. According to their support crew, “They were happy enough setting off up the mountain, but not when they came down!� It looks like they will have a good competition of the Tilman Trophy against ‘Ryde Harriers YC’.

Later boats in struggled against the outgoing tide. They had to make it past Caernarfon Bar and to the Mussel Buoy, where they are allowed to switch on their engine to come into the pier. With the tide pushing them back those last few metres to the buoy could be frantic, with as much sail was possible up and the rowers working furiously. Chic Nic being the smallest boat got through more easily than most and were delighted to arrive in 4th place, though the skipper said, “There were times when I thought we wouldn’t make it at all!�

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