Magellan Three Peaks Yacht Race

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Ups and Downs in the Lakes

Rob / 23.06.2003See All Event Posts Follow Event
The runners from Xchanging. (David Boorer fell on the cliffs in the background.)
The runners from Xchanging. (David Boorer fell on the cliffs in the background.)
With the exception of ‘Maid Marion’, which retired at Caernarfon after going aground, all of the fleet made faster than expected progress to Whitehaven in the Lake District. However, the second mountain stage of the race proved tough and they didn’t all continue on to Scotland.

Some happy sailors came ashore in the impressive marina at Whitehaven. Sailing conditions had been good and the pre-race forecast wrong! So much so, that the support crew for ‘Spirit of Barmouth’, who had been expecting to have 24 hours to get to Whitehaven had a panic when they got a phone call telling them the boat was 2 hours from port. They were still 2 hours drive away, and they had the bikes needed for the first stage of the Scafell Pike stage! They made it with minutes to spare, helped by the fact ‘Spirit of Barmouth’ found the gates to the marina closed! The tidal lock gates were jammed, so the runners had to get ashore outside the harbour wall and run around to the marshal’s caravan to collect their bikes.

There had been some competitive sailing in the night with spinnakers flying much of the time, Hellefix and Ryde Harriers YC came in through the lock gate at the same time just after midnight on Monday morning, and one of the best performances came from Jacana, who moved up through the fleet to arrive in 4th place. Freedom were pleased to have passed Mew Gull too, both are Westerly Fulmars and there is strong rivalry there.

Ahead of the arriving teams was the most testing of all the mountain stages, the long ride and run to Scafell Pike and back. The 15 mile ride includes a lot of climbing, in both directions, and once competitors switch to running they have to cross Black Sail pass from Ennerdale into Wasdale, before setting foot on Scafell Pike. Then the route has to be reversed. All teams are asked for estimated timings but almost without exception they underestimate how long it will take, and how much it will take out of them!

The exception this time were Xchanging. They lost ground during the sail as skipper Hamish Coop didn’t think it wise to fly a spinnaker, sailing at night with only 2 experienced crew. So, they played safe, but once ashore though Jonathan Bradshaw and Martin Wilcock set about regaining the lost places. They took only 2 hours 20 minutes on the run up and down Scafell Pike from Wasdale Head, and their total time of 9 hours 20 minutes moved them from 8th on arrival to 4th on departure. All this despite Wilcock badly crashing his bike just short of the drop off point. (His support crew found him another one for the ride back.)

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