The PowerBar Three Peaks Yacht Race

  • UK (GBR)

Getting to Barmouth

Rob Howard / 28.06.2008See All Event Posts Follow Event
Barmouth sit snuggly beneath the outlying cliffs of the central Welsh hills, the northern side of the mighty Mawddach Estuary and the open sea. It’s large, slate roofed Victorian houses merge amongst the outlying crags of the upper parts of the town, while the beach and promenade have more traditional seafront entertainments and B&B’s. The great span of the railway bridge crosses the estuary just outside the town, and on the seaward side of this a harbour wall protects the anchorage, though this is still swept by strong tides, and the entrance is guarded by a sand bar which limits when boats can get in and out.

For the past few days (or weeks), this has been the destination for the 20 entries in this year’s PowerBar 3 Peaks Yacht Race ... and the weather has not made it easy for them to reach the start of the race. Some are chartered, others have delivery crews, and more are sailed in by their skippers, but in the past couple of days of high winds and storm conditions the race has received several phone calls saying “we might be a bit late arriving� and worriedly asking about penalties.

The rules do specify all boats must arrive 24 hours before the start (to allow time for boat scrutineering and race briefings) and strictly speaking the penalty for not doing so is half the ‘late’ time, but come 16.00 Friday only one yacht was yet to come in and was risking starting the race with a time deficit. This was White Clouds, the HOD35 out of Gosport, but by 16.15 the Harbour Master reported they were offshore and fighting their way across the choppy conditions on the bar to enter the harbour. Though technically late the rules do only say a penalty ‘may’ be applied, and it seems likely the committee will be lenient on them.

Their two runners had arrived by car and while waiting for their boat to come in set off on a short run to try out new rucksacks. In most cases the runners arrived by road, and today Barmouth was not offering them a sunny, seaside welcome. It was hard to say where the cloud and mist met, and impossible to see anything of the surrounding countryside or hills in the gloom. The wind had deposited much of the beach on the sea front road and the yachts which had arrived early enough to tie up alongside the harbour wall were far better off then those moored in the channel, where wind and tide made for uncomfy mooring at times.

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