The PowerBar Three Peaks Yacht Race

  • UK (GBR)

Slow Motion Racing

Rob Howard / 29.06.2008See All Event Posts Follow Event
The runners crossing the summit Snowdon overnight knew they were not just racing each other, but also the tide in the Menai Strait. The longer they took, they more the tide would turn against them later in the morning.

Even before the early morning passage of the Strait, there were some significant changes to the lead as a result of the first run. Martin Beale and Andy Rankin from EADS Innovation Works passed all 4 of the pairs of runners ahead of them to set a time of 4 hours and 6 minutes and take the lead for their team and ensure the best possible conditions in the Strait.

Next to arrive back at Caernarfon at 04.43 in the morning, just as it was getting light, were Greg Marsh and Gordon Baxter from Journeymaker. They too had moved their team up, from 4th to arrive in Caernarfon to second to leave, and they were followed by the runners from Still Smiling, and Indian Summer. So the first three boats to arrive in Caernarfon (Hero, White Cloud and Killary) were not among the first 4 to leave, and the importance of this was to become apparent later in the morning.

As the leaders were returning to their boats the marshals, who were still waiting for 3 yachts to arrive, heard that one of them, the luckless Nunatak, was the first retirement of the race.

They had used their engine to move off the sand bank at the entrance to the Strait and continued onto Bangor, concerned about damage to the yacht. The same boat finished third last year, and one of their runners, Richard Ludlow, was on the second placed yacht, yet this year they never completed the first leg – such is the unpredictable nature of this race.

Geoff West, the skipper of EADS Innovation Works, knows all about these unpredictable hazards, as last year his yacht made it through the Menai Strait only to run aground off Bangor when he was in the lead. Now he was in the lead again, but this year had the advantage of the local knowledge of Ken Fitzpatrick to assist his navigation. They passed safely through most difficult section of the Strait, the area known as The Swellies between the Menai and Britannia bridges, at 05.45, just before the tide turned, knowing those behind would have the fierce tide against them, and would fall further back.

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