The PowerBar Three Peaks Yacht Race

  • UK (GBR)

Race on The Ben

Rob Howard / 01.07.2008See All Event Posts Follow Event
For the past 26 hours Journeymaker and EADS Innovation Works have been racing to Fort William. Round the Mulls of Galloway and Kintyre, through the Sound of Jura, into the Firth of Lorn and past the Corran Narrows into Loch Linnhe they have given their all to set their runners ashore first at Corpach.

There was little between them when they arrived - just 35 minutes between race leader Journeymaker and their rivals ... who to this point have had the faster runners.

Journeymaker arrived at 06.45 and to the frustration of Greg Marsh, who was perched expectantly on the bow, didn’t come alongside the pontoon at the first attempt. “Just get us alongside so we can jump!� he yelled – and that’s what they did. Gordon Baxter slipped and fell, banging his sore knee, and they raced up the walkway to the 5 minute gear check. As always they were asked how long they thought they’d take and Greg joked, “six or seven hours�.

The truthful answer was “as fast as possible� – they knew EADS were only half and hour behind them at the Corran Narrows and that Martin Beale and Andy Rankin would chase them down on Ben Nevis to try and snatch victory from them. The crew on Journeymaker were not optimistic. “We figured we’d need an hour lead,� they said.

They reported they’d broached at speed, losing the spinnaker and the use of their instruments, and had at one point come close alongside and passed EADS, while in the Irish Sea. They also had to row the last 30m to they buoy where they could start their engine. “We were doing 9 knots – then we stopped and had to row!� They said.

EADS arrived 36 minutes later, pulling neatly alongside and their runners set off. Their crew were confident they could make up the deficit, even saying, “They think they can gain up to an hour if needs be.� Their spinnaker had blown out again after the crew had repaired it, though Ken Fitzpatrick said, “It did last us a long time and was well worth the effort to fix.�

There is new route out to the foot of Ben Nevis, avoiding running along the main road, but the runners then come out on the road to Achintee at the foot of the main Ben Nevis path. By the time Marsh and Rankin got there the heavens had opened and it was lashing with rain, so much so they stopped to put on waterproof jackets. They will need them on top where it’s exceptionally windy.

In the 30 minute run out to the foot of the mountain path they’d not made any inroads into the lead however, and Martin Beale was lagging behind his partner, who took his pack when they stopped to put their jackets on.

Will they be able to catch up and take the title? We’ll find out before midday ...

[RBS Adventure Quest arrived third at 08.45, closely followed by Hazard Chase at 08.52 - so there is a close race for 3rd and 4th. It looks like Hazard Chase will win the Tilman trophy as those ahead of them have used the same runners throughout.]

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