The PowerBar Three Peaks Yacht Race

  • UK (GBR)

Row, Row, Row Your Boat

Rob Howard / 22.06.2009See All Event Posts Follow Event
The crew from Ulula
The crew from Ulula
The first boat to arrive in Whitehaven, at 09.20 on Monday morning was the J122 Ulula. With the town and Marina busy for the start of the week, the incoming competitors were glad to arrive after what has been a frustrating race.

Runners Val Swingler & Time Devanney jumped onto the fuel pontoon after Ulula has come into the marina through the sea lock gates and were looking fresh and keen to get going. “We’ve had lots of sleep!� said Swingler as they went through their 5 minute kit check and collected their bikes ready for the ride out to Ennerdale. They estimated their time for the Scafell Pike leg as 9 hours but the news from the Raynet radio team who are already established in the mountains is that conditions are not good. They report that there has been very heavy overnight rain and it is windy and very foggy on the mount ain, but conditions are improving. (Teams have also been warned to take great care with navigation on the Scafell Pike summit on which teams have gone astray before. One went down the wrong side of the mountain once!)

As they jumped on their bikes to set off through the town and begin the climb up towards Ennerdale, their weary crew got Ulula onto their berth (the Marina management have been really helpful) and relaxed a little for the first time since leaving Caernarfon.

I asked husband and wife Steve and Catherine Jones about their race so far. “The worst part was getting round Bardsey Head,� Steve said. “It was horrible, with whirlpools and back eddies and virtually no wind, but that was where we won the first leg, by getting through better than anyone else. I think we gained an hour or so.� At this point skipper Nic Ogden came up on deck and added, “We did better because we decided to get on with it and get out of there! The common wisdom there is to stay close in shore, but we kept getting blown back and were going in circles, so we got out of there.�

Their runners set a good time on Snowdon, but the crew were cautious in the Menai Strait. “We decided to hold back and let a couple go ahead of us,� said Steve.

“They were going into the Swellies with 4 knots of tide against,� said Catherine, “and we’ve never sailed through there before, so we were taking our time. Even so we were forced onto a rock by another competitor (they didn’t say who) but luckily there was no damage. We were rowing and had the spinnaker up and it was all very tense. Then everyone regrouped after we left the strait, round Puffin Island and we decided to try something different . Everyone else had white sail up and we just flew the spinnaker and took whatever wind we could get which was going roughly in the right direction! It worked for us.�

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