The PowerBar Three Peaks Yacht Race

  • UK (GBR)

The Leaders Arrive in Fort William

Rob Howard / 25.06.2009See All Event Posts Follow Event
It was a clear, sunny and still morning in Fort William, with the surrounding hills mirrored in the waters of Loch Linnhe, as EADS Innovation crept into sight of the waiting marshals and supporters at Corpach. They moved slowly towards the red buoy which marks the point at which they can start their engine, then came carefully alongside the jetty on the end of the pier beside the lock basin, where Martin Beale and Martin Indge jumped ashore at 05.15.

The two runners went through the mandatory kit checks briskly and could see the imposing full height of Ben Nevis across the waters of Loch Linnhe. (This finishing point was originally chosen for its views when HTV were making the first film of the race.) The two runners knew they had a good lead over any chasing boats and their timing was perfect, arriving in the early morning when the day is at its coolest – later today it will be very hot on The Ben.

As the runners left the crew reported they’d had a strong wind to blow them through the Corran Narrows, but then the wind dropped to nothing. Gary Clayton said they’d been rowing “for ever�, and skipper Geoff West said they’d had “plenty of sleep� – though it didn’t look like they had!

It was 06.48 when the second yacht arrived so EADS Innovation have a commanding lead, and barring anything calamitous will take the title. The second arrival was Team Isle of Man, but they were not celebrating as a result of the incident last night in which the yacht grounded off Lismore on what the team say is an unmarked rock. It was a difficult position and the RIB from Lochaber Watersports was nearby. When the crew couldn’t free the yacht he decided to pull of them off, fearing for the safety of the boat. The crew immediately rang the Race Director to tell him, but the how this will affect the outcome has yet to be decided. (Isle of Man did not decide to enter the Tilman trophy, so we are still waiting for the arrival of the first Tilman Trophy team.)

Next in were Hazard Chase and Nunatak, coming up to the marker buoy side by side. After more than 4 and a half days of racing they came into Corpach seconds apart, with Hazard Chase edging ahead and giving their runners Caroline Bullard and Janet McIver the slightest of leads as they set off. Richard Ludlow and John Taylor gave chase and these two pairs could have quite a contest on Ben Nevis. (The Hazard Chase runners were almost an hour quicker on Scafell Pike, but this is a very different run.)

The winners are expected back around 08.45 and Ulula, GFT Adventure and Penmaenmawr SC are expected to arrive soon.

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