The PowerBar Three Peaks Yacht Race

  • UK (GBR)

Summit Kisses and Sweaty Sailors

Caroline Bullard (Hazard Chase/Team Accelerate) / 09.07.2009See All Event Posts Follow Event
Little did I realise that the quiet rumblings from 9 months ago about this ‘different’ race would actually happen and I would end up on the podium in the PowerBar Three Peaks Yacht Race with the help of 4 other equally insane people.

The race was the first to combine sailors and runners in the same race. The boat I was running for is called Hazard Chase, Skippered by Piers Copham and Andy Eggett supported by Greg Marsh, who has won the race as both a sailor and a runner. This formidable threesome, sailed and rowed Janet McIver and myself from Barmouth to Fort William – a mere 389 nautical miles stopping off at Caernarfon (start of the Snowdon run), Whitehaven (Scafell Pike leg) and finally Fort William ( Ben Nevis climb).

The race itself was unlike any I have done before. The ability to shake off ‘sea legs’ and run a marathon up Snowdon was definitely slightly different to shaking off’ roller blading legs’ in adventure racing. From the start of the race the atmosphere on board the boat was one of jovial determination to win.

It didn’t matter how rough (or in our case, how calm the seas were) the sailors were going to deliver us to the base of each mountain as fast as physically possible (a tall order considering they rowed for 10 hours most days at a speed of 2-3miles per hour – the majority of which was against the tide). Leaving Barmouth harbour with the sound of the Bongo Drum band still reverberating around the boat it finally dawned on me that the hours of training and preparation every one had put in were about to be put into practice.

The build up to the race had been fraught with difficulties. For various reasons, ten days before the hooter went off we swapped boats with David Prophet kindly allowing us to sail Hazard Chase, a 35ft HOD (with a perfectly sized fore deck to secure a base tan!). However our troubles were nowhere near over as on the delivery trip from Hamble, Southampton, to Barmouth, Hazard Chase was very nearly didn’t make it out of the Solent. After a frantic day of engineering and fixing things Andy and Piers managed to get Hazard Chase seaworthy and back on course for the start line.

The start line itself was something I had never experienced before – Piccadilly Circus in rush hour on water and with no reverse gear in a sail boat! There were 31 other crews in this years race, the largest starting line the race had ever had. Piers and Andy timed the start line impeccably and we were in the lead a mere 100 yards across the line. For the next six days we were one of six other boats jostling for this position. We sailed from Barmouth up and in-between the main land and Bardsey Island to make a course for Caernarfon and Snowdon.

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