The PowerBar Three Peaks Yacht Race

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In Barmouth

Rob Howard / 19.06.2010See All Event Posts Follow Event
All of the yachts are now in Barmouth and have signed in with the race officials in time for the registration deadline, which is 24 hours ahead of the start at 4pm tomorrow. As I write they are moored in the harbour on a beautiful sunny evening which shows off the view across the expansive estuary to the peak of Cadair Idris. There is a light breeze blowing, and that could be the story for the week ahead.

There have been the usual last minute alarms among some of the teams, but the most dramatic happened to Dave Bird on local boat 6 days ago, when he was out preparing on Prairie Oyster in Cardigan Bay and was hit on the head by a block which came loose. He was taken off the yachtby the RNLI boat Moira Barrie but has fortunately made a good recovery and will be sailing in the race. His was not the only accident either. One of the crew of Moby J was in a car accident on the way to the race, but is OK and will race.

Other team changes are to GFT Adventure who needed a late replacement runner for Neil Talbot who hurt his knee when running on Scafell Pike in training. They registered his replacement as Mr Lovell. They were not even sure what his first name is but think its Saul or Sol. They’ve never met and as he is a doctor and on duty he won’t arrive until tomorrow morning, but he is a member of N. Wales fell running club Eryri Harriers. The other change we know about is another replacement runner, this time for Richard Smith on Team On and Up.

With evening approaching the bar in the Merioneth Yacht Club is filing up and there is a wholesome smell coming from the kitchen. The club lay on food for over 100 people, served out of a tiny kitchen in a dining room no bigger than 20 foot square! Tales of past races are exchanged and old friendships and rivalries re-established.

The crew with the most tales to tell are EADS Innovation Works, multiple winners from previous years, racing this year on the X99 Tactix. I asked owner Geoff West what the master plan was in chartering the faster Reflex 38 they’ve sailed in many races to the visiting Australian team and he just said ‘Money!’ He is not necessarily accepting that the 21 year old Tactix will be slower however. His team sailed it to 2nd place in the recent Scottish Islands Peaks Race, against ‘faster’ competition and his team knows that experience really counts in this race, and they have that in abundance.

“I went out with the Australians when they arrived and they were quickly familiar with the yacht and should be fine,� he said. “But when I asked if they were planning on doing Snowdon in 4 and half hours so they could catch the tide in the Swellies I got some blank looks, so I’m not sure they have the tactics worked out just yet.�

That will be an issue for all those new to the race, including the Israeli team. (The last time an Israeli team raced it was on Tactix.) They were in the office earlier on looking for a bench or some wood to seat their rowers and given the forecast it is the rowing arrangements that have been a preoccupation for some teams today. With a late start tomorrow afternoon there is still time yet for a few last minute adjustments.

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