The PowerBar Three Peaks Yacht Race

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Aground and Around

Rob Howard / 20.06.2010See All Event Posts Follow Event
White Cloud and Topsham Sea Fever Aground
White Cloud and Topsham Sea Fever Aground
Overnight conditions were good on Snowdon for the runners and almost all arrived on the summit in daylight, with the leading teams seeing dawn on the mountain. They were either competing for their own trophy, the ‘King of the Mountains’, for the fastest pair on the three hills, or the TilmanTrophy for the best team performance, with 4 of the team on a summit.

The runners from Whistler managed to hold on to their 30 minute lead with a time of 4 hours 32 minutes but the tide was against them and they made slow progress up the Strait in the early morning, however they did still hold their lead and despite wandering out of the narrow channel a little they didn’t seem to have any problems with running aground, which is the big risk. They were seen by the support crew for GFT Adventure at one point, with their spinnaker slack, and turned about in the tide.

As the tide came in they made more progress and when it came to The rocky passage of the Swellies, between the Brittania and Telford bridges, they had wind in their sails and no oars were required for a safe passage under the bridge. They sailed under at 09.30 but still had the sand bars off Bangor to negotiate and precious little wind to speed them to Whitehaven.

GFT Adventure had moved into second place with their runners passing those from White Cloud on Snowdon. They set a time of 3 hours 54 minutes and when they got back there a major surprise when the yacht motored back out the way it had come in! The team had opted not to go through the Strait and risk the rocks of The Swellies, and instead are going around the Isle of Anglesey – a much longer trip, but without so much risk. They had come prepared with two plans, and spoken to many local boatmen and the state of the tide and the wind forecast convinced them to take the round the island option. Whether they will get more wind out in the Irish Sea and keep their second place remains to be seen ... watch the trackers to see how their strategy unfolds.

One team no doubt wishing they had avoid the Strait were White Cloud whose sails fell slack just as they passed under the Britannia Bridge and the tide pushed them hard on to the rocks. They tried sending a dinghy out with a rope to pull themselves off but with no success watched Kishinoor, then Tactix go by. Tactix had gained some time when their runners, Martin Beale and Martin Indge, set the fastest time on Snowdon (3 hours 40 minutes) and they rowed right through the Swellies with the Spinnaker down. They were making good speed using the oars and as one of the lighter yachts may be favoured by the light airs. They went under the Telford Bridge at 10.35 so were just over an hour behind the leaders.

Next through were Topsham Sea Fever, but soon after they passed White Cloud they too ran aground! Torbellino and The Dockers rowed past them to sail under the bridge and away and looked like both may be stuck for some time. They were not the only ones either, back at Caernarfon the Silver Surfers were on a sand bar which they’d hit under engine as they motored in and they were allowed to send their runners ashore by dinghy. The then ran along the shore to the checkpoint before setting off on their Snowdon run.

By midday there were only two yachts still to come into Caernarfon. They were grounded Silver Surfers and the Ben Folds Five team, who had a problem with their navigation lights last night.

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