The PowerBar Three Peaks Yacht Race

  • UK (GBR)

An Englishman, An Irishman and an Australian

Rob Howard / 26.06.2011See All Event Posts Follow Event
After a frustratingly slow finish to the second leg the leaders arrived at Whitehaven just before midnight, relieved to come in while they had sufficient depth in the tidal sea lock to enable them to enter the harbour.

Danu Technology were the first to land their runners on the fuel pontoon, which is where the runners come ashore, but Team Whistler had been in the lock with them and were only seconds behind. The runners made their way across the pontoons and up a ramp into the marina car park, then out of the marina gate to the marshals caravan, which is just outside. Here their support crews had their bikes, food and water ready, and the marshals were waiting to carry out the kit check.

None of the leading teams had any problems and they were swiftly on their way, giving similar estimated times of 8 to 9 hours for the mountain stage. This involves cycling out to Ennerdale, where the bikes are left and they continue on foot over Black Sail Pass and down to the valley of Wadale. From there the pairs climb Scafell Pike to the summit, then reverse the whole route back to Whitehaven. Runners have been warned this peak is where the most accidents and navigational errors happen and to take care.

The leading 3 teams will be riding and running out to Scafell Pike in the dark, but it will just be getting light as they are on the mountain, and they may even see the dawn from the top. All of them seemed well prepared and organised as they set off, having had time to rest and get ready on the slower sail through the afternoon and evening. Eddie Winslow from White Clouds did say they had helped take the helm at times, and this pair raced off on their bikes at speed .... just after the marshals had warned them to take it easy as the pubs were turning out and there were some worse for wear pedestrians around!

The Australian crew all came up to the marshals caravan and had a cup of coffee, but refused their support crew offer of the use of a hotel room. Skipper David Rees said, “That’ll just confuse us – we’ll stay on the boat!� He said they’d enjoyed the start, which was like “windsurfing back at home� but added, “there were some boats in difficulty there and we saw GFT nearly on her side in the waves and Danu with the mainsail in the water.� He had another unpleasant story about getting hit by flying vomit when on the helm, and White Cloud told tales of the head breaking loose as they crashed through the waves at the start, with some nasty results.

The Australian crew were in good spirits. Last year they had to anchor and wait to get into Whitehaven, then narrowly lost the race, but not this time. “We learned last year that you have to make it in here on the tide, Rees said, “and that it’s then all down to the final stage. You can lose this race before Whitehaven, but you win it on the final sail and need to be in a position to do that. It’s a bit like an elimination competition. You all start off together and then teams fall away. Now we know who we are racing. We hope we can hold out, but who knows, maybe the others will pull away from us. �

White Clouds were equally delighted to be into Whitehaven as they never made it at all last year after running aground in the Swellies and being hit by another competitor. So both boats are exorcising some ghosts from last year’s race, and both know the Irish team in their first ever race are going to be tough to beat.

[Low water is between 02.00 and 04.00 after which another group of teams including Madam Wen, Firefly, Peaks Addix and GFT, are expected to come in, so the first 3 have at least a 4 hour margin and maybe more.]

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