The PowerBar Three Peaks Yacht Race

  • UK (GBR)

Torbellino Arrives in Fourth

Rob Howard / 29.06.2011See All Event Posts Follow Event
The runners from Torbellino set off
The runners from Torbellino set off
Team Tobellino have arrived in Corpach in a clear 4th place, docking at 13.46 to set their runners off up a cloud covered Ben Nevis, knowing they are under no pressure as their nearest challengers are still several hours away.

The runners are Richard Ludlow, a very regular competitor and a past King of the Mountains winner, and Natasha Scrivens, one of the few women competing this year. (There are only 10 in total, including two skippers.) When they set off the weather was chilly, with showers in the air, a strong breeze blowing and the top of the mountain was wreathed in heavy cloud ... so a normal day on Ben Nevis. The most common question asked in Fort William is; “Where is Ben Nevis?�

As is so often the case, windy conditions at Fort William do not mean the boats on their way have good sailing conditions, often it can be the opposite with boats becalmed among the islands in the Firth of Lorn and Loch Linnhe. The Torbellino crew said they had rowed for long periods, and hit a hole in the wind around the Isle of Lismore. However, they have sliding seats fitted which they said makes a huge difference and allowed them to make one to one and a half knots.

Rowing was critical in their break away from the group of boats leaving Whitehaven. “We had managed to pull away and open up a gap,� said Simon Newton, “but the tide was turning around the Mull of Kintyre and we could see them coming up behind us. Then we rowed for ages and just made it through the tide and they all fell away and we were clear.�

There were some reflections on ‘might have beens’ when the crew told me how their No.3 sail had split when being raised on the start line. “We were an hour behind at Caernarfon after that start and I wonder how we’d have done if we were up with the leaders there. They caught the tide out of the Swellies and into Whitehaven so that hour gap became an 8 hour gap at Whitehaven and a 20 hour gap by the finish.� Even so, the team were happy to finish 4th.

It has been one of those races where the leading boats built on early advantage and caught the tides and winds perfectly to open up such a lead. Those left trailing behind have had a frustrating time, often being pushed backwards by the tides, searching for wind, rowing for long hours, and making slow progress.

Behind Torbellino is a large group, who are hoping to make it to Corpach this evening. Testa Rossa, Moby J, Firefly and Peaks Addix are leading another 7 boats, having taken a route ‘inside’ the isle of Lismore, while the others took a slower option out in the Firth of Lorn. The group behind them include GFT, who have made a remarkable comeback after their problems on Scafell Pike. The rest of the competitors are stretched down the coastline all the way to the Mull of Galloway, where the back markers are Flemish Lowlanders and Peaks and Pie.

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