The PowerBar Three Peaks Yacht Race

  • UK (GBR)

Action Stations – 13 Teams on Ben Nevis

Rob Howard / 29.06.2011See All Event Posts Follow Event
Leaving Corpach
Leaving Corpach
Tick, tock, tick, tock ... time passed slowly at the race finish for much of the day with race staff and support crews waiting on the teams to arrive and dodging the rain shower.

Tick, tock, tick tock ... on the water a dozen boats were locked in intense and close competition and every second counted, time passed swiftly as the finish line approached. Every tactical decision could cost or win a place. The Corran Narrows and the finish drew closer and the winds finally filled in behind the fleet. There was a row of spinnakers stretched out down Loch Linnhe approaching Corpach at speed.

Action Stations! Action Stations! The start/finish was about to get very, very busy and all 6 marshals (who normally work shifts 2 at a time), plus the Race Director and anyone else on the race team who was around were on call. The lock side was buzzing with activity as support crews and spectators arrived and all of the staff from the lock basin were on duty locking the teams in. (They have been incredible working 3 hours overtime yesterday and 5 hours today, all voluntarily.)

At one point there were 3 sets of runners being kit checked at once and at the same time on the other side of the lock the runners from Torbellino were finishing their race. There were 7 boats in the lock at once, including one rather bemused Swedish cruiser. Maybe they thought it was like this every night at Corpach basin!

The first to arrive were Moby J, but they had lost their engine and had to send their runners ashore in the dinghy ... and while they were paddling in for 60 metres offshore, Testa Rossa and Firefly passed them!

As the runners set off they all gave an estimated time on the mountain, and all knew they could win or lose several places in the overall results and the TilmanTrophy rankings. As I write this there are 13 teams on the Ben Nevis which must be a record for the race and conditions are good, with the showers passing over, but there is dense cloud cover on the summit plateau.

The quickest runners in the race so far are Martin Beale and Ian Ridgeway from Peaks Addix, who came in 8th, but will hope they can finish 5th and clinch the King of the Mountains title. Geoff West, the boat owner said, “We didn’t have the right boat for this year so maybe I could retire as I’ll have nothing to defend next year.� Did he mean it??

Other running pairs who have been fast on the previous hills are those from Madam Wen, who arrived in 10th place, and from adidas Terrex, who arrived in 13th place knowing there were 8 other pairs of runners they could chase.

Not all the runners are going for fast times of course, some are in the Tilman Trophy and a few sailors are right now headed to the highest point in the UK. GFT have made a remarkable recovery after having to repeat their Scafell Pike stage with Dylan Jones retiring. On the third sailing leg they regained many place to arrive 9th in Corpach and runner Saul Lovett set of up Ben Nevis with Pete Robinson, who will have had no idea quite what he was getting in to when he joined the crew just before the race. At the start he’d never met any of crew before!

Another sailor going up to the top is Bill Tipper, the skipper from Satisfaction. They are one of the teams aiming to get all of their crew to a summit, and finish the race in style.

Tick, tock, tick, tock ... there are 13 teams on the mountain. What order will they return in?

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