Three Peaks Yacht Race

  • UK (GBR)

A Stormy Start to the Race

Rob Howard / 16.06.2012See All Event Posts Follow Event
The Race Briefing
The Race Briefing


The race briefing in the bar of the Merioneth Yacht Club was held this morning and it was not quite such a packed house this year with only a dozen boats taking part (there were 30 last year).  The good news was that all the boats and crews were present after a stormy few days, though Salty Peaknuts, who were the last to arrive, were a little late into the briefing.
The low pressure system that has swept up the west coast has made life a little more difficult than it might otherwise have been for the crews preparing for the race.  Sea Fever stopped off in Pwllheli for repairs to a torn mainsail on Thursday, and were glad they did as conditions that afternoon were very rough.  The young crew on ‘Thor’, all naval graduates now (they hope), said it was the roughest conditions they’d ever encountered as they tried to get into Barmouth overnight.  
Race official Peter Phillips, who was assistant harbour master here for many years, said he’d only ever seen it so rough in the harbour once before.  The situation was so bad they even had to drag teams out of the bar and onto the ferries to get them back aboard before it got any worse! (A few didn’t make it and had to sleep on the yacht club floor.)
Almost all the competing boats are moored on trots lined up in the harbour channel and there was a rude early awakening for a couple of teams when ‘Quickstep’ broke free and hit ‘Rho’ around 5am in the morning.  Fortunately, the crews were able to sort things out and there was no major damage done.  
Others who slept on board overnight didn’t get much rest either, and the two runners from ‘Kugel Motion’, Stuart Brameld and Alasdair Fraser, said they’d not had much sleep.  The pair from the Clapham Chasers club are very fast runners but don’t have a lot of mountain running experience by the sounds of it.  They were talking about training in the Surrey hills and suggested a time of 4 hours for Snowdon – which will be a fast time if they can do it.  Their Reflex 38 is the only true racing design in the fleet, and should be the fastest.
One champion fell runner who is not at the race is Natalie White.  The UK and England fell running champion was due to race with the ‘We Love MCR’ team, but was replaced by Richard Mortiboys from Devon at the last minute.  He was sitting in the bar on Friday waiting to meet his team for the first time and looking at his running partner’s race history, thinking he had a tough challenge ahead.  He knows what he is getting into however as he was on ‘Satisfaction’ last year, which was the smallest boat in the race, so he’ll find the Sigma 38 a comfortable berth by comparison.  He also works with adventure racing company endurancelife so is used to long distance events.
All of the teams have plenty of time to sort out any last minute problems as it is one of the latest starts for many years.  The boats won’t leave the harbour until 18.00, ready for a 19.00 offshore start, and the hope is the weather may moderate by then (which is the forecast).  At the moment the waters on the bar outside the harbour look very turbulent and there has even been a skipper suggesting a delayed start – but that is unlikely to happen.  The answer was that if we can get out there to fire the start gun we will, then the skippers can do what they want!
Going by the forecast when the weather does moderate there will be little or no wind at all ... so it could be a fast start to a slow race.
[Everyone at the race sends their best wishes for a full recovery to Race President Lt. Col. Colin Walker who was taken to Chester hospital yesterday by air ambulance.]

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