Three Peaks Yacht Race

  • UK (GBR)

Kugel Motion Lead at Whitehaven

Rob Howard / 18.06.2012See All Event Posts Follow Event
Kugel Motion set off for Ennerdale and Scafell Pike
Kugel Motion set off for Ennerdale and Scafell Pike


It’s been a long night and day for the teams, becalmed in Liverpool Bay and able to make only slow progress towards Whitehaven.  Once again the team on Kugel Motion have lead the way and opened up a strong lead and they were the first to arrive in Whitehaven around 13.00 on Monday.  Their nearest challengers are still some distance away from the port, but the wind is filling in behind them and they are racing to make it in through the tidal lock gate, which will be closed to them around 16.00.  (If they don’t make it they’ll have to anchor outside the harbour and wait a few more frustrating hours to get in – effectively increasing Kugel Motion’s lead.)

The leaders are one of the teams without a back up team, so when they pulled up to the refuelling pontoon to let their ‘runners’ off they unloaded their racing bikes from the boat, ready for the 15 mile ride out to Ennerdale.  The pair estimated their time at 8 hours but their crew had told them not to go all out and keep something in the tank for Ben Nevis.  They have the luxury of knowing they can complete the stage in daylight, which those chasing them won’t, and can get back in good time for their boat to get out on the tide.

Both Stuart Brameld and Alasdair Fraser are experienced triathletes, so the cycling won’t worry them, though punctures along the stony Ennerdale track might be an issue on their road racing bikes.  Fraser said, “We could go a bit lighter if we had back up, especially on this stage, but we’ll manage.”  The pair had their running shoes tied to their packs and all their food and drink for the stage – over 3 litres each. And they still joked about stopping at the pub at Wasdale as well.  They will need to keep well hydrated as it’s a hot sunny day. “We didn’t do much of the rowing,” Fraser added, “the crew did most of it , but we’ve perfected our technique now.”

As the riders set off along the promenade the crew were berthing the boat in the marina and thinking of heading to a cafe to get some food.  Andy Holloway said, “We’ll get a bit to eat, a bit of a sleep and a bit more suncream, then we’ll be off again.”  He added, “Yesterday evening we were going well and thinking of making it into here around 2am ... then the wind died completely.  I think we’ve done about 6 hours of rowing and we found a bit of breeze to come in with a light spinnaker.

“What a contrast to Saturday – the sea was wild off the start and now it’s flat calm. Our runners are not used to mountains so lost a bit of time to MCR on Snowdon, but we soon got it back.  MCR had a spinnaker wrap by Britannia Bridge and we passed them there.  That was tense, trying to go through the Swellies against a 5 knot tide and we only just made it.”

The skipper is David Ewing, the only one of the team to have done the race before (in a 30 foot boat which completed the Tilman trophy) but said, “I’m skipper in name only really – we all sail this boat together regularly and have raced it in Fasnet and RORC races, so we know each other and the boat well.”  He added, “We fancied our chances in the sailing here so we are not doing the Tilman this time.”

So far that assessment has been accurate and they have been quickest in rough and calm weather, and may well win both the first two sailing stages.  Now they are in a good position to win the race outright.

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