Three Peaks Yacht Race

  • UK (GBR)

The Concertina Race

Rob Howard / 21.06.2012See All Event Posts Follow Event

 

The race fleet may have spread out during the event, but towards the end the wind and tide have squeezed them back together, and in the few hours of darkness on Thursday morning the leading 5 boats were all close together in the Corran Narrows.  The leaders, Kugel Motion, had finally been caught, and it was Rho who first forced a way through the narrows against the tide, taking the lead before the final sail down Loch Linnhe and the run up and down Ben Nevis.

It was a short lived lead however.  Kugel Motion took a different line through the narrows, found some breeze, and somehow pulled away again.  They had to row to get down the loch as well, but arrived at Corpach as dawn broke, and in first place, having gained 43 minutes on their rivals.  Their runners knew they were the fastest in the leading group, and they could see the summit of Ben Nevis on a fine, dry morning.  As they set off the mountain was set against a crimson sky and the first rays of sunshine sparkled on the summit snowfields.

Only 5 minutes later the sails of Rho and Quickstep were visible down the loch, passing the lights of Fort William, and it was Quickstep who came alongside the pontoon first to drop their runners.  The Contessa 33 had gradually worked a way through the leading pack, and it was their two female team members, Sophie Budd and Nicola Fleming  who set off up Ben Nevis.  There was little hope of catching the leaders, but this team were in the Tilman Trophy and so were Rho ... who were just behind them!

Rho had engine failure so were unable to motor in, losing valuable time as they rowed in ... with the runners who were about to go up Ben Nevis labouring one last time at the oars!  They checked in 12 minutes down on Quickstep and ran off down the towpath towards Ben Nevis, intent on chasing them down.  Next to arrive were Sea Fever, followed a few minutes later by Stormwind, so two more teams set off to have their own ‘Battle of the Ben’.  Then came Beach Fox and Thor, and at this point there were 7 pairs of runners on Ben Nevis, with no one through the finish line – one of the closest ever races!

As expected it was Alasdair Fraser and Stuart Brameld of Kugel Motion who were first to arrive back, to run through the finish line alongside the lock basin and complete a hard earned win.  They’d set a fast time of 3 hours 43 minutes and the team won the race in 4 days 13 hours and one minute. 

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