The Three Peaks Yacht Race

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Shuffling The Pack On Land and Sea

Rob Howard / 08.06.2014See All Event Posts Follow Event
Mistral gets ahead of Rho and Moby J
Mistral gets ahead of Rho and Moby J / © Rob Howard

The first morning of the race was an action packed one with all of the teams finishing the first stage and their runners completing the first of the 3 peaks.

Despite the rowing start the yachts picked up enough wind on the first sail to ensure they all arrived in time for their crews to have an early breakfast while anchored near the drop point on the public pier.  Those with the faster runners didn’t have so long however, and Wight Rose, Moby J and Mistral’s athletes all put in fast times. Others were not so fortunate, particularly the British Army team whose runners took the wrong path down from the cloud covered summit and added quite a few extra miles to their route.

They had been first to arrive in Caernarfon but were passed by several other pairs. They were caught by the runners from Wight Rose before they reached the summit and this pair set a fast time of 3 hours 56 minutes to arrive back in Caernarfon first.  With the tide turning against them this extra time was crucial for the sailors who were waiting on the pier for them. Theirs was not the quickest time however, Chris and Adam Perry off of Moby J were 20 minutes quicker, but not able to go close to the historic race record time for the summit.

As the runners came back their boats set off with the tide against, but enough wind to make some good progress.  Wight Rose somehow managed to race against a fierce tide in the The Swellies (the area between the 2 Menai bridges). With the spinnaker up they moved quickly when the sails filled, and stalled when they didn’t, so it was touch and go at times, but they passed under the Telford bridge about 08.30 and were soon making swift progress out past Bangor Pier and Puffin Island.

Moby J had been close behind, but the smaller boat could not push through the tide under the Brittania Bridge and was held there for a long time. They had to watch Mistral pass by into The Swellies and were also caught by Rho, before both made it into the Swellies. It looked like Mistral was getting away from them but as they pulled into the main channel to pass under the Telford Bridge the wind slackened and the tide took hold.

Soon they were going backwards at an alarming speed and were forced to use the oars to try and stop their backward momentum and keep control.  For a full half an hour they were back and forth in the tide, all the time aware of the nearby rocks so many boats have fallen foul of in the past.  While this was going on both Moby J and Rho caught up, and the 3 boats were queued up by the bridge, stuck in the fast flow.  Rho found some wind and moved past at speed to be the first of the 3 under the bridge, then Mistral finally got through, then Moby J.

They were followed with the hour by Denebola, British Army and Balloo, so it’ still a very close race. Vagabond were a bit further back and Intrepid Misfits and DSTL were the last down from the mountain and at the time of writing are still to pass through the Menai Strait.

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