The Three Peaks Yacht Race

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Wight Rose Wins the Three Peaks Yacht Race

Rob Howard / 10.06.2014See All Event Posts Follow Event
Wight Rose on the finish line
Wight Rose on the finish line / © Rob Howard

The runners from Wight Rose came down off of a windy and cloud covered Ben Nevis to cross the finish line at 22.47 and win the race for their team.  Alex Pilkington and Stuart Walker had set off up the final mountain just a minute behind the runners from British Army, but quickly passed them and posted a fast time, which sets the target for the other teams chasing the King of the Mountains title.

Their first priority was to win the race, and in the end they did this comfortably, but only after a titanic sailing battle between their boat and British Army.  The Army J111 has been quicker throughout the race, but the Reflex 38 skippered by Geoff West had one of the most experienced race crews possible on it.  West has now won the race 6 times, Gary Clayton 3 times, and John Donnelly twice!

Setting off with a lead of several hours from Whitehaven they managed to stay ahead until the Sound of Luing, after which British Army broke away, only to be stopped by a hole in the wind just before the Corran Narrows.  They still lead through the narrows as the tide began to turn against them, but only by 5 minutes, and on the downwind sail to the finish at Corpach they were not going to open a big gap on their rivals.  In the end they arrived just 3 minutes ahead, and the faster runners from Wight Rose knew the race was theirs to win.

For Alex Pilkington, who only got the call to join the team a week ago, it was his first time sailing!  “It’s something I’ve wanted to do,” he said, “but was worried if I’d be seasick or have to row all the way!”  His running partner Stuart Walker is a much more experienced sailor and Clayton said it was “like having 4 sailors on board.”  He added, “They both did really well, helped out with the sails and ran a good food service too!  Considering it was his first sail Alex was great, he took to it well, and he’s just done a 200 mile leg – not many regular sailors have done that.”

The crew reported a relatively trouble free sail, and said they used the spinnaker almost all the way. 

They have also won another trophy – The Wrinklies Trophy, for oldest crew in the race and said they forgave Stuart for letting the side down by being a youngster!

After finishing they headed back to the boat to celebrate (the pubs had just shut), but they won’t be staying around to see all the other finishers – the crew are headed home for the Round the Island Race and leave in the morning!


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