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International Teams Finish the Race

Rob Howard / 11.06.2014See All Event Posts Follow Event
Team Mach 5
Team Mach 5 / © Rob Howard

In the race to be the first international team to finish the Belgian entry has lead for much of the way, but they were passed by Team Mach 5 of Switzerland on the Scafell Pike run, and it’s been a close contest to the finish. 

Denebola were the first to arrive and they had to change their plans on who to send up Ben Nevis. One of the runners from Scafell Pike was due to go up, but was too tired. “We were well prepared,” said skipper Alain Poncelet, “but not for the difficulty of the runs, and especially Scafell Pike. When our runners came back from that I was amazed at their condition, they were more dead than alive, totally exhausted.”

So the Snowdon running team of Sofie Vandamme and Annelies Brak set off for a second time. “The ladies are strong,” said Poncelet, “especially in the head, they are tough.”  And so it proved, they were being chased by the runners from Mach5, professional athlete Paul Guschlbauer and mountain guide Thomas Thevrillat, but held their own to finish well ahead.  So the Belgian team were the first international finishers, ahead of the Swiss. (They get a trophy for that of course.)

“The race has been magnificent,” said Poncelet, “everything we could have hoped for, and such amazing scenery. We took 4 days to sail to the start around the South coast and will now go through the Caledonian Canal to get home, so we’ll almost complete the circumnavigation of Britain.”  Vandamme was much succinct when asked what Ben Nevis was like ... “Horrible!” Conditions have been bad for the runners and they found the snow and poor visibility on the top difficult and “a bit scary”.

The Swiss team have had a good race and skipper Christian Mach said his crew of non-sailors had done really well.  It is not an easy race for any novice team to complete and both visiting teams have had a great time on their three peaks yacht race adventures.


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