The Three Peaks Yacht Race 2015

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The Leaders in Whitehaven

Rob Howard / 28.06.2015See All Event Posts Follow Event
/ © Rob Howard

On the evening of day 2 of the race the first two teams arrived in Whitehaven after a fast passage. Wight Rose was the first to come in through the sea lock gate with their runners on deck along with their bikes as the team have no support crew. Not wanting to waste any time at all they rode their bikes along the pontoon walkway and up to the marshal point just outside the marina gates.

They know every second counts as they have around 7 hours to complete the longest land stage of the race and get back to the yacht, after which low tide will close the sea lock for 4 hours, allowing Rio to catch up.

The crew from Wight Rose came up to see them off, having moored up while the runners went through their 5 minute kit check.  This year all the mountain runners will ride to Ennerdale as usual, before crossing Black Sail pass to Wasdale and climbing Scafell Pike. However, they won’t now stop at Gillerthwaite Youth Hostel as they have in the past, but will ride on to Black Sail Youth Hostel at the end of the forestry track.

This will reduce the time of the stage and teams will all now use mountain bikes, whereas in the past many have ridden road bikes, opting for the extra speed on the long road ride out to Ennerdale and risking a puncture on the forest track.  With the ride  on the forest track now extended that is a risk no one will take.

Wight Rose skipper Geoff West was carrying a sheared halyard from his spinnaker. “It broke on the way into Whitehaven,” he said. “I just pulled it in as quickly as possible to stop it collecting water and ripping and we had it up again in about 3 minutes.”  He said that for a while in the Swellies the force of the wind overpowered the steering and they were in danger of beaching, and that they’d broached in gale force winds once out in the Irish Sea.

Rio had overhauled Wight Rose in the Menai Strait and lead for a while soon after that, but then blew out a spinnaker and as Gary Clayton commented, “We sailed in a straight line to Whitehaven and they couldn’t.  We have a symmetrical spinnaker and they have an asymmetrical.”

Now the race is on for the runners off Wight Rose to see if they can get back so the boat can leave before 2am.  It is a tall order, and if they don’t succeed Wight Rose won’t be able to leave until 06.30, by which time Rio will be setting off with them and the race will effectively restart.

At this point there isn’t much news off the other boats, but we do know that Vagabond was hard aground on a sandbank and that Burning Daylight had mechanical problems with their engine gears and had to reverse into the marina at Caernarfon for repairs!  (They are now on their way again and have passed Vagabond.)

The remaining boats are expected into Whitehaven during the night and early morning.


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