The Three Peaks Yacht Race 2015

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A 2-4-4 Formation

Rob Howard / 29.06.2015See All Event Posts Follow Event
Riding in Ennerdale
Riding in Ennerdale / © Rob Howard

While the town and port of Whitehaven goes about its daily business the Three Peaks Yacht Race continues with activity at the marina and out on the Cumbrian fells. 

In the early hours of the morning the runners from Wight Rose returned after setting a fast time on the Scafell Pike stage but despite their efforts it was too late for the Reflex 38 with its deep draught to get out of the tidal sea lock.  So Wight Rose was still tied up when Rio’s runners returned and both the leading boats left together just after 6am in the morning. Now the race is on between them to Scotland and Ben Nevis.

A second group of 4 boats has been close for much of the race and in the morning the runners from Carpmaels, Tremontana, Grand Slam and The Mercian Regiment were all on Scafell Pike at the same time.  Carpmaels seems to have the edge in this group, on land and sea, and is holding out in 3rd place, but any mistakes will see them caught.

Their runners, Ben Chapman and Paul Bettridge, needed no second invitations when the marshals at Wasdale Head offered drinks and cake, and they are very relaxed and enjoying the journey. The pair said they’d been in cloud until the very top of Scafell Pike, but got a view of the cloud tops on the last few metres to the big summit cairn.  When I asked about the ride Ben said, “It was very hilly with some fast and fun downhills, but we’ve been thinking about those steep hills we need to go back up now!”

Someone who was thinking about them too was Andy Williams of the Mercian Regiment.  He was struggling to pedal uphill when I saw him in Ennerdale, leaning hard into the pedals and weaving side to side.  He called out the explanation, “They’ve put the wrong chain ring on!”  He only had high gears available and on tired legs was doing an impressive job of continuing to pedal. This team have already had some bad luck with Matt Dean pulling out injured after the Snowdon run, and had some more on the ride out when they hit some broken glass on the cycle trail and suffered 3 punctures.

They were passed by Grand Slam on the ride back into Whitehaven, and the Liverpool Yacht Club team are doing exceptionally well on the mountain runs ... considering they are sailors!  Jason Large and Chris Briggs had just about caught up with the Tramontana team as they arrived back in Whitehaven.

They were riding road bikes and Briggs said, “We’ve not had any punctures but it was really bumpy and rough near Black Sail and I have a bent wheel, but not too bad.  (Several other teams are using road bikes too, despite what I said in my previous story. I still think it’s a high risk of a long walk back though!)

Grand Slam followed Tramontona out of the lock gate and the two set off together for the Mull of Galloway and will enjoy some close racing and are likely to be caught by the faster J111 of The Mercian Regiment who left soon after.

By the time they were on their way Misfits and Celtic Rowers were in the marina and their runners on their way, and this left Burning Daylight and Vagabond to bring up the rear of the race.  Both have overcome some problems, mechanicals in the case of Burning Daylight, and Vagabond had a long rest on sandbank. Both will have been glad to put those behind them and get ashore as they have more mountain than sailing experience. Burning Daylight are all friends from the Cockermouth Mountain Rescue team, so are close to home and Vagabond’s team are mountaineers, so its perhaps not surprising that they caught Misfits and Celtic Rowers, and for the second time in the day there was a group of 4 teams all on Scafell Pike.

There may only be 10 teams this year, but there is close racing throughout the field and very competitive and quick too. It’s likely all the teams will be on the final sailing leg by Monday night, which is unusual and they are heading for Scotland in a 2-4-4 formation.


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