Magellan Three Peaks Yacht Race

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Three Break Away

Rob / 26.06.2004See All Event Posts Follow Event
As expected it was a fast first leg to Caernarfon and a close race, with the two Reflex 38’s and Hellefix leading. The three leading boats crossed Caernarfon Bar at dusk, and sailed into the Menai Strait together. Spirit of Barmouth was the first across, perhaps as a result of the others following Geoff West’s lead, and for safety reasons they then motored up to the pier just beyond the floodlit walls of the castle.

However, it was almost a disastrous arrival for Spirit of Barmouth as they came onto the pier too fast. It’s a tricky task to pull alongside and let the runners jump from the deck onto the platform just above, and one marshal said, “He nearly took the pier with him.� Race Director “Meic Ellis commented, “The bow went between the pier stanchions and he’ll be lucky not have done some damage.� One of the runners got his foot tangled in a rope in the confusion but got ashore safely. It was a close thing though.

There was no drama with Hellefix or Ryde Harriers though. The two runners of Hellefix were keen to get going, but there is a 5 minute time out while the marshals check their kit for the mountain run ahead. With 3 pairs of runners to check at once it was a chaotic scene and all the marshals were busy, even those supposed to be off duty. They unpacked and checked the contents of each bag under the floodlights, as darkness had fallen now, and the runners from Ryde Harriers took a bit too long repacking and lost a minute as they were late setting off.

Each pair have to give an estimated time for the 24 mile run and Spirit of Barmouth were the most optimistic, saying 4 and a half hours. Hellefix said 5 hours and Ryde Harriers 5 and a half. They can expect windy conditions on the top of Snowdon and most probably some dense cloud, but it’s not a cold night. By setting off so close together it may some pressure to run a fast time, and the run will set the scene for the King of the Mountains competition. There is no pressure to race back to catch the tide though, they should all set off around dawn with a favourable tide.

Once the excitement of the first boats arriving had passed it was quiet again. There were reports of Sealion and Tactix being close by Caernarfon Bar, but they were unconfirmed. It will be a night of waiting for the support crews who are in the car park nearby in motorhomes, camper vans, minibuses and cars. They will have food and drink for the runners and may meet them either side of the mountain on the long road running sections. It will be long and largely sleepless night for all, though the crews will be hoping to get several hours rest while they are anchored in the Strait waiting for the runners to return. In the morning they face the difficult passage of the Menai Strait.

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