The Three Peaks Yacht Race 2016

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The Bardsey Rite of Passage

Rob Howard / 11.06.2016See All Event Posts Follow Event
Race leaders SUOTC at Bardsey
Race leaders SUOTC at Bardsey / © Rob Howard

There is a lot to learn on the Three Peaks Yacht Race and as the race’s most experienced skipper Geoff West often says, the only way to learn is from your mistakes.  The more you race, the more mistakes you make, the more you learn, the better you do!

At dusk on day one it was the turn of race newbies, Dee Caffari and Pip Hare to learn from a mistake, as they lost the lead they’d held up to Bardsey Head.  Sailing around the impressive cliffs between the headland and Bardsey Island is the first point in the race where prior experience can give a distinct advantage and it’s something of a rite of passage for race crews to have the nerve to stay close into the cliffs to catch an inshore eddy and stay out of the strong tide.

As the leaders approached Sail4Cancer was just ahead and the SUOTC team had moved between them and Aparito Digital Health. The two professional sailors stayed well out from the shore and were all but stopped by the tide, flying their spinnakers but making very, very slow progress.  While they did this the young OTC team made their way inshore and crept along the cliffs, gaining a big advantage and a clear lead.

It was to get worse for Sail4Cancer and Aparito as another half dozen teams stayed inshore and passed them too – while they watched from a distance. There was little wind below the cliffs, and several of the chasing boats tried flying spinnakers but they only filled occasionally – others took to the oars again.  Wight Rose chased down White Clouds with their two runners rowing hard, and Rho were pulling hard too, as were Go Ape with their 4 oars in action. The rowing was making quite a difference.

As dusk fell Sail4Cancer and Aparito gradually made their way inshore, Aparito pulling away, rejoining the closely grouped fleet, but many places further back than they had been.

Their ocean sailing experience had been no help this time against the coastal know-how of experienced 3 peaks yacht racers but with the whole fleet still closely grouped the loss in racing time is minimal, though their pride may have taken a dint. It will only make them more determined and competitive though!


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