The 40th Three Peaks Yacht Race

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Busy In Barmouth

Rob Howard / 17.06.2017See All Event Posts Follow Event
Preparations for the 40th race
Preparations for the 40th race / © Rob Howard

Race day morning in Barmouth is always a bit hectic, there is a lot to do.  Runners kit needs checking, boats scrutineering, briefings have to be attended, maps found ... fellow team mates who you’ve never met before found, bits of equipment you thought had but now don’t have to be found too, as do things broken just getting here to Barmouth.  The whole morning is spent looking for and waiting for people in and outside the yacht club, and going to and from the boats moored in harbour.

For the 40th anniversary it is a beautiful sunny morning with a light breeze, so there is hope it won’t be a rowing start this time around!  Most of the race entries are lined up on moorings in the main channel, so the harbour ferry is busy, but Wight Rose are high and dry against the harbour wall waiting for the water they have assured us will be there in time for them to start.

The promenade and harbour area are busy with spectators ahead of the start too and the local Battala band is playing on the breakwater.  The start is at 14.00 a mile out to sea, and at 13.00 the boats will leave the harbour in procession behind the Barmouth Lifeboat.

Unfortunately not all the boats have made it here as Go Ape are a late withdrawal. They were on the way when news came through they were all needed back at the office urgently and suddenly their race was off!  I guess that the peril of having a company team. 

First Edition are also non-competitive after damaging their Genoa on the sail to Barmouth.   They have acquired some replacement sails but know they will be using their engine at times and are now along for the adventure.

Definitely competitive are the Hare Hill double-handed team – they may be making one of the most audacious race attempts ever, but are not here just to cover the distance.  “We’re competitive and in it to win it,” said Charles Hill. “It’s our nature and if we can keep on the same tides as others and get a couple of hours ahead for Ben Nevis we can win.  We know from experience that if you are just making the miles moral and motivation drops, you have to have that competitive edge to keep the forward momentum.”

“We are naturally feeling nervous,“ said Pip Hare. “If we weren’t we wouldn’t be taking it seriously.”  I asked about their training and she said, “I think it’s been more of a step up for me to the mountain running as Charles sails very regularly, though I have done a 50 mile ultra before and marathons.  We’ve run all the mountains together in training but I’m perhaps not as fit as I’d hoped to be.  Running training while sailing professionally isn’t easy, though I’ve done my best wherever I have been.”

Charles explained, “We did a Trans Atlantic delivery together this year and got nailed – it took 27 days instead of the usual two weeks, and that set our running training programme back a bit.  However, the kind of endurance you need for long distance and single handed sailing is exactly what is needed for these long runs.  You don’t need to be fast, you need to keep going and Pip can do that.”

They will soon be on their way, now as part of a fleet of 12 competitive boats, all determined to keep going and get to Fort William via Snowdon, Scafell Pike and Ben Nevis.

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