Hare Hill Complete First double Handed 3 Peaks Yacht Race

Rob Howard / 22.06.2017

At 04.46 on an overcast morning, Pip Hare and Charles Hill ran across the finish line of the 40th Three Peaks Yacht Race to become the first to complete this iconic adventure race double-handed.

Professional sailor Pip Hare was limping badly as a result of stumbling during the descent of Ben Nevis and turning her ankle, but she was still smiling broadly as she crossed the line with Hill to achieve something she has thought of trying for many years.

Race entries normally have a crew of 3 for the 390 miles of varied and challenging coastal sailing, plus two specialist fell runners for the arduous ascents of Snowdon, Scafell Pike and Ben Nevis, a total distance of 72 miles of running, 27 miles of cycling and over 14,000 feet of ascent.  Hare and Hill decided to take all this on by themselves, sailing double handed and completing all the mountain stages together.  

It was an epic challenge to take on, and they completed it in style, crossing the line second and finishing in 4th place overall.  Their final overall time was 4 days 14 hours and 10 minutes, and on the three mountains they took 21 hours and 5 minutes.

On the finish line Hare said, “It was amazing up there on the summit of Ben Nevis, looking down on the clouds. The path down is terrible though, so rocky and slippery and it was about two-thirds of the way down I twisted my ankle.”

When I asked her to sum up the experience she just said, and with some emphasis, “Hard!”  She went on to say, “I really wanted to see if it could be done and have been thinking about it for some time. It was physically very hard to have the runs one after the other, but I enjoyed being in the mountains.  Really I did!

“I think we had 2 or 3 hours of broken sleep a day.  It was more difficult in the light winds. You would think it’s the opposite, but with little wind you have to be making decisions and trimming all the time. Even when we went to our bunks we were always being called up by the other one for some reason. It didn’t help that for the first two legs the auto-pilot broken as well!”

Hill, who is an experienced sailor and has a strong fell running background, just said, “It is such an amazing race – it’s quite unique!”

With Hare and Hill showing that the race can be completed double handed the organisers are now considering a separate short-handed class for future years. “When the race first started it was a new and very extreme challenge,” said Race Director Meic Ellis. “It still is of course, but in 40 years standards and expectations have changed and Pip and Charles have shown that the race can be taken to a new level of extreme skill and endurance – for those who are strong and brave enough.  They have written a new chapter in the long and rich history of the Three Peaks Yacht Race.”  

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