The Three Peaks Yacht Race


This year, as we did last year, we are providing the prizes and following with interest the skill and endurance of the competitors in The Three Peaks Yacht Race, which started on Saturday.

The crews are sailing about 390 nautical miles up the British coast, from Barmouth in Wales to near Fort William in Scotland, punctuated by three land stages in which they run up the highest peaks in the country – Snowdon in Wales, Scafell Pike in England and Ben Nevis in Scotland – altogether, climbing 14,000 feet. We expect them to be near these islands on their passage north by later today or tomorrow – live progress can be tracked here

It’s all natural power, out in the salt spray, mud, and heat or snow or whatever the weather, pushing yourself beyond comfortable convention; these things resonate with us. We caught up with Ron Isles from the race committee, to find out more about who is racing and why.

“The common factor driving the entrants over the 40 years of the race is the spirit of adventure, engendered by the sheer difficulty of the problems that the teams encounter. Sailing through some of the most difficult waters in the UK and conquering the three highest mountains using only their own foot and wind power.

“Each mountain has its own weather pattern and being near the sea can suffer severe weather changes within minutes. The sailing course takes the fleet through every facet of sailing expertise, navigation, difficult tides, shallow harbour entrances, making land falls and fickle weather. There is a constant need for expertise navigation, and it doesn’t let up in calm weather when the race rules allow for rowing. The whole race is full on from the minute it starts.

“Our racers are men and women, generally 18 to 40. The course encompasses two major disciplines, sailing and extreme fell running. so there is a strange mix of diet between the sailors and runners. Being so dependent upon each other the teams experience great camaraderie.”

The yachts on their way during the race

Teams are usually five strong, three sailing specialists, two runners. But this year, for the first time, there will be a crew of just two attempting the feat, experienced fell runner Charles Hill with professional sailor Pip Hare, who won the race last year with an all female team.

Good luck everyone! We’ll be willing you on from Islay as you head our way…

Race website > 

With thanks to Rob Howard for the pictures.

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