Skip Navigation

Pies, Pints, Paperwork and Puddings

Author : Rob Howard

PhotoCredit : Rob Howard

Date Posted : 2018/06/08

The Gwyr Harlech team

The remainder of the race boats came into the harbour at Barmouth this afternoon, with Baloo the last to come in on the afternoon tide.  So the race fleet was complete, even if all the crews and runner had yet to arrive.

It’s a magnificent setting at the head of the estuary, spanned by the impressive railway bridge and overlooked by the mighty Cadair Idris. All the race boats are now moored out in the main channel and they use the habour ferry to go back and forward. Most completed the boat scrutineering today, and came into the yacht club office to register.  (The runners will all go through their gear checks in the morning before the 11.00 race briefing.)

All of which left the evening free to socialise in the Merioneth Yacht Club bar.  The club lays on an amazing spread of food for the competitors in the evening, and the bar has panoramic views out over the estuary.  The food included a choice of several mains and then a huge array of delicious home-made puddings – enough to ensure the ferry will be weighed down on the return journeys tonight!

In the bar teams were meeting up, finding their support crews, and getting to know each other over a pint.  Several of them were busy signing their race forms (known informally as ‘blood chits’) and Race Director Dave Bird was moving around the tables with some charts. It’s a very informal and friendly race!

Steve Hayes, skipper of the Irish team ‘Digital Built Consultants’ was in the bar with his delivery crewman, and they were waiting for the rest of the team to arrive, having come over on the ferry to Anglesey. This was a plan which caused some angst when the ferry was a little late and they could not collect the car they’d hired.  (Hertz were happy to close up shop and leave anyone arriving on the ferry stranded without their hire car!)  They’ll be in Barmouth later after a long taxi ride!

The team seem well prepared and when I spoke to Hayes he said, “We’re here to enjoy ourselves, but not just to make up the numbers. We want to be competitive if we can.”

“I’m really not sure when I heard about the race,” he said, “but when a neighbour who runs said he wanted a go and I got a more suitable boat it all came together.”  He said they’d rigged up their oars, and motored through the Menai  Strait to take a look. “So we know where we should go,” he added, “but that depends if wind and tide allow us to!”  He’d looked at the option to around Anglesey as well if the  tide is against them after the Snowdon run.

He continued; “We did start looking at timings and options but soon realised it was impossible to plan for this race! It’s so unusual as there is no course as such and in the end we just felt  you have to do your best with whatever circumstances  you’re in.”

This team don’t have a support crew, which means they will have the bikes onboard.  “They are all broken down,” Hayes said, “and it will take an hour to put them together and to take them apart after the Lake District stage. 

The Wild Spirit team were in the bar with their support team, and in the afternoon they’d mounted their ‘pedal power platform’ to drive a (very) small propeller.  Stu Walker said, “The plan was to have a properly designed and engineered device, but the student doing the project was useless, so we’ve ended up with a Heath Robinson thing I put together myself!”  The forecast is for very light winds for the first 48 hours of the race so it will be tried out. 

They are conditions which won’t favour Wild Spirit, and the skipper, Paul Jackson, who is the most experienced race skipper here was tipping the Irish team to do well. “I think they have the right boat for the race this year,” he said.

Team Baloo was over in the corner of the bar in their bright red team shirts and there was a surprise for Rob Harnan when his two nieces presented hand-made cards and a bottle of champagne to celebrate his engagement last week.

Red seems to be the colour this year. Ajax have bright red shirts, and so too do the Gwyr Harlech team. Theirs all have the logo of the Brain Tumour Charity, which they are supporting.  They were all filling in their paperwork at the bar, and I spoke to one of the runners, Ed Bailley. “We’ve done the Snowdon and Scafell Pike routes,” he told me. “Scafell Pike was hard. That was a long, long day and we were all very tired by the finish.” 

Tomorrow morning teams will complete their paperwork and checks before the race briefing at 11.00 in the yacht club. Then they will leave the harbour at 16.00 to get ready for the offshore race start at 17.00.

About The Author

Rob Howard
Rob is Editor of He's traveled the world reporting on and photographing adventure races and day-to-day he keeps his finger on the pulse of AR to ensure SleepMonsters is the heartbeat of the sport.

More About This Event

Wild Spirit Takes The Title

Wild Spirit Takes The Title
Gales have continued to blow across the Corpach Loch Basin today, ripping down the race finish banner and bringing torrential showers with Read More

The First Boats Arrive But The Race Isn’t Over

The First Boats Arrive But The Race Isn’t Over
After 4 days of racing (and rowing) the first boats in the 41st Three Peaks Yacht Race reached Corpach just after 7pm tonight.  They Read More

Hector Puts the Ben Nevis Run on Hold

Hector Puts the Ben Nevis Run on Hold
Waiting on the finish line in Fort William at the moment the wind is gusting and increasing, there is sporadic rain and no sign of Ben Read More

Keep Carrying on in the Calm ... for now

Keep Carrying on in the Calm ... for now
It’s been a race with little wind so far, and if there has been wind it’s been northerlies.  All of which makes it gauling Read More

Getting There in a Roundabout Way

Getting There in a Roundabout Way
For the first time ever in the history of the race, all of the competing boats opted not make the passage of the Menai Strait yesterday, Read More

A Hazy Summers  Day in Snowdonia

A Hazy Summers Day in Snowdonia
It’s been a long, hot Sunday for the Three Peaks Racers and Challengers, and on the water at least they’ve been working hard to Read More

The Challengers Arrive in Caernarfon

The Challengers Arrive in Caernarfon
Almost every year the Snowdon run is done in the dark by the majority of the teams – but not this year. The late start and the almost Read More

The Start of a Great Adventure

The Start of a Great Adventure
It’s the start morning of the Three Peaks Yacht Race, the 41st staging of this iconic race, and the quayside at Barmouth is buzzing Read More

The 41st Three Peaks Yacht Race – Adventure Unlimited

The 41st Three Peaks Yacht Race – Adventure Unlimited
The annual Three Peaks Yacht Race takes place from 17.00 on June 9th starting in Barmouth, where 8 teams will gather to tackle one of the Read More

Smithers Purslow Race To Help Raise 40K

Smithers Purslow Race To Help Raise 40K
Glaston-based consulting engineers and surveyors, Smithers Purslow, celebrated 40 years in business in May and to mark the milestone the Read More

Network Links

Add a link to the SleepMonsters network

Reporting On

Regional Sporting Trust Rivalry Lighting Up Kathmandu C2C Corporate Challenge


like us on facebook

Yellow Brick Tracking