The Start of a Great Adventure
Author : Rob Howard
PhotoCredit : Rob Howard
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 with activity. It’s a popular seaside town and many visitors try to come to see the race off and visit the stalls set up on the waterfront, which this year include the Coastguard and Mountain Rescue. Programme sellers from the local Girl Guides are busy, and so are the teams, as there are always last minute preparations to be made and the briefing to attend.
This morning the Race Director was out putting the trackers on the boats (you can follow them on the website or download the app from YB Races), and soon after the runners were gathering in a nearby boat shed for their gear checks. This is to check all the mandatory safety equipment, and they will also be checked before the start of each mountain run.
The briefing took place in the yacht club bar and the new Race Director, Dave Bird, ran through all the race procedures and protocols and answered questions from the teams and their support crews. It’s a complex race which runs for a week over a huge area and in that time interacts with many agencies and people, so there is a lot to cover and explain.
After that it was time for the traditional photo of skippers, and then teams dispersed for all the last minute provisioning and packing. This year the start is quite late in the day so there was plenty of time for photos and a last lunch with supporters and back-up crews.
The ‘Peaky Blinders’ were all resplendent in their flat caps and the skipper Jim Seddon was glad of the opportunity to return again after a long absence, this time in the new Challenge class. “It means we can come and take part again” he said, “without quite the same commitment the full race needs.” The other Challenge teams are Gwyr Harlech and the company team Smithers Purslow.
The army team, Ajax, are flying colourful pennants, and all the teams this year have race pennants to fly, which will soon be on display. Thankfully there is now a little wind to fly them!
It is another overcast and warm day, and the calm stable weather of the past few weeks continues, but the flags outside the yacht club and the Exposure Light banners have gradually started to flutter in a light breeze. We might yet avoid the teams rowing over the start line!
The programme is for the teams to leave the harbour at 16.00, when they will be lead out by the local lifeboat. The start is about a mile out to sea and will be at 17.00.
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