Snowdon and Strait off again
The leaders came back down from Snowdon and left Caerarfon
before midnight Saturday, while one yacht was still in Barmouth
Adrian Bailey and Aled Rees of Lightning Reflex took just
3 hours 37 minutes to complete the night time run of 24
miles over Snowdon, got back to their boat at 23.47, leapt
aboard and were off through the Menai Strait. This year
the tides, which can hold boats for hours, were with them
and they were well on their way to Whitehaven before dawn.
The Marines off Hannah were not far behind though returning
at 00.11 on Sunday morning. On the pier they stripped off
their singlets and shoes and the crew simply dumped a bucket
of water over their heads, before they went back aboard
and set off after Lightning Reflex..
While all this was going on ESOX was still in Barmouth harbour,
after her engine failed at the start, but still having bad
luck. She was unable to leave on the 23.00 tide with a force
7/8 wind blowing into the harbour, and will now leave around
midday on Sunday, a full 24 hours late. By that time the
leaders will most likely be arriving in Whitehaven.
The chasing pack of yachts were only 90 minutes behind when
they arrived at Caernarfon, but their runners were slower
and had worsening conditions, and when they completed their
run the tide was against them. The next 3 yachts 'Stormcruiser',
Greased Lightning and Caol Ila are all in the Tilman Trophy,
the all rounders class, where 4 out of the 5 crew have to
reach a summit. These 3 are going to have a closely contested
race as they got back and left within 30 minutes of each
other, though their times were nearly 2 hours slower than
the race leaders'.
All 3 were passed on the mountain by the runners from Farthing
and Midnight Getaway and these 5, plus Kaat, Positive Impact
and Assent passed through the Menai Strait between 05.00
and 08.00 Sunday morning. This is a hazardous area, with
a series of rocks where boats often run aground in the race,
but this year there were no problems as they passed under
the 2 impressive bridges over to Anglesey. The only reported
difficulty was with Assent, which had engine failure and
had to land and collect their runners by dinghy.
Chic Nic was the last to leave Caernarfon at 08.23, after
their runners Adrian Hunt and Michael Brown took 9 hours
9 minutes on Snowdon. Conditions on the mountain during
the night were very rough and the runners faced gale force
winds, dense cloud and some heavy rain. This was particularly
hard on the visually impaired runner, Dean Townend, who
has tunnel vision and could only make out the flashes of
the reflective strips on the shoes of his running 'buddyé
Heath Reilly when they were caught in the light of his headlamp.
They got round in just over 7 hours, an impressive performance.
The only other yacht, still in the race is the aptly named
Artful Dodger, who pulled into Pwllheli on Saturday evening.
The marshals at Caernarfon asked the harbour master there
to rouse them Sunday morning and they rang in to ask if
the wind was likely to drop as they didnét fancy coming
out while it was 'too windy'!