Positive Impact safely through the Swellies and leaving the Menai Bridge behind.

Over 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 harbour!

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'!

Mew Gull and a relaxed looking crew.

Dave Bird and Ian Hudson.

Parhelion approaches the midpoint of the Swellies.

Ascent and skipper Willy Kerr as they close on the Britaniia Bridge.

Pete Bursnall chats to Rob about the conditions on Snowdon as Positive Impact pass under the Menai Bridge.

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