Word with Geoff West
Just as they had bumped their way down the channel into
Caerarfon bar, race leaders 'Lightning Reflex' bumped their
way into the marina at Whitehaven, and once again the Royal
Marines yacht 'Hannah' was right behind them.
The entrance to the marina is via a tidal lock, and both
yachts had arrived outside the marina wall soon after midday
on Sunday, easily breaking the record for the quickest sail
on this leg of the race. (As Hannah left after Lightning
Reflex their time of 12 hours 53 minutes is the new record.)
Then they had to wait until there was enough depth in the
gate for their 2.3m draught to get through, so it wasnét
until 13.04 they could get in and complete the leg.
Speaking to Geoff West the skipper of Lightning Reflex after
their arrival it was clear they'd had an exciting time.
"We got away quickly through the Menai Strait he said,"
thanks to the local knowledge of these two." He was
nodding towards his crew Ken Fitzpatrick who is local harbour
master, and Dave Jones, a sailing instructor who works on
the strait. "They just directed me through in the dark
from memory, I'd never have believed we'd go through so
"Then we lost time, opting out and not putting the
spinnaker up round Puffin Island so the Marines caught us
up. Once we saw their spinnaker ours went up and we were
in sight of each other almost all the way then. We lost
our spinnaker later when we broached - its in a ragged pile
in a bag somewhere. We're having a competition to see who
can get the most speed out of the boat. I'm winning so far
with 17.9 knots, but it was very windy at the time."
I've been caught out 2 times out of 3 on this race in the
Menai Strait, so Iém glad we're through there leading. I'd
have been happy just to be in contention, the real sailing
race starts when we are out of Whitehaven and on our way
to Fort William, that's when we'll see what we can do."
With gusts to force 10 forecast and a close contest with
'Hannah' the chances are theyéll go faster than 18 knots
and the race record of 3 days 5 hours could be under threat.