Pride of PSC Predator 50’ Beneteau, First
Three Peaks Yacht Race 2009
Report by Glenn Williams:
Helm: Kevin Jones (Reverent) “ Iii”
Crew: Glenn Williams ( Entertainment) “Uhh”
Nav: Keith Mander (The Pilot)”Where u going”!!
Runners: Nick Gracy, Warren Bates (The Machines) “U ok ye ye ye”
Support Crew: Sian & Ian Dudley.(The TLC!!) “what u want next”
It was Friday night in Barmouth , Predator was looking her best, welsh flag flying , the team all fired up ready for the Adventure ahead !!!
Crowds had gathered at the Saturday start, our heart and minds were with our families, waving goodbye we were ready to make them proud. Sailing out now towards the 6pm start line off Barmouth, 389 nautical sailing miles, 14000 feet of three of the highest peaks in Britain and what ever Mother Nature had in store for us lay ahead.
Sailing up to Bardsey Island,the night drew in, out of the blackness we could feel the tide against us, only 10 feet from the rocks we crept up through Bardsay sound. Mast head lights we counted ahead of us, we were in fourth place, we arrived at Caernarfon and our runners Nick Gracie and Warren Bates were off up the 24 miles of Snowdon, after an hour had passed, our shore based support crew Ian and Sian Dudley radioed in, “where the H….. did you find these runners they are like machines” 3hours 20 min later they were back at Predator, beaming smiles and steaming hot, after smashing Snowdon.
As we entered the swelleys, three boats ahead of us GFT adventurer, EADS Innovation and Journey maker, we made for full sail, pushing for all the wind we could muster, we made the tide and crept out towards Puffin Island, heading for Whitehaven and the second night of light airs. After the a tremendous run on Snowdon Nick and Warren appeared from their bunks, hey boys we fancy a refresher, they started rowing across Liverpool bay five hours they continued on the oars, unbelievable…
Ahead, Whitehaven loomed out of the darkness. As Nick and Warren prepared for the 26 mile bike ride and 3209’ accent of Scafell Pike, our minds turned to make the boat ready for the next and longest 227 mile leg of the race to Fort William.
Nick and Warren, returned to Predator after setting a blistering time on scafell, within five minutes we were lined up at Whitehaven dock gate with the three leading boats, waiting for the gate to open, our minds racing, to take all the advantages of the opportunity ahead. As night fell, so did the wind, we were again at the mercy of the tide.. The rowing began as we pumped the Genoa to get some air over the huge main sail, slowly predator crept up from 1.5 knots on the oars to a steady 8 knot broad reach, it was morning again as we rounded in to the mull of Galloway. We had made good time overnight, but with the wind dropping again the tide took it toll, we pirouetted several times in no wind at all just rowing, rowing rowing.
As dusk drew in we watched the flickering masthead lights of the boats ahead, run for the shore to get out of the tide, Should we follow?? Kev in his un diminishable humour said no way man were going my way Uhhh… What a great thing hindsight is, because Kev’s decision paid off we sailed straight up the mull of Galloway rum line, straight past all the fleet… We were now approaching the headland cliffs of the Mull of ken tire. We were elated to be ahead… In the blackness of the night we could hear oars squeaking behind us over the thundering rip of tide ahead in the sound of Jura. EADS Innovation was two boat lengths behind us desperately rowing to pass us, both boats with full sails and spinnakers raised we were neck and neck, as we rounded in to the sound of Jura the gust hit us both, EADS Innovation broached and was dragged sideways as the crew struggled to drop the spinnaker and reef the main, 10 seconds later Predator was slammed over, the strain was too much for the 16mm spinnaker rope, it failed, we had 150 metres of sail flying from the head of the mast.. Within 5 minutes the sail was bundled in the cabin, and we were racing EADS, little did we know the unfolding drama to come. GFT adventurer had caught us up, Kev and Paul immediately went in to a luffing match playing cat and mouse for 20 miles up the sound of Jura, the wind filled Predator heeled over, with nine knots over ground we were reeling them in, Jones in his element “ her we come numbnutts” Nunattack!!!
Later that evening day four of the race we were rowing again 1.5 knots up Appin narrows, as we watched team Isle of man run aground 20 feet of our starboard bow, one boat was ahead of us, but the tide was too strong we had to drop anchor and wait, and wait until 1am when sure enough the tide turned we were off again. Looking aft as dawn broke we couldn’t believe it, GFT adventurer was on our stern, we were going to have a duel to the finish and we did, On the helm Predator screamed through Corran narrows the last tidal gate of the race Yes Yes Yes we could see the finish, little did we know that mother nature would test us again and the wind dropped, we rowed Predator for five miles only to see the lighter GFT adventure slowly creep past…. Well done to GFT adventure team for finishing fourth overall. However we would never give in, as we had the British Army signal squadron on our heels,six pack busting, oars hitting the water with military precision… (that was the army lads by the way) ..We all took to the Oars, and rowed Predator to the sailing finish line, Immediately we docked Nick and Warren were off up the 17 miles run of Ben Nevis, amazingly they returned in a great time and we were finally rewarded to finish sixth overall in our first ever attempt at this wonderful Adventure the Three Peaks Yacht Race.. Thanks you all for your resounding support and the constant fantastic “e” mails and text’s. Guess what we are doing it again 2010 !!!!