Three Peaks Yacht Race competitors battle with severe weather but team Vlad the Impala currently lead fleet 26/6/07

Competitors in the PowerBar Three Peaks Yacht Race which started on Saturday have been battling with severe weather.

The 389-mile race from Barmouth to Fort William which combines yachting and mountain running (and a bit of cycling) is currently being headed Vlad the Impala team who have a massive lead over nearest rival Nunatak.

Vlad the Impala team which won the event in 2005 and finished second in 2006 has a formidable line-up this year including skipper and boat owner Greg Marsh and experienced racing specialists Ric Searle and Will Appleby. Joining the three accomplished yachtsman are Team Accelerate’s Keith Read who has raced with Greg and ‘Vlad’ for the last two years and won the ‘King of the Mountains’ title. Running alongside Read this time will be recent team Accelerate signing Adam Marcinowicz.

Fourteen of the teams have now left Whitehaven for the Fort William leg and at 0800 this morning, seven sets of runners are on the mountain battling with the cold conditions.

Team Pastime have retired and gone to Holyhead and Ellen MacArthur Trust have also retired. One of the cyclists had to cycle the return distance of 15 miles from Ennerdale without a saddle because it had broken! The weather is improving, with fresh winds but no gales forecast.

Team Confusion, which has crew members from the race home town of Barmouth, are just through Ennerdale at about 0803. The boys are doing the run and the rest of the crew are going to the chandler’s to try and pick up some sail sliders which had broken. The plan is to repair the boat and carry on with the race. The team are all in good spirits but were a little vague last night because of tiredness. Everything in the boat was very wet and they are trying to dry stuff out before the next leg.

Beach Fox have had the lifeboat out to them twice. Once in the straits and they were towed to Douglas with a rope round the prop. Kithros, who were also forced to put to shore on the Isle of Man, said that Douglas was lovely – but unfortunately everything was closed on a Monday, even those that said ‘open’.

The teams now face the longest sailing challenge of the race, before they must tackle the highest peak, a nasty kick in the tail to an already challenging race. With the weather seemingly clearing, conditions look ok, but fatigue and the elements have done their best to dishearten the spirit of the teams, however they are carrying on regardless.