THE 42nd Three Peaks Yacht Race had some fast and challenging sailing conditions on the west coast of the UK, and the event rolled the clock back, including a multihull category for the first time in 20 years.

The winners this year showed that the race is well suited to cruising yachts with a Bavaria 36 claiming the monohull title and a Broad Blue Rapier Catamaran the new multihull category. Both beat faster racing yachts as they carried their runners up the west coast from Barmouth to Fort William, stopping for them to complete their runs up Snowdon, Scafell Pike and Ben Nevis.

The monohull winners were The Dougie Dalzell Memorial Trust team, who were raising money for a foundation set up in memory of a friend killed in service in Afghanistan, finishing the race in a handicap adjusted time of 2 days 22 hours and 1 minute.

With strong and consistent south westerly winds for much of the race it was the fastest time for many years and the Bavaria finished ahead of a Reflex 38, Pogo 405 and Beneteau First 40.7 among others. They not only won on handicap, they took line honours and were first over the finish line ahead of the quickest multihull.

Owner Christopher Morris said at the finish, ‘This proves a cruiser can win this race. We did have the option of faster boats on paper, but their deeper keels would have held us up getting over Caernarfon Bar, into Whitehaven and through the Menai Strait.’

It was in the hazardous Menai Strait, trying to push through against the tide, and taking a risky line among the rocks, that the boat opened up a lead after a fast time on Snowdon by their runners provided the opportunity. From there the team handled the strong winds, and the heavy cloud and rain on the summits, the best. They made the right tactical choices and the least mistakes in a race which always rewards team work and good navigation, as well as sailing skill and running endurance.

The boat was skippered by Robert Morris, who was sailing with his father and cousin Toby, and the runners on board were Daniel Ayers and Ben Zeman. They were also the youngest team in the race, and their runners were the second fastest over the three summits.