About the Three Peaks Yacht Race
Teams of four or five per yacht sail from Barmouth to Fort William, with two of the crew climbing the highest mountains of Wales, England and Scotland en route. The land stages to Snowdon, Scafell Pike and Ben Nevis involve running 54.8 miles, cycling 40 miles, and climbing 16,500 feet in 3 or 4 action packed days. The sailing is approx. 389 sea miles.
Team members must be over 18 years old (those over 16 will be considered with parental & Skipper's consent.)
There is also a trophy for all-round team performance called the Tilman Cup. For this 4 of team must reach a summit.
Use of engines is not allowed, except for safety reasons in specific areas in ports. However, a unique feature of the race is that rowing is allowed!
From 2018 a non-competitive Challenge Class was introduced. It covers the same course as the race but teams can use engines if necessary and are not restricted to 5.
From 2019 multi-hulls were once again allowed to enter, and the main race categories are decided under handicap.
Support crews can meet the teams on land but are restricted in what support they can give. Many teams participate without any form of back up at all.
Barmouth to Caernarfon and Snowdon
The first leg starts from Barmouth, yachts sail approximately 62 sea miles, past Bardsey Island and the Llyn Peninsula, over Caernarfon Bar and arrive at Caernarfon Pier. A compulsory five-minute kit check by marshals is carried out before the runners set off to the summit of Snowdon via the Ranger Path and return via Llanberis, a distance of 24.5 miles.
Caernarfon to Whitehaven and Scafell Pike
Here crews can opt to sail around the Isle of Anglesey or continue, under sail only, through the difficult waters of the Menai Straits.
After a further sail of approximately 100 sea miles yachts arrive at the marina in Whitehaven. This is the longest land leg of the race, the distance to Scafell Pike and back via Ennerdale being some 53 miles, so bicycles are allowed for the 40 mile return trip to Black Sail Youth Hostel.
The ride is via a cycle path, country road and forestry track and racers leave their bikes at Black Sail Youth Hostel before setting off on foot to cross Black Sail Pass to Wasdale Head. Here they will be met by friendly marshals at Wasdale Head Hotel, this time with food and drink! Runners then proceed to the summit of Scafell Pike and return to their yacht via the same route.
Whitehaven to Fort William and Ben Nevis
This sailing leg is a distance of approximately 227 sea miles rounding the Mull of Kintyre and into the Sound of Jura, through beautiful scenery but with many tidal gates to negotiate. The race finishes just north of Fort William at Corpach, at the entrance to the Caledonian Canal where the sailing is over and skippers can lock in to Corpach Basin and lie alongside.
The runners, after checking in with the marshals, set off to the summit of Ben Nevis, which is a 17.8 mile return trip. The race is finished when the runners return and cross the finish line.