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YACHT NAME :      Dreamcatcher

Length:                 10.95m

Yacht Type:           Sun Odyssey 37 1.95

Hull Colour:           Blue

Draught:                1.95m

Sail No.:                 GBR1399R

Country of Origin:  UK

Tilman Trophy:       Yes

Family Team:          No

Sea Camels

Team Sea Camels at the start - Three Peaks Yacht Race 2016

James Mansell – Skipper

Occupation: Managing Director

Age: 43

Gender: Male

Nationality: British


Growing up with a love for water sports, I started sailing as a child going on to qualify as a sailing instructor and a canoeing instructor. As a result I was fortunate enough to work as a water sports instructor every summer from the age of 15 through to graduation. I then raced a Merlin Rocket before deciding to progress on to the open sea, purchasing my first yacht some 10 years ago. Since then I have cruised extensively with my wife and two children, around the entire West and South Coast of the UK, also undertaking a number of single-handed delivery trips (Conwy to Oban etc).


Meeting Eric at a geotechnical conference in Qatar (hence the team name SeaCamels) we entered my yacht Dreamcatcher in the 2013 Three Peaks Yacht Race and successfully completed the race - winning a number of prizes (mainly for being the oldest, slowest, last etc!). 


The Three Peaks Yacht Race peaked my interest in offshore long distance racing and with Eric we have since then completed:

  • The 2014 Round Ireland Yacht Race (Double Handed).

  • The 2015 Azores and Back Yacht Race (Double Handed) - 1st in class (outbound leg) / 2nd in class (return leg)

  • The 2015 Fastnet Race (skippered a work team) – we somehow won the Bloodhound Cup for fastest corporate team!


Other yacht racing experience includes the occasional ISORA race, round the cans races out of Conwy (North Wales), the Little Britain Challenge Cup Regatta in the Solent and the 24 hours race in the Netherlands.


Eric Zon - Crew/Runner

Occupation:  Business Development Director

Age: 54

Gender:  Male

Nationality:  Dutch


Started at the age of 5 in the Dutch equivalent of the Optimist (Piraatje) on the Alkmaardermeer in the Netherlands. Later crewing for my father on a Delanta (Dehler) on the Ijsselmeer and later to the Denmark and the UK. An early mid life crisis saw me taking off half way around the world 1994-1997 starting crewing from the Netherlands to Greenland and then joining a Gaff cutter from Conwy to Portugal. Buying a Seal 27 in Gibraltar and sailing this to New Zealand picking up my current wife on the way.


Now sailing anything I can get my hands on which the luxury of being able to sail from my house at Winchelsea Beach on my hobycat 18 or a laser and several winter cruises in Thailand with the family on a Wharram 38.


Racing Experience - From 5-10 years old in ‘t Piraatje on the Alkmaardermeer followed by many years cruising. Since 2000 race every year in the Little Britain regatta at Cowes in mostly chartered vessels and for a while in my own UFO 34. Compete most years in the 24 uurs race in the Netherlands.


Have really stepped up the last years since meeting James and sailing in his Dreamcatcher a Jeanneau 37 with the 3 Peaks 2013, Round Ireland 2014 (doublehanded) AZAB 2015 (doublehanded) and Fastnet 2015.


Three Peaks History - after a hesitant start in the 3 Peaks in 2010 on Foo Fighter, 2013 was very successful on Dreamcatcher and showed the importance of good oars, perseverance and how going backwards can still bring you ahead.


Other activities - Skiing, travelling, reading, surfkayaking, cycling and a bit of horseriding when I am allowed on, all this fitness activity being undone by my love for eating and drinking.


Family Life - Married my partner of 21 years and mother of our 4 children last September. Children between 12 and 19, slowly moving off to uni, we like to skiing together and sailing mainly in hot countries, have 2  dogs and 2 horses and like to go for a daily swim off the beach in the Channel as soon as the weather allows


Life Motto – Favourite Quote - De Dood of de Gladiolen


Simon Balmer – Crew/Runner

Occupation:  Power Station Engineering Manager

Age: 43

Gender: Male

Nationality: British


Dingy sailing & racing in my youth led onto an interest in bigger boats when time and budget would allow. Cruising out of Conwy (North Wales) for 8 years with the family in ‘Why Knot’ and later ‘Maybe' I was lucky enough to encounter fellow sailors with a passion for racing. This led to numerous ISORA’s, some great club racing and Conwy River Festival races, two previous entries into the 3PYR, the 2010 Round Ireland Race, Scottish Islands Peaks Race twice and the 2015 Rolex Fastnet. I also hold a range of qualifications up to RYA Yachtmaster Offshore.

Peter Larkin – Crew/Runner

Occupation: Offshore Engineering Manager

Age:  56

Gender:  Male

Nationality:  British


Although not RYA ‘ticketed’, I have reasonably extensive sailing experience, having cruised and raced in UK, Mediterranean, Middle and Far Eastern waters over the last 30 odd years in a variety of wooden boats and ‘plastic fantastics’.  In addition, I have acquired considerable ‘sea time’ having worked in the marine construction and offshore survey and subsea installation sector for the same amount of time.  I look forward to being, and hopefully will be, a worthy contributor to the ‘salty’ bits of the event!


In a not so recent manifestation (‘90’s), I was an active ‘Adventure Racer’ successfully participating in (amongst others) The Raid Gauloises and Eco-Challenge in South Africa / Lesotho & Morocco, as well as more latterly, numerous adventure races and mountain marathons within the Middle East (Oman / UAE).  In more recent years, I have participated in numerous ‘fell’ and long distance ‘trail’ races throughout the UK (including Ben Nevis Hill Race and Man v Horse amongst others) as well as the odd foray into the European racing scene.  As age and girth increase in unison, I find myself a less active fell / trail runner but still love to get out into ‘dem der hills’ whenever possible.


2013 Team Sea Camels on Dreamcatcher:  Never one to gloat but the Sea Camels considered their 2013 effort a worthy campaign bagging 7 trophies – albeit generally for being old, slow or last.  However, our chosen Charity : Kidney Research was well chuffed however at the amount of funds raised as we carried off the Karrimor Award.


Derek Rankin - Crew/Runner

Occupation: Architect

Age:  41

Gender:  Male

Nationality:  British


Grew up dingy sailing in North Berwick: (Toppers, Merlin Rockets, Scorpions and lasers) before working in Outdoor Education Centers in Scotland and abroad (USA, Greece and Turkey). Worked as a Marine Wildlife Observer on the Canadian Grand Banks for 3 months on a Spanish fishing trawler.  RYA Dingy and Windsurfing instructor and Coastal Skipper. Married on Arran, love of Scottish Islands.


Keen fitness runner. Competed in several short distance running/ triathlon events, in between my day job as architect.  Other hobbies include windsurfing, surfing and paddle boarding. 


Our charity for this years Three Peaks Race is the Acorns Children's Hospice Trust


The link for to donate towards our charity is


Quotable Quotes


"Good judgement is the result of experience and experience is the result of bad judgement."- Mulla Nasreddin – Sufi ... or Fool (depending on who you ask!)


"When there is no peril in the fight there is no glory in the triumph." - Pierre Corneille


"Permanence, perseverance and persistence in spite of all obstacles, discouragements, and impossibilities:  It is this, that in all things distinguishes the strong soul from the weak." - Thomas Carlyle


"Keep your eyes on the stars, and your feet on the ground ."- Theodore Roosevelt


"They can because they think they can." – Virgil


"Success is the child of audacity ." - Benjamin Disraeli


"If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door." - Milton Berle


"It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop." - Confucius


“Inspiration and growth only come from adversity and from challenge — from stepping away from what’s comfortable and familiar and stepping out into the unknown.”  - Ben Saunders


‘Velis et Remis’ sails and oars together or pulling out the stops  

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