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Team Mistral

YACHT NAME :      Mistral of St. Helier

Length:                 38'

Yacht Type:           Sigma 38 OOD

Hull Colour:           White

Draught:                2m

Sail No.:                 GBR (K) 8337

Country of Origin:  UK

Tilman Trophy:       No

Family Team:          No

Mistral of St. Helier - Three Peaks Yacht Race 206

Keith Mander – Skipper

Occupation: Chartered Electrical Engineer

Age: 68

Gender: Male

Nationality: British


Commercial Yachtmaster and Cruising Instructor on his seventh and last –yet again – Three Peaks. Sailing is a hobby that’s become an obsession beginning in an 8 foot “pram” dinghy in a pond and developing into Irish Sea Offshore racing. During races, particularly one particular night, in a gale, I often wish I was back on the pond. The 3PYR has been an addiction and one of these years I’ll give up the sailing and do the running. My previous best position has been 3rd in the Tilman and 4th overall so for the last time we are going for the win. I have won the “Last Inn” and “Wrinkies” Trophies twice each so we are trying to avoid those.  Looking forward to a great race this year under the new handicap rules.


Alan (Charlie) Ryan - Crew

Occupation:  Prison Officer

Age: 54

Gender:  Male

Nationality:  British


My earliest recollection of sailing was when I was 5. My father used to take us down to the local canal every Sunday night in a tin bath and we used to be there for hours trying to put the bung back in whilst it filled with water, (was it sailing or was it bath night ?) I often ask myself !! It was pretty grim “Up North” in those days.


Having had the taste for the water (and the chemicals) that went with it, at the age of 11, I decided to join the sea cadets (TS Warspite) in my local town. I was given the position of senior deck hand of the watch. It was only after a couple of months that I realized that she was a submarine, I became pretty good at holding my breath though.


During my time in the sea cadets I learnt how to canoe, sail small dinghy’s and row. I learnt very quickly and gained some qualifications, as it’s a great incentive being upside down on Lake Windermere in the middle of March. I had never seen so many brass monkeys !!. I also had the opportunity to sail on the square rig Brigantine TS Royalist. That was an excellent learning opportunity, as we were sailing from Portsmouth to Alderney in a force 7/8, hanging on for dear life up the topgallant, that soon cured my sea sickness and head for heights. My oppo’ also informed me then that they do Huggies in 30” waist.


In 1979 I joined the Royal Navy as a “marine engineering mechanic”. My first ship was the carrier HMS Hermes. My first deployment was America and the Caribbean. After several months at sea I noticed that the skipper always got some bloke to come onboard to park the boat for him!! Once during captain’s rounds, I spoke to him and informed him of my previous experience in the sea cadets and told him that in the next port I would park it for him. He politely declined my offer. I think it may have been because I didn’t have my “Day Skippers” at the time”


My next postings were on the type 21 frigates HMS Avenger & HMS Active. I was soon given the nickname of “Charlie” and “Captain Chaos” as every time we went to sea in the 80s we ended up in a war zone. So I was given the detail of supervising the “gully, gully” man in selling trinkets and camels around the Persian Gulf, to drill sergeant for 20,000 penguins in the Falklands. Both these duties were fraught with their own difficulties and risks during those times in my career.


After making the Royal Navy great again in the 80s, I decided to join the prison service to try and fix that. My first assignment was as the “riot prevention coordinator” in the chapel at Strangeways prison. I was relieved of that post pretty quickly for some reason.


Following my early setbacks I then chose a path in physical education where I learnt a great deal of sporting skills, attributes, knowledge and gaining qualifications. I learnt how to be a god team player, whilst learning well known sports as non-stop cricket, ring the stick, Danish long ball, crash mat rounder’s and captain head ball to name just a few. This all laid down excellent foundations as I decided to pursue an interest in offshore sailing.


I have now completed a few trips off shore, as I now sail out of Conwy. Some of my most memorable adventures were managing to get past Puffin Island, sail down the Menai strait for local refreshment at the gazelle and even further to the Liverpool arms, whilst sampling the local cuisine at the nearby tandoori restaurant.


Having now learnt and developed a wide range of transferrable skills that I have acquired from my youth and over last 20 years. I feel that I have gained the relevant knowledge and experience that will enable me able to become a valuable member of the winning Yacht “Mistral of St Helier”




Senior Iceberg lookout - RMS Titanic

Chief Sonar Operator – General Belgrano

Chief Hostage Negotiator – HMS Bounty

Chief fire officer –Cutty Sark

I/C  (under 12s) - £1 power boats operator on Southport boating lake

Chief Navigator on the log flumes at Blackpool Leisure Park

Chief electrical engineer (Pedalos) - Centre Parks

I now have various sailing qualifications that may assist me on my quest of completing the 2016 three peaks yacht race


Simon Lyon – Crew

Occupation:  Company Director

Age: 51

Gender: Male

Nationality: British


My first introduction to the water was messing about in homemade kayaks on the local canal, during this time I learned the age old art of dodging the dead dog. This you may think is a euphemism for some arcane skill, it is not. I also learned that chopped strand mat

and polyester resin cannot be replaced by shredded wheat and golden syrup, not because of any structural defects caused by this unusual, but cheap method of kayak construction but because the local kids would eat the damn thing if left alone. At the grand old age of six my father bought an eighteen foot plywood silhouette bilge keeler and we cruised it out of Rhyl in North Wales.


It was while sailing from Rhyl that I met the legendary sailor Arthur Rees. Arthur was the only man to park a bilge keeler, on top of the sewage outfall at Rhyl, one keel either side! I later purchased a sailing dinghy from Arthur who said it would be a good beginner’s boat and to be fair the class name ‘Cherub’ indicated a fairly well behaved dingy. Google them! So having learned to right a dingy and then to catch it as it shot off unmanned I decided to go back to cruising. Luckily once again my father came to the rescue by fitting out a Colvic 26. After three years hard graft he generously allowed me to skipper her at the age of eighteen. Charlie Ryan my sailing crew mate on Mistral often crewed on these adventures in the Irish Sea.


I sailed for a number of years around North Wales and the Irish Sea until family and commitments forced me to have a prolonged break from sailing. In the last few years I have raced and crewed on Mistral and have recently gained my Day Skipper qualification. This year’s Three Peaks race will be the first time I have entered a competition of this scope. My motto seems to be ‘Should have bought a bilge keeler’

Bettina Phillis – Runner

Occupation: Solicitor and buy Mum of 3!

Age: 41

Gender: Female

Nationality: British


Over the last 15 years or so, I have loved the thrill and challenge of taking part in endurance races and sporting experiences.  I have a life-long passion for sport – whether it be running, cycling, skiing, tennis, canoeing – you name it, I will give it a go!  I suppose I started running when I met my husband, who was running the Everest Marathon and inspired me to buy a pair of running shoes.  During our early months of dating (aaaaaahhhh!), we signed up to do the London Marathon together in 2000.  From then on, we realized we had found each other’s kindred spirit or fellow nutter – as an example, we were cycling down the Thames towpath in London one day back in 2005 heading out to Richmond park for a Saturday afternoon jaunt, saw some folks paddling canoes, ended up chatting to the Richmond CC coach there, had a ‘go’ that afternoon, six months later – we were doing the Devizes to Westminster canoe race! 


As for pure running experiences – I have taken part in various city

marathons, some ultra- marathons (Comrades, Dead Sea Ultra,

Thames Meander), some multi-day races (Rovaniemi, Marathon des Sables)…

all of which have been tough in their different ways but incredibly

worthwhile, fun and enriching experiences.  I look back and love

thinking about the variety of landscapes, the people, the race

organization and situations I have found myself in. 


Training and juggling life is much trickier these days – with my career and

3 young children – but these experiences give me a blend of pure escapism

and focus.  This will be a first for me – involving a yacht and a few peaks

– but it sounds like a fantastic race. 

James Harding - Runner

Occupation: Digital Marketing Consultant

Age:  42

Gender:  Male

Nationality:  British


Experience? Nobody told me that was required. I've done a bit of sailing, which is a shame because I'm down as a runner!


I did the race 19 years ago with my dad. He competed in the race several times - 1985, 1986, 1988, 1990 and 1997. Does second hand experience count? I've lived through it several times! It was all different back then. Much harder of course.  The kids these days, they don't know they're born. Ravenglass, phew; that was tricky.


We announced our arrival in Barmouth, the night before the start, by calling out the lifeboat. Life raft on deck and everything. There's even a plaque in the RNLI station, as I discovered last summer when passing through Barmouth on holiday with my wife and children.  It's the first time I've been on the Honours board - my family was so proud!


Dad and I ran the Snowdon leg together. I was down to run Ben Nevis but injured my knee coming down the first mountain. You might say I have some unfinished business.

Dad fell in love with the event and during the early 90s he exported the format back to the south coast to set up his own event called the Universal 500. I was the youngest ever competitor.


Since then, there have been some marathons, triathlons, casual cycling, and a bit of yacht racing, marriage and children. Thinking about it, I'm not sure I've done a multi-dayer since 1997 actually. Maybe that's because subconsciously it's taken nearly 20 years to recover from the experience!


Sadly my father passed away in 2014 after bravely battling cancer. I was mulling over coming out of retirement for the twentieth anniversary when the opportunity to race this year came up. 


This is absolutely, categorically not a mid-life crisis. I can definitely still do what I did 20 years ago. Only better!


My toughest challenge is going to be keeping up with my running partner. She's modest but pretty formidable. Oh, and the sea sickness. Come to think of it, I don't like rowing much either. What could possibly go wrong?


Raising money again for the very worthy Ty Gobaith Children’s Hospice in Conwy, North Wales.




"Local knowledge may be useful but it just makes me more frightened."


"With a Mechanical and an Electrical engineer, a Prison Officer and

Marketing Consultant and a Lawyer we are ready for any

circumstance and many arguments."


“One of these years I will do the running – I promise”. Skipper.


"If we were as good as the organisers from Merioneth Yacht Club

we would win every time – creep, creep."



Charlie Ryan - Three Peaks Yacht Race 2016
Simon Lyon - Three Peaks Yacht Race 2016
James Harding & Bettina Phillis - Three Peaks Yacht Race 2016
The Mistral crew
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