Yacht Name: Rio
Yacht Type: J-120-Quattro
Hull Colour: Blue
Sail No: NED 6667
Country of Origin; Netherlands
The Team: ‘Her name is Rio!’
Our runner Chris has never been on a sailing yacht before and associates sailing with the clip from the Duran Duran song ‘Her name is Rio!’. This tells us two things: a) his approximate age and b) his sailing experience. The song was released in 1982 and the clip features the band members dressed in fancy jackets lounging on a rather cool 1936 yacht in Antigua, furthermore featuring colourful alcoholic drinks and beautiful company (check Youtube). What Chris didn’t know is that Simon le Bon, Duran Duran’s lead singer, used to own a racing 78-foot yacht called ‘Drum’. This yacht capsized during the 1985 Fastnet race as result of a broken keel and the crew had to be airlifted off. In short: we will tie Chris down on the weather rail and hope he will not be too sick to run up mountains really quickly.
Our J Boats -120 combines creature comforts with offshore racing capabilities. In nice high-pressure conditions with sunny weather and light winds under reduced sail she is the perfect holiday boat. Warm showers, duvets, oven baked croissants and cocktails on the foredeck. Give her a bit of wind, a broad reach and hoist one of the large asymmetric spinnakers and she turns into an oversized ‘somewhat’ out of control planing dinghy, that keeps her crew on the continuously changing tipping point between sheer delight and all-out terror. A will of her own, for sure. And, why the name? The previous owner had four different J-Boats in sequence and thus named the 4th one J-Quattro. It is of course unlucky to change a boat’s name and more important, rather inconvenient to strip the huge lettering off of her hull and to change all the paperwork! J-Quattro she thus remained.
Joost van der Wal - Skipper
Nationality : Dutch
Joost learnt how to sail on the Frysian lakes in the North of The Netherlands. As a 12-year old he wanted something faster than the small wooden childens boat and managed to convince his parents to buy a battered old 470 dinghy called ‘Orca’ for him and his younger sister. His sister has, 28 years later, still not forgiven him (a 470 is not a boat for 10-year old sisters…). Many adventures later he bought a wooden quarter tonner that he sailed around the Dutch coastal areas, often with Bon and Chris. In parallel he started sailing further afield with the Dutch offshore sailing school ‘Zeezeilers van Marken’. Moving to Ireland for work meant sailing in the Irish sea, racing in the Dublin Bay area and cruising in the south (near the Fastnet), one of the most stunning sailing areas in the world. Once back in Holland he scaled up, buying J-Quattro with the intent to do lots of offshore racing on the North Sea. Destiny decided differently and when work sent him to Aberdeen, Scotland, the boat duly followed. J-Quattro is now based in Mallaig, West Coast Scotland next to Skye, a base for many fascinating and beautiful trips in the area with family and friends. A 5-week old baby at home ensures that Joost is fully trained in sleep deprivation, quite useful for the race.
Bob Weenink – Crew
Nationality : Dutch
Bob is a very experienced dinghy sailor, which is exactly what we need for J-Quattro. As an excellent foredecker he is in charge of the asymmetrics. As a keen navigator he will be helping us finding the fastest route from A to B. Bob sails competitively on three-man dinghies in Holland, where he can normally be found leading the field. Bob has sailed extensively with both Joost and Chris W amongst others racing on J-Quattro at a sister race of the Three Peaks, The Schuttevaer Race. Dutch style: Sailing between island, running, and racing on road bikes. As most people will be aware, Holland is as flat as a pancake, so we are quite pleased that the sailing crew is not going to go near to any of the three peaks! Bob has two kids at home, who are almost old enough to start sailing in Optimists themselves: The next generation that will deliver boats to nice locations for us.
Chris Wattel – Crew
Chris W. has been sailing since childhood. He started at the Sea Scouts where he messed around the Dutch lakes in the South for years. Sea scouts in the Netherlands use battered steel boats that are indestructible, implying that they always have right of way over bigger, more vulnerable and far more expensive boats. We do not know for a fact that this and other Sea Scout adventures have had a permanent impact on Chris’ attitude to sailing; we so however suspect some link as he has proven to be completely relaxed in even the most severe sailing conditions. Chris has significant sailing experience sailing in Scotland, Ireland, The Netherlands and Norway (above the Arctic circle!). Chris also has two small kids at home who will hopefully also form future crew.
Laurence Wilson – Runner
Laurence is our man with Experience. He knows how to run up mountains quickly and has successfully completed the 2014 version of the Three Peaks Race with Team Tiger. And he knows how to organise things. We even have oars for the boat thanks to him! He says: ‘I wasn’t very sporty at school – our PE teacher would send us out for a 3 mile run in the lashing sleet and howling wind, and then follow us round on his moped, dressed in oilskins and a sou’wester, bellowing “encouragement” down a megaphone - (get rrrrunnin Wilson ye big Jessie…). But I grew up by the sea and always appreciated being outdoors and very much enjoyed sailing with my Dad. I began running in my late 30s for fitness really, and found it the perfect way to explore the countryside.
Chris Lewis-Farley – Runner
Chris L’s sailing experience is a blank sheet of paper, but he does know how to tear up and down mountains at speed. He says ‘I first got into running in my late 20s. Just a jog round the block was all I could manage back then. It started with a feeling that I should be able to run and it seemed like a waste not to run. That make sense? Years have passed and the drive has become more answering the question of “I wonder if I could?”. The answer has, so far been “yes I can”. A couple of ultras, Welsh 3000s, hilly marathons, an iron man and more “Tough Guy” races than you can shake a stick at later and my imagination was caught by the three peaks yachting race. “I wonder what I’d be like on a boat?” is the next question. Having watched the Duran Duran’s Rio music video I think I understand what sailing’s all about(?). A week at sea? How bad can it be? Watch this space……
Both Bob and Joost have in the past been in Nepal to do some hiking and found it a wonderful country with very welcoming people. Given recent developments we have pick a charity that provides effective help. Doctors Without Borders www.msf.org is an organisation that does great work. It is an originally French charity that is well known in The Netherlands (less known in the UK). It uses funding effectively in areas where help is needed most, including extremely difficult and dangerous locations such as Syria.
We are very much looking forward to the event and to meeting you all soon.
A big thank you to the organising committee for putting in all the effort!