Three Creeks Race Report

by
28/06/2017

A short report describing the adventures and experiences of the intrepid Juno team for the Three Creeks Race, a multi sailing and running event held on Sat 13th and Sun 14th May 2017, in Dartmouth, Salcombe and the river Yealm.

The team consisted of:

George Rock Evans (nominated skipper of Juno)

Julian Weyer Brown

Roger Bufton (chef and steward)

Lucy Bufton (daughter of Roger)

Diana Jewitt (daughter of George)

For those not familiar with the event the program was follows:

Sat 13th May:

– 09:00 briefing at the Royal Dart Yacht Club

– 11:00 2 runners from each team complete a 8 mile route on the river bank starting from Dartmouth, crossing by ferry at Dittisham and onto Kingswear to jump onto their boats.

– Sail as fast as possible to Salcombe and on arrival deposit 2 runners on the beach for another 8 mile run.

Sun 14th May:

– 06:30 sailing start from Salcombe to Yealm going around the Eddystone lighthouse and then depositing 2 runners on the beach at Yealm to run a 8 mile circular coastal path to end at the Yealm yacht club.

The logistics and preparations for the weekend were very involved; Juno had to be sailed to Dartmouth the Friday before and then recovered to following week when there was a let up in the weather. Food and mandatory race equipment had to be brought on board and with 5 people and their baggage it was quite cosy on Juno. (It was with a heavy heart that we had to leave the second tray of muffins and cake behind)

There were stylish blue jackets made for the team decorated with “Team Juno” and the TCYC logo.

Team Juno at the start in Dartmouth

The event was well supported with 14 initial entrants, of which 12 started and completed as 1 team did not turn up and 1 boat had engine failure at the start.

For the 1st running leg racing snake Diana and marathon endurance runner Lucy volunteered leaving George, Julian and Roger to test the coffee and home made flapjacks on the boat waiting for them to complete their run. When safely on board Juno motored out to the start line where engines had to be turned off and the best course was followed to Salcombe.

It should be explained that the fleet ranged from ocean going cats (Hissy Fit) to a small 25 footer and the runners ranged from Sunday walkers to Olympian runners (and we know of 1 “ringer” who was a semi professional runner).

The sea was quite calm and the wind in the South West reaching to Salcombe was relatively fast and smooth. The bigger Cats moved ahead and the fleet spread out as each boat choose their own path. We judged the rounding of Start point to perfection (thanks to George and Julian’s skill) and were pleased to pull clear of a J100 who had a similar or greater handicap than Juno’s J97 under IRC.

The little inflatable was quickly lowered (thanks to James Roberts for the loan of it) as we approached the beach at Salcombe. There was a quick turn around as the tender was launched and Lucy rowed Julian and Diana to the beach to start the run at Salcombe posting the selfie to prove they reached a check point at a look out post.

Diana and Julian at Salcombe check point

Some 90 minutes later they were back and being recovered in the tender by Lucy while Juno waited moored to a swinging buoy close to the mouth of the harbour.

The weather gods had been good to us up to this point but at about 6:00 pm the rain started and we battered down for the night knowing that a storm was to come in around 10:00 pm. It should be pointed out that there was pontoon space about half a mile up river but it was decided (by the skipper) that moored to the buoy was quite adequate.

After the runners had a quick wash, food was prepared and a banquet of pre-prepared cold salmon, tinned potatoes, mixed veg was prepared by Roger and washed down with real ale from a ‘party 7’ can of Adnams Broadside. (This one held 8 pints) For evening entertainment we listened to the Eurovision song contest with commentary by Ken Bruce.

By 10:00 pm we realised our error and could do no more than retire to our bunks feeling seasick as we were being tossed around in the storm made worse as the tide was now running out to the west against the storm from the west. By 03.00 am the storm passed and the estuary was flat calm and by 05:30 am we were all up with a cup of tea and hoisting sails by 06:00 am for the off.

We crossed the start line at 06:30 am and again the fleet spread out in the race to the Eddystone lighthouse. There had been easterlies the week before and with the overnight storm the sea was very confused and not comfortable; going below was not a good idea!

Rounding Edystone lighthouse at a safe distance

As soon as we rounded the lighthouse the run to the Yealm was a dream; we made up to 9 kts surfing down some of the waves and being accompanied by dolphins on either side.

Running with Spinnaker to Yealm

On reaching Yealm the last running leg was undertaken by Roger and Lucy along the coastal path up Beacon Hill and round to the Yealm Yacht club. Roger was so eager to get running that he forgot that he was still wearing his life jacket and not his running rucksack!

Looking back down to the Sea from the coast path at Newton Ferrers

With a quick selfie at a checkpoint it was a run home to the finish line at the club. For the final mile the route was not clear but we were lucky to meet one of the organisers who pointed us in the right direction.

Yealm checkpoint selfie

Overall the team Juno came 7th out of 12. This was not too bad as in the sailing only we were 4th but running were last. Next year we will train our runners more, and will embark on a training schedule to prepare!

Juno at Yealm waiting for the runners

So lessons learnt:

  1. Take at least 1 ringer who is a current Olympic runner
  2. Take a tin opener on board
  3. Never go downstairs to the lounge or the kitchen when sailing out to the Eddystone in very rough seas
  4. Take and apply sun cream
  5. Don’t listen to George when he says mooring on a buoy is fine when a pontoon is available
  6. Julian eats twice the quantity of a normal person his size
  7. Life vests will inflate when splashed with water
  8. Do not mistake a life jacket for a running rucksack.
  9. Take seasick tablets in pleanty of time as instructed by the skipper
  10. The post office / café at Yealm is very friendly and makes their own home made cakes
  11. Admans Broadside is fantastic ale