An Irish debutant in the Three Peaks Yacht Race is leading the fleet after four days of competition off the coast of Scotland.
The Barmouth to Fort William Three Peaks Yacht Race combines yachting and mountain running and cycling into one of the greatest adventure challenges in British sport.
Danu Technologies skippered by Glen Ward is staying ahead of White Clouds and then Team Whistler this afternoon after passing the the Sound of Jura, notorious for becalming boats and forcing them to row, and there are several tidal gates ahead for them to negotiate as they make their way through the Inner Hebrides up to Fort William.
Five team members are allowed, comprising a combination of sailors and runners, their aim is to sail from Barmouth, on the Welsh coast, to Fort William in Scotland, via Caernarfon and Whitehaven, climbing the highest peaks in Wales, England and Scotland on the way.
The race is open to mono-hull yachts only and engine power can only be used close to port, but yachts can be rowed, even pulled along by crew members on the shore but cannot have outside assistance. Its a straight race and the first team to get their runners back to the finish line in Fort William, having completed all the mountains, wins the coveted Daily Telegraph Cup.
It is hard to predict but a finish tonight is likely, and with the runners from the leading two evenly matched, there could yet be a repeat of last year when the runners decided the race on the final Ben Nevis run.
Team Danú Technologies from Dublin, is completely new to this event and although they say their main goal is to finish the race, they also say hey will definitely take every opportunity to snatch victory along the way too!
Danú Technologies is skippered by Glen Ward who has more recently been sailing the boat in single-handed offshore races.
Deon McNeilly, Newcastle AC and Gary Bailey, Mourne Runners are the legs of the team. Deon is looking for new challenge having won most mountain running events in Ireland over the years, including the 2010 Mourne 2 day Elite, while Gary has an excellent record in ultra events winning the 2010 26Extreme Ireland Coast to Coast involving 200miles of running, cycling and kayaking
Essentially, it is 'taking part that counts' and exactly what the less active sailing crew will be suggesting to our runners. Andrew Miles from Manchester is the youngest member of the crew whom has been chasing a chance to participate in this race for the last 5 years! A recent graduate who campaigns an 18ft Skiff. John Prudhoe is the fifth Team member and will be responsible for navigation and weather routing.
Danú Technologies is a Ker35 Built in 2001 and was originally designed for the grand prix IRM rule.