Second Scottish Islands Peaks Race Title for BOOM Sailing

The Scottish Islands Peaks Race is undoubtedly the jewel in the crown of adventure racing, attracting the biggest names in fell and mountain running as well as the hotly contested sailing crews.  It feels like a special race to us, we’ve paid our dues in Rebel a 30′ First 300 racing her for four years.  Simply making the start felt like an achievement (although we were humbled by Martin Pound who single handed sailed to the start from the south coast over a number of years).  The race itself is magical for both runners and sailors with demanding navigation for both disciplines in a majestic playground.  Having won the race outright in 2016, a second win would be a big ask given that both Clockwork (winner of Class 2 2013,2014,2015) and Obedient (winner class 1 and overall winner 2012,2013,2014 and 2015) were hungry to get their honours back as well as new blood keen to make their mark.

The team had only two of the 2016 winners, skipper Cris Miles and runner Tom Gibbs aboard.  The sailing crew was made up by Ken Roberts and Dave Hughes (both successful skippers in there own right)  runner (and part time model!) Kieran Hodgson completed the team.   The traditional trip ashore the evening before the start saw many teams taking in the delights of Wetherspoons in Oban, Dave was somewhat taken aback by how much food the runners were managing to scoff down.

Race day and the wind isn’t co-operating in fact it has barely bothered to get out of bed.  Tom and Kieran are among the first back from the ‘loosener’ 4 mile run and using the inflatable canoe (we were the first to use a canoe rather than a dinghy in 2016) enabled us to be away first out of Oban Sound.  The sail to Salen was uneventful but we were overtaken by the beast of a boat ‘Warrior’ our arch rival ‘Clockwork’ came in just a couple of minutes behind.  Tom and Kieran did the business on Ben More and got us out of Salen first, but they couldn’t put any distance between us and Clockwork.  This was how it was going to pan out for the next 30 plus hours, nip and tuck with Clockwork all the way, the lead changing regularly and never more than a couple of minutes between us.  Tom and Kieran gave it their all over the Paps but we still couldn’t shake off Clockwork.  It was only when we were in Lamlash and realised their skipper was running over Goat Fell (they were challenging for the ‘All Rounders’ trophy) that we pretty much felt we’d got the race in the bag, but it’s never over until the large lady opens up her lungs.  So we never let up until the runners were climbing the ramp in Troon to be welcomed by the unbelievably helpful and friendly organisation team.  First overall again…it’s hard to imagine we could be lucky a third time!