Top Gear Challenge

The challenge was to see which mode of transport would be first into Valencia. The Stigs, Emma and Katie were to travel first by car, then jet airplane and finally taxi from Sheffield in the North of England. Harnett, Harnett and Tiny Beast were to travel by yacht, either under sail or motor from Denia in Spain. The destination was Marina Juan Carlos in Valencia.

The Stigs set off well before dawn, as they had the offer of a lift from Johnsey’s Mum, Sarah, a woman well able to put the pedal to the metal, and who happened to be catching an early flight. In fact The Stigs arrived three hours before their flight and had after their early start lost valuable time sitting on a bench. Once they were allowed to check in they were straight through security, had time for a quick coffee and then were on the plane.

Meanwhile, already in Spain, Harnett and Harnett also woke before dawn, but then rolled over for another half hour, as it was dark. Even so they were up and away by seven am. Spanish time (six UK time), pushing the motor and hoisting the mainsail as well for good measure. Beast announced that she did not do mornings, but would be primed with lines and fenders for the sprint finish, come mid day.

Nine thirty English time saw the two Stigs airborne and sleeping peacefully. On sailing yacht Lyra the news was good. An annoying pinch had worked its’ way out of the mainsail and there were just thirteen nautical miles to go. Of Tiny Beast there was still no sign.

The plane landed at Valencia airport promptly at 12.30, The Stigs made a dash for the baggage check and, having retrieved their sailing bags, phoned the crew on Lyra. Panic ensued, but Harnett was convinced they would be at least three quarters of an hour in the taxi and, with just a mile to go, the harbour wall was looming large. Beast had emerged and as Harnett (Mate) turned to wind, Harnett (Skipper) hauled in the main with Beast putting tension on the yellow line. The crew were primed and ready, when moments later, Harnett idled the engine. They sprang out to deploy enough lines and fenders to cover any eventuality, while Harnett radioed in for a berth. The instructions were to proceed straight to the pontoon and the Lyra crew felt confident success was in their grasp. They did not realize that their actions were being observed from the promenade by Stig the Elder, who dashed off to inform her companion. The pair shouldered their bags and raced for the pontoon. The Lyra crew were adjusting the lines after a successful docking, when Tiny Beast let out a roar and abandoned ship running up the pontoon to where her sisters were waving, trapped behind the sliding doors.

Arrival of the Stiggs

We called it a draw and headed off for a beer and went on to holiday happily for a week after.

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