Cardigan Bay was a great place to be sailing last week – and very different from the previous six weeks of rain and wind that marked a miserable summer break.

Numbers of competitors were up on 2022 – both for dinghies and cruisers – and the conditions were highly enjoyable. A feeder race from Fishguard was won in light airs by Brainstorm (Chris Seal). The cruisers then enjoyed four more races in the bay while dinghies enjoyed three whole days of decent sailing.

Overall winner Rodmar
Overall winner Rodmar (Dennis Fick and Fiona Best)

In the non-IRC keelboat fleet (five boats), using the Byron system, Carl Rich’s Blythe Spirit (Parker 285) took the biscuit from Horizon (Davies family) and Cadenza (Jones family).

In the IRC fleet, Crawford McLeary’s Sprite (Hawk 20), Steve Berry’s Bobble (also Hawk) and Drychin Bach (modified Hunter Duette) of Jon Price-Jones had a great four days of competition swapping places behind Brainstorm (Chris Seal) and Rodmar (modified Fulmar 32) of the indefatigable and evergreen Christine Willis.

Dinghy start line in New Quay
Dinghy start line in New Quay (Dennis Fick and Fiona Best)

With the series evenly balanced after three races, the last race was the decider. Brainstorm got a bit over-keen and was over the line and had to come back, effectively starting three minutes after the whole fleet. She clawed her way back to second behind Rodmar. But it wasn’t enough and Rodmar deservedly won overall – by only one point and 20 seconds of corrected time from Brainstorm.

Bobble, however, eventually came out on top of the chasing pack and was first Hawk, with Drychin Bach was first bilge keeler.

The committee must be highly commended for agreeing to start the last race back-to-back to allow boats to get back on their moorings in time for a blustery northerly overnight. A level of flexibility that was most welcome.

In the dinghies, single-handers were dominant but the silverware was shared about. However, the clear winner overall was Alan Watkins in a well-sailed Blaze. Young gun and Welsh Topper squad member, Dan Powell, in a Topper was second overall and first youth. Not far behind was Jonny Everett in a Supernova. Local boy, Steffan Williams, continues to make big leaps (into Welsh Topper Youth Squad) and won a prize for the most improved.

Next year’s event will be held on 9-11 August.

Overall IRC: 1, Rodmar (mod Fulmar 32) Christine Willis – AYC/NQYC; 2, Brainstorm (Super Seal 26) Chris Seal - NQYC/RAFSA; 3, Bobble (Hawk 20) Steve Berry - NQYC

Overall Byron: 1, Blythe Spirit (Parker 285) Carl Rich – NQYC/RAFSA; 2, Horizon (Jeanneau Sun 2000) Rich Davies – NQYC; 3, Cadenza (Super Seal 26) Justyn Jones – NQYC

Overall Dinghies: 1, Alan Watkins (Blaze) Pembrokeshire YC; 2, Dan Topper (Topper) Cardiff Bay YC; 3, Jonny Everett (Supernova) Cardiff Bay YC; 4, Jack Harries (Phantom); 5, Paul Sadler (Std Laser/ICLA7) New Quay YC; 6, Sirene Le Petit/Henry Powell (29er) CBYC/New Quay YC

1st Youth Dan Powell

1st Master Alan Watkins