Aberdyfi and Back
Plans were afoot on Sunday for a bike ride with Colin. We were going to head north, along Tal-y-Llyn and then around to Tywyn and Aberdyfi before heading back home. However, wind was forecast as well so maybe I should go windsurfing instead.
Sure enough, Sunday dawned bright and windy and I had to make a decision. I checked out the estuary and there was enough wind first thing but not much water. With high tide around 11am it wouldn’t be sailable until 8:30am at the earliest. I’d make my decision by then. I was helped in the end by messages from Shem and Alistair saying they were heading to the estuary. It also made sense to make the most of the wind and tide while I could. If I wanted I could always ride later in the day once both had dropped off.
I’d made my mind up by 8am and started loading up the car with windsurfing kit. We took the van off the road at the beginning of lockdown so as to save some money on tax. We have yet to re-tax it so I’m using Anna’s car to get to the estuary. As the tide was still coming in I thought there might be some speed channels to play in. So, in went sails from 4.5 to 5.5m, my 85ltr wave board and a 5.2m speed sail and my fast slalom board. I could start on the speed kit whilst the channels had flat water in them and then transition to the wave kit later.
Once I got to the estuary the channels were looking good. However, the strong flow of a big Spring tide along with an opposing wind meant that they were already too choppy for speed kit. Wave kit it was from the start then. A 5m Gun Transwave sail and 85 ltr Naish Hybrid Freewave board to be precise.
I was the first on the water so everyone was watching me to see how I went. Everything was perfect. I was well powered up, verging on overpowered and having fun. I did a few runs with nice dry planing gybes at either end. I then popped back to the beach, pulled on a little more outhaul so as to make my sail a little less powerful and told the other that this size kit was perfect.
It was then back on my board for a few more runs while the others got ready. Alistair soon joined me on similar sized kit. Shem, Michele, Jon, Dunk an a couple of others came out with kites around 7m in size. The tide was filling in quickly so I could soon sail over the top of the sandbanks. It was therefore time to head across to Aberdyfi.
Aberdyfi and back
It’s not far in a straight line from Ynyslas to Aberdyfi. It’s about a mile but it’s still a nice little excursion. It varies all the time, generally starting with some chop close to the beach at Ynyslas. This is followed by some bigger chop over some of the sandbanks. There is often a flattish bit of water in behind the point and then some crazy confused chop, swell and fast currents as you cross over the point itself. There are larger standing waves in the main channel, another confused section of choppy waves where the current is at it fastest. Finally there is a gloriously smooth 100m or so of water closer to the beach at Aberdyfi. This last bit leads to some super fast, smooth long drawn out power gybes. The journey back was a crazy broad reach bouncing over chop at maximum speed.
Shem popped over to the ‘other side’ once as well. I headed back and forth enjoying the variable conditions and the nice long runs. I did stop on the beach at Aberdyfi once. There was a wind shadow here so I had to swim back out from the beach a little in order to find enough wind to get going again. After that I gybed well before the beach each time.
After a few trips to Aberdyfi and back I headed back to find Alistair. I encouraged him to head over as well. He decided to give it a go. He took a while to get there as he had to make several tacks upwind to do so. I meanwhile had been back and forth a couple of times. I did always sail towards him to let him know I wasn’t far away. The upwind tacks took me all the way into the River Leri at one point.
35 miles of Sailing
Alistair only headed to Aberdyfi once but I just kept going with trip after trip across the ever changing waters. It ended up being a 35 mile session and all of it was pretty full on. Not a bad day and definitely the right choice of sports to start the day with.
By the time I’d got home, showered, lunched, unpacked the car and such like it was mid afternoon. I could have gone for a bike ride but had probably already done enough for the day so instead headed over to the beach for a wander in the sunshine. Temperatures are set to drop this week so the next windsurf session is likely to be a more autumnal affair rather than today’s last blast of summer.