The fastest way to Aberdyfi

Autumn is here and I’ve just got back from a nice windsurf session courtesy of some autumnal winds. It’s definitely beginning to feel a little cooler out there and the conditions are feeling less like summer, despite the sunshine.

The winds were dead Westerly. So, my initial plan had been to wait until around 1:30pm so that the tide could drop enough for a nice session off the seafront. Chris and Diane said they were heading to the estuary for high-tide though. The estuary in a Westerly might not be the best choice as it would be a little sheltered in behind the dunes and very gusty. I decided I’d join them anyway as it’s more fun (and safer) sailing with others and I hoped I’d be able to head out beyond the dunes and find some stronger, cleaner wind in the channel.

Kit of choice

I got to the estuary before they did and then had the usual dilemma of deciding what to rig. It looked like 5m weather out in the channel, but there was probably only just enough for a 5.7m in the bay. I decided I’d go with the 5.7m and my big 104ltr board. That would give me enough power to get going and get out towards the channel and enough performance upwind to go where I wanted. The water was flat in behind the point so if it was too much for a 5.7m I’d just stay in the flat water and hold on as best I could!

As usual, it only took me a few minutes to rig so I was out on the water before there was any sign of the others.

Of we go

It was, as predicted, a little light and very gusty in the main bay but once out towards the end of the dunes it was actually fine, even with the 5.7m. I tried to stick to the deeper channels. The tide was high so there wasn’t much chance of running aground but I prefer to stay in them if I can. Judging by the GPS trace of my session I did that perfectly. You can see that I was sailing across the wind in the channel on the Ynyslas side of the estuary and just skimming over the corner of the sandbank before bearing away on some crazy fast runs behind the point. I then couldn’t resist a few trips over the swell and chop of the main channel to Aberdyfi.

Windsurf GPS Trace
Windsurf GPS Trace

Off to Aberdyfi

I usually sail in the estuary in a NE. This means I generally sail across to the point and then have to make a few tacks upwind before I can head to Aberdyfi. That wasn’t the case today as I could sail from the beach at Ynyslas straight there. I’d have to bear away in the silky smooth water behind the point and then head upwind just a touch once I was in the channel, but it was one long reach there and another back. All good fun, with some super fast sections here and there. It’s definitely one of the quickest ways to get the Aberdyfi from here.

Chris on the Water

Chris & Diane eventually turned up at the beach and Chris rigged a 5.4m and joined me. He said he was going to practise some tacks. Tacks aren’t something I ever do as I generally sail well-powered up and can get away with gybing all the time. However, as I headed flat out to the beach one time Chris was just recovering from a fall in the shallows so I decided it would be good to try a tack for a change. Amazingly, despite never doing them I pulled it off perfectly and sailed away again as if I do them all the time. That was enough of that though, time to quit while I was ahead and stick to gybing. Some of the gybes were pretty slick as well mind you!

Chris headed over to Aberdyfi once with me as well, but before long, with the tide falling and the sandbanks beginning to show I decided that was it for the day. A nice 23 miles of windsurfing with a maximum speed of 34mph. Not the fastest ever but it felt pretty quick on freeride/wave kit.

1 Response

  1. Thursday, October 5th, 2023

    […] that Rhys and I could head into the hills of North Wales for a walk. It had been windy enough for windsurfing the day before and the wind showed no signs of easing today either, but that wasn’t about to stop […]

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Alan Cole

Alan is a Freelance Website Designer, Sports & Exercise Science Lab Technician and full time Dad & husband with far too many hobbies: Triathlete, Swimming, Cycling, Running, MTBing, Surfing, Windsurfing, SUPing, Gardening, Photography.... The list goes on.

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