Words: Annette Kent
Pics: Annette Kent, Julian Williams
Of all the sea (Cup) events on the calendar Pwllheli is definitely a favourite. Run from Abererch Sands Campsite, with easy access over the dunes to the beautiful bay of Pwllheli, it’s perfect for all the family. So much so that most people arrive a few days early to enjoy the location, giving it a true holiday feel.
On the days running up to the event there was a good wind forecast, just enough for slalom/formula kit and perfect for raceboard. Many of the raceboards enjoyed the perfect planing conditions with the traditional windsurf to Abersoch. Lying 8 miles up the coast the trip included an hour and a half beat to Abersoch Sailing Club, a stop for chips and ice cream followed by 8 miles of blissful downwind blasting – the perfect warm up for the upcoming racing.
Race day (Saturday) arrived as the wind reduced, leaving flat, clear seas and plenty of sunshine. Three fleets took to the water: Techno, RS:X and raceboards. Sadly not enough wind for Formula. For the Techno and RSX sailors many hopes were pinned on good results to qualify for squad places.
In the raceboard fleet there was a good turn out with two new comers competing at their first UKWA event. Although some of the youths were missing as they were on their way to the raceboard Europeans in Hungary.
In 6 to 8 knots of wind two races were completed, a break for lunch then two more, on a windward/leeward course. Techno’s going first then RS:X then Raceboards. The course became very crowded, making rounding at the windward buoy very interesting. (Always adhere to the port/starboard rule!) Winds were constant with gains made from good starts, clean wind and avoiding seaweed. Lewis Barnes worked hard to lead the feet with Ali Masters hot on his heals, followed by Rob Kent and Mark Kay. Racing was close and exciting with places changing constantly during the race. Mid-fleet was as competitive with a fight for first veteran between Mark Taylor, Tom Naylor and Bob Ingram. In the youths and ladies (racing on 8.5m sails) places were tight and eagerly fought between Thomas Sambrook, Molly Howell, Rebecca, Emily and Annette Kent.
Off the water, tails of the day’s racing were exchanged over BBQ’s and a few drinks.
Sunday dawned warm and sunny with little wind. After a short postponement three fleets set off to the start line. Unfortunately the wind failed to build, breaking the chatting and jellyfish watching to come in for lunch. Two races took place in the afternoon in 6 to 8 knots on the standard course; an inner loop with a box for RS:X and raceboard; an outer loop with box for Techno. Racing was again close and exciting in the raceboard fleet with Ali Masters taking his first win. Mark Taylor on his new Tushingham 9.5m XR had his best result with a third. In the last race Tom Naylor nailed a fourth to take him to 6th place but not enough to take the first veteran place from Mark Taylor. In the ladies Molly Howell sailed consistently on borrowed kit (hers was already on the way to Hungary) to take first youth girl. Rebecca and Emily took it in turns to catch Molly and stay ahead of Annette who was not enjoying the light winds.
Overall a really fun event with a great atmosphere on and off the water.
Thanks to the UKWA race team for all their hard work and professional organisation. Looking forward to the next event, would be great to see you there!
Check the UKWA website (https://ukwindsurfing.com) for calendar and details of all racing.
Raceboard fleet results:
1st Lewis Barnes 1st heavy Phantom /Demon
2nd Ali Masters Phantom/RSX 9.5
3rd Rob Kent 1st lightweight 1st Master Phantom/Tushingham XR
1st veteran Mark Taylor Phantom/Tushingham XR
1st youth boy Thomas Sambrook Phantom /Tushingham XR
1st youth girl Molly Howell Phantom /Demon
1st lady Emily Kent Phantom /Tushingham