A glorious adventure to La Baule for the Abersoch Fleet

As a precursor to the sailing season at Abersoch, on Monday 15th May three Abersoch Dragons headed off to glorious La Baule, just slightly north of Nantes.

Crew and other halves were looking for fun on and off the water, so the journey to and from was important and taking the night ferry from Portsmouth to St Malo allowed for a nice dinner and good sleep before a short but pleasant tour through Brittany the next day.

We arrived refreshed and ready to rig and were warmly welcomed, although had a small delay while the team doing the launching had their obligatory 2-hour lunch with wine, so we duly got into the French spirit and did the same!

La Baule Yacht Club and its moorings are at the mouth of an incredibly tidal waterway that leads to an extensive area of marsh and salt flats so start times were all over the shop and determined entirely by when the tide had finished its initial surge in and had abated sufficiently to allow us to get out, usually by tow. Although a bit strange, this meant that with starts ranging from 2.00pm to 4.00pm there was plenty of time for exploration and a spot of lunch in and around the area.

On the water it was glorious but tricky with constantly shifting winds and the tide seeming to come from all angles, as it swirled in and out of the bay with some force. All of the Abersoch boats had their moments with some great legs and some less so, although the Knucker also suffered badly with its spinnaker halyard that kept jamming and didn’t come free until it was de-rigged the last day.

Highlights for the Abersoch fleet

Knucker, with Jamie Peters on helm and Grant Edwards and Rob Eldridge crewing was a dazzling 3rd (2nd Corinthian) on day 1

Vixen, with Tim Saunders on helm and George Davies and Carol Saunders crewing it was a 7th (4th Corinthian) on the last day

Tsunami, with Colin Brereton on helm and Graham Price and Chris Mills crewing, it was probably being in the top half of the leaderboard at the end of day 1.

Overall Abersoch fleet results

Vixen finished 24th (17th Corinthian)
Tsunami 28th (21st Corinthian)
Knucker 29th (22nd Corinthian)

Congratulations have to go to Stavros (aka Martin Payne) and the fabulous Bakker boys who never put a foot wrong and won the event with a day to spare.

Finally, on Sunday we broke the journey back with an overnight stay in the stunning Medieval walled town of Dinan and all arrived home late Monday night promising that we would unhesitatingly do the same again another year and will ensure that the Edinburgh Cup, that we are hosting in July next year, is every bit as much fun for all the visiting boats and their entourages.

by Graham Price


Dragon Northern Championship 2023 Abersoch

The Abersoch Dragon fleet was delighted to welcome Crispin Blyth, his crew, and their beautifully restored 1966 Pedersen & Thuesen Dragon, Rán, to South Caernarvonshire Yacht Club for the Dragon Northern Championship.

The Northerns were taking place as part of SCYC’s spring bank holiday weekend regatta, with Dragons being one of four fleets enjoying Windward/Leeward courses set in great conditions out in Tremadog bay.

Rán set the pace in race one in a light but consistent Northerly, finishing first with Rob Eldridge’s Caramba second and Grant Edwards’ Knucker third.

Vixen, sailed by Tim and Carole Saunders & George Davies took line honours in the second race, with Caramba second again and Rán third.

Day two was altogether different

A strong Northerly wind of 23-26 knots proved challenging for the crews and took its toll on the boats.

In the first race of the day Caramba was first, Vixen second and Mike Cope’s Raissa was third.

Patrick Lomax’s Good Grief suffered a broken runner forcing her to retire and ruling her out of the day’s second race. 

Rán also had runner issues and retired from race one but were able to sort out the problem in time for race two.

Knucker also experienced a broken runner and was unable to start race two.

Rán mastered the conditions in race two and sensibly sailed the downwind legs under white sails.

Spinnaker handling issues dropped Vixen to third with Raissa nipping in around the last mark to take second.

The Squib fleet also had its challenges with Nick Whipp’s boat awash and semi-submerged following an unfortunate broach.

Fortunately, all the crew were safe and with the help of the lifeboat, the boat was beached, bailed out and ready for action the next day!

Three boats, Rán, Caramba & Vixen, were in contention for overall honours at the start of the third day, being separated by only one point.

In a lumpy sea and fading Northeasterly Vixen won the first race with Rán notching up a third place. 

However, after a bad start in the second race Vixen was left trailing and Rán sailed away to register her third bullet of the series to take the overall title as Dragon Northern Champions.

Vixen was second overall and Caramba third.

It was a very enjoyable weekend’s racing and partying, with great weather and Abersoch at its best!

We look forward to welcoming Rán back to Abersoch next year to defend their title when the Northerns will be sailed as part of Edinburgh Cup week (7th to 11th July 2024).