Abersoch Dinghy Week once again served up a week of great sailing for the fleets of dinghy and catamaran sailors. This was the 50th year of the event hosted annually by the South Caernarvonshire Yacht Club (SCYC) and sponsored by Abersoch Boatyard, Orca Bay, English Braids, Pelle P and Gill.
The number of entries - at 125 boats - was excellent considering it has been three years since we were last able to host any visiting dinghy sailors. The racing was (as ever) during the last full week of July.
A completely new format was tried at this year’s event. There were offshore (Committee Boat) starts for the main fleets, trapezoid and windward / leeward courses, and two races per day, with three flights of two fleets taking separate starts.
The Coached Regatta Fleet and the Intermediate Fleet were sailed closer inshore in the South West corner of the beach, allowing parents to keep an eye on their children. SCYC also introduced a “mother hen” rib, coaching and encouraging the flock around this inshore course. This again proved very popular and is set to remain a fixture of the event.
The week started with a strong breeze on Sunday. The Coached Regatta Fleet (fortunately) had their scheduled “get to know you” session in the Clubhouse / on the beach, and the Intermediate Fleet were held ashore due to the conditions. Among the main offshore fleets, the first flight (Solos and ILCA/Lasers) managed to complete their quota of two races for the day, and the second flight (Phantoms and Handicapped Dinghies) managed one, before the PRO sent them home, as the breeze continued to build, and the safety boats were kept busy. The third and final flight (Asymmetrical and the Symmetricals), sadly didn’t get to leave the beach that day.
With the exception of the Sunday and Monday (also very breezy), the rest of the week was sunny with at least some wind, and all fleets completed a minimum of eight races (the Intermediate Fleet managed eleven!).
Day three saw champagne sailing all round and, as a result of the flexibility provided by the new format, the third flight was able to squeeze in a catch up race. Classic Abersoch conditions and the sight of the fleets inshore and offshore kept the shore-side spectators entertained.
SCYC upped the ante on the social side this year with daily prize givings in the bar, some “in it (the bar) to win it” prizes, Quiz night and also music on most evenings.
Clubs from the length and breadth of the UK were represented with sailors from as far as Ballyholme, Parkstone (Poole) and Stokes Bay. Budworth Sailing Club won the Crusader Prize for entering the most boats and Delph Sailing Club need a mention for bringing 7 of their Cadets to race in the Intermediate Fleet, with many of them of them sailing on the sea for the first time.
As with all sailing events, there are a large number of Club members who give up their time to make these weeks happen. This year huge thanks go to Pete Richards, PRO, especially for his patience and willingness to try a new race format; Chris Hoppins for bringing his wealth of experience as PRO for a host of RYA events and encouraging us to try something new for this year, and for offering his mark laying and safety experience; and last, but not least, to Brian Dixon, who took on the role as RO for the inshore fleets.
With the event building towards its 51st year next year SCYC is already preparing for the 2023 event - registration is on Saturday 22nd July and there’s an optional orientation race on Saturday afternoon joining in with Club racing, followed by the main event racing from Sunday 23rd July till Friday 28th July.