Ynys Mon (Bull Bay) Northern League Event 7th July 2013
We left Aberdyfi at 7am in lovely sunshine to find grey clouds at Bull Bay.
The initial relief of not being burnt by the sun soon evaporated along with the
clouds as the temperature soared as the Ladies took to the water.
were flat calm as the 12 or so crews lined up on the start line. Their
reflections in the sea making almost perfect replicas as they waited for the
off. Our Ladies consisting of Claire (stroke), Sue Gladwin (2), Rhian in the Bow
and were joined in a new combination by Kara at 3. Their Cox Ian Brown knows his
stuff and took a great line from the
start pushing the girls hard.
route took them along the coast for 2 miles then back. This meant they were soon
out of sight around the far side of a hill. Some 30mins later the race
official's lead boat came into view a small pause then the first race boat. "Oh
they've got yellow oar blades, that's got to be Aberdyfi", was the comment from
a rather deflated Porthmadog spectator. Sure enough our girls were leading and
leading by a huge margin! The day's first win and trophy in the bag! A great row
from our girls! They were narrowly beaten last race by Porthmadog so a win today
and by such a large margin was particularly impressive and satisfying.
The next race was the seniors (Men). This race for Aberdyfi had a little
sub plot going on. We had 2 teams entered and all our rowers looked like they
had the potential to be near the front of the pack, if not win the race. It was
decided to put all our youngsters into one boat, Tim (Stroke), Ed (2), Jamie (3)
and the next youngest happened to be me, Ian Andrews (honorary youngster!) so I
joined them in the Bow. This left a slightly more experienced crew of Dave
Chapman (Stroke), Paul Ches (2), Dylan (3) & Ian Brown (Bow) coxed by Jude.
This more seasoned crew pulled rank & chose Afon Dyfi as their boat (which I
think is fair as they had won everything to date). You may have noticed the sub
plot, we now have 2 sons in one boat versus their dads in another.
As is the way with men's races the start line was a little disordered (15+
boats), with the youngsters plus Ian, coxed by Claire, using this to their
advantage and had probably already sneaked a boat length on Afon when the race
started. This was good for the youngsters but not as good as Aberdyfi's main
competition in this race, local team Ynys Mon who went one better and had a 2
boat length start on Afon Dyfi when the flag went down.
Within 5 minutes it also
became apparent that the first part of the race favoured boats on the seaward
side of the race line as those boats were first into the favourable ebbing tidal
flow. As expected local boat Ynys Mon took most advantage of this being furthest
out to sea and so had the lead of a boat length followed by our youngsters , then
Afon fighting off Newquay 2 boat lengths behind.
At the 15mins point all tidal
advantage was lost and our boys started to show they were men. Technically tuned
by an eloquent Ed Moss and the odd grunt from me, they found a superb long
stroke that made full use of the flat conditions and soon rowed past Ynys Mon to
take the lead.
Afon in contrast used a familiar shorter quicker punchy stroke
that powered them also up to and past Ynys Mon. So the only question remained
could the youngsters stay out ahead or would they fold under the pressure
provided by their more experienced team-mates in Afon?
Alas for seniority, youth
had it on the day. I cannot say if this is the way of things to come or a one
off, the conditions probably favouring the youngsters. But this may not be the
case at our next race! One thing I am certain of, we are blessed with such
strength and depth and I loved being part of this friendly rivalry. Bring on the
next race, Bring on Aberystwyth!
We entered a mixed team for the final race consisting of Claire (Stroke),
Ed (2), Dave Seabourne (3), Rhian (Bow) and me as Cox. We got off to a great
start soon getting into second place behind Ynys Mon who right from the off
looked impressive, inching ahead of the fleet with every stroke. We soon found
ourselves under pressure from Newquay and Porthmadog. After 10minutes we were
able to pull away from Newquay but could not shake Porthmadog.
As we approached
the turn at the half way point, Porthmadog chose to stay out wide allowing us to
cut in for the buoy giving us a great turn in second place. The tide was doing
unpredictable things at this point, taking the leading and local boat Ynys Mon
by surprise. They kept to the shore which tidal convention said was the right
thing to do, but both ourselves and Porth stayed out and we rushed down towards
Ynys Mon, making use of this strange anomaly. Eventually Ynys Mon spotted their
mistake and pulled out to sea and once in the same water pulled away to go on to
win. Porthmadog rowed well finding some extra speed and eventually rowed past us
into second place as we finished a very creditable third a long way ahead of the
Apres race activities included a swim for Ed, hog roast, pasta and soup,
Dave S winning 2 raffle prizes, and the collection of 3 trophies. A very well
organised event enjoyed in glorious sunshine.
Trophies: 1st Ladies, 1st Senior Men, 1st Vets Men