Rhyl to Llandudno: Sailing North Wales

Now that Spring is well and truly here, those lucky enough to own boats will be looking to get back out on the water.

Although many sailors like to break themselves in on the less choppy waters of lakes and rivers, the 250 miles of spectacular coastline that stretches across North Wales offer an ideal location for beginners, intermediates or experienced sailors looking to ease themselves back into the season.

The coastal towns of Rhyl, Llandudno and Colywn Bay made their names off of the fine weather that they receive from the start of Spring all the way through to Summer. Temperatures during the month of April and May make for ideal sailing conditions and a perfect time to visit North Wales. You’ll need to be packing your winter gear still, as temperatures can dip below 10 Celsius on cold days, but the rain holds off for the most part during this time of the year.

Of course, it’s those winds that we really care about. Thanks to the geographical position of North Wales you can expect mostly favourable breezes, offering good conditions for Gull Dinghies and Toppers alike. If you’re eager to make some decent headway down the coast, then take our suggested trip for a leisurely drift down the North Wales coast.

When planning a sailing weekend to a popular tourist destination, such as Rhyl, it’s always best to book as much of your trip in advance as possible.

All your accommodation, any extra gear that you might need and mooring spots for your boat should all be organised ahead of schedule. Of course, it goes without saying that you’ll need to give your vessel a good look over before you take it out on the water. Unless you’ve been sailing throughout the Winter (congratulations – if so!), your boat will have been sat under cover in a storage place for the last 6 months and will probably need a good servicing, make sure everything’s in order before you set on your way to Rhyl to start your journey.

The long stretches of beach offer plenty of opportunities for setting off from Rhyl, get an early start at low tide to make the most of the day and head South towards the neighbouring tourist town of Colwyn Bay. Providing you know what you’re doing (if not – there are loads of clubs nearby offer tutoring) you should make the 25 mile stretch in around 3 and a half hours, in a 15-ft dinghy. If you’d like to make a stop over night in the idyllic town of Colwyn Bay, then give the Bay of Colwyn Sailing Club a call. They have half-tide moorings available, in addition to moorings across the rest of the coast that can be discussed with other members.

The trek around from the Bay of Colwyn to Llandudno might look short, as the crow flies, but this can prove to be a relatively challenging sail if the weather goes against you.

You’re unlikely to meet much opposition from the breeze at this time of the year, so you can take your time and enjoy some lunch in Colwyn Bay before heading on to your final destination of Llandudno.

Navigate your way round Rhos on Sea and hook your way into Llandudno’s stunning bay by evening, to get a stunning view of one of the prettiest Victorian seaside towns left in the Great Britain. Once you’re in the relative shelter of the bay you can kick back and drift your way into Wales’ quintessential postcard town. There are a handful of lovely top-class restaurants for those with a discerning taste, or if you’re up for something a little more down to earth, The Cottage Loaf offers some great pub grub and local ales. Once your hunger is sated you can take a ride up the Great Orme Tramway and get a huge view of the distance that you’ve travelled.

If you’re up for the drive then you can set off in the evening, but it might be wiser to treat yourself and book a night in one of the stately hotels overlooking the sea. You’ve got easy access to your boat come the morning…

…not to mention one of the best fry-ups in Britain when you wake up.

Weymouth to Wight: South Coast Run

Summer is finally here!

If you’ve yet to dust off your Gull Dingy, then perhaps this rough guide to a Southern voyage will change your mind.

There’s something truly magical about entering into the bay of the Isle of Wight by sailboat. Simply put, it is the mecca of our Sport. Home to Cowes Week, the longest running sailing regatta in the world, it was home to the first ever America’s cup race, a real boon for the sport in our country. Thanks to the regular events that take place in the Solent over the course of the year there are dozens of places to dock up your boat making the area one of the most convenient locations to sail into.

Before you set off on your journey though, why not spend the evening in Weymouth? This writer’s recommendation is to arrive a day in advance, so that you can make the most of the excellent distractions that this comfortable tourist town has to offer.

Weymouth is a stunning tourist town with more than enough shops and cafes to please the most idle of tourists. For food, there’s the usual raft of restaurants, but the highlight has to be the wonderful Crab House Cafe. With a rotating menu of fresh fish dishes, you might not be able to guarantee what’s on the menu but you can be safe in the knowledge that what you do order will be of the highest calibre. After eating your fill of Crab, roll on over to Wyke Smugglers, a super traditional pub that offers some of the best ales and pub grub that the area has to offer.

Make sure you get an early night in one of the many guesthouses that line the coast, so that you’re well rested and ready to head out on the water at the break of dawn the next day.

You’ll want to set out from Weymouth early in the morning whilst the tide is high, so that you can make the most of the favourable tidal drifts. There are a number of jetties that you can launch from, but if the worse comes to the worst, you can simply walk yourselves into the water.

The first stretch of your journey will have you hugging the Purbeck Heritage Coast. This is a particularly underrated piece of coast line, studded with dramatic cliffs and miniature coves. If you feel like the wind is still on your side, then by all means take a break in one of these bays and enjoy a little lunch. If not, then continue to sail on and you should reach the major bay of Poole within three hours from leaving your start point.

At one point you would have been forgiven for relegating Poole in your mind to one of the many unremarkable coastal towns on Britain’s shores.

However, a recent influx of money into the local economy has allowed this harbour town to invest wisely, making it an ideal stopping off point for a tired sailor in need of a drink or a good meal. Time your visit well and you can catch one of the many cultural events that grace the town each year. This month you can take in the European Maritime Day, have a nibble at A Taste of the South and even consider a new purchase at the Poole Harbour Boat Show.

Although you may be tempted to stop off at the lovely town of Bournemouth on the last leg of your journey, resist the temptation and head straight on across the sound to the Isle of Wight. You might come across a few more vessels if you’re sailing on the weekend, so just be careful not to get too battered by any rogue wake. It’s advisable to book your docking well in advance, there might well be a higher concentration of harbours on this island than anywhere else in the UK, but that doesn’t necessarily mean there’ll be a spot for you!

Once you’re docked, jump onto dry land and reward yourself with a slap up meal and celebrate the start of summer in style – you’ve earned it.