The second WSRA Northern League Rowing Races took place in Caernarfon on the 14th May hosted by the Royal Welsh Yacht Club, and with clubs from as far afield as Aberdyfi and Conwy taking part.
The Ladies were first off, starting and finishing opposite the castle gatehouse, and taking a course that first headed west towards the golf club, before doubling back along the Menai Straits beyond the castle, with two final turns to cross the finish line heading west once more.
With an incoming tide and a freshening westerly breeze the ten boats found the first leg hard work, but once round the first buoy, the conditions now favoured the rowers with the Celtic longboats fairly speeding along. Having overtaken Ynys Môn just before the turn, Porthmadog Ladies opened up a good lead on this second leg, which they maintained up to the third buoy turn. The final short leg to the finish saw the boats once again fighting against the wind and the tide, with all the boats closing up as they battled against the conditions. Madog Senior Ladies were first over the line in a hard fought race, followed by Ynys Môn Senior Ladies, and Beaumaris in third place, winning the Veterans category. Madog Ladies Vets and Ladies Supervets both came second in their categories.
The Men’s race followed a similar course, but with the first and second legs extended by about half a mile each. Even though there were only eight boats in the race, there was controversy at the start as a couple of boats cut across others vying for a better line. The men initially faced similar conditions to the ladies, but by the time they came to the final turn the wind had strengthened, whipping the waves and making it difficult for the rowers to consistently make a full stroke. The finish line couldn’t come soon enough, and Aberdyfi Senior Men were first across, with Ynys Môn Veterans in second place, and Madog’s Supervets in third, both winning their respective categories.
With the strengthening wind, the decision was made to shorten the course for the Mixed race to a straight out and back. The first leg proved to be just as tough with a very choppy sea adding to the difficulties, but on the return leg the boats were fairly surfing along taking advantage of the waves in what proved to be a very fast sprint to the finish. Of the eleven boats, Ynys Môn Mixed Seniors were first home, with Madog’s Mixed Seniors in second place. Ynys Môn Mixed Veterans were third with Madog Mixed Supervets in 4th, both category winners.
In the Novices race, on a fairly short course, Borth were the winners with Madog a close second.
Thanks go to RWYC for their hospitality and organisation on the day, and to Purple Moose Brewery for their sponsorship.
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