More than 20 boats – and well over 100 people – from all over Wales and beyond took part in the Ramsey Island Rowing Race, organised by Solva Rowing and Watersports Club on May 18 2019. The 8-mile route takes in Ramsey Sound, with its notorious Bitches rocks, through a gap wide enough for one boat only, and around the western face of the island exposed to open sea. With potentially treacherous waters, the race can be staged only when suitable weather and tides converge, and three attempts to hold it in 2018 were foiled by storms.
This year the forecast was good…and the weather even better.
The field included 19 Celtic Longboats, a single scull, a double yole and three skis. The winners, Tonnau Glas from Newport Rowing Club, completed the course in 1 hour and 10 minutes. They were followed home by Kiddles from Llangwm – who were also the first mixed crew home; with Tilly Whim from Aberporth in third place. The first ladies crew home was Dyffryn from Aberporth, who were fourth overall in a time of just under 1 hr 13 minutes. (full results below)
There was just 23 minutes separating the first and last boats.
One competitor said it was the best race she’d taken part in, because of the landscape and wildlife: “Despite the blisters, I’d go again tomorrow if I had the chance!”, she said.
The chairman of Solva Rowing and Watersports Club, Steve Probert, said the event couldn’t have gone ahead without the contributions of so many people: “From the safety boat drivers and crews – Derek Rees, Steve Rees, Mark Youde, Peter Sephton and Dan Dafforn; the RNLI lifeguards who co-ordinated beach marshalling; Porth Mawr Surf Lifesavers for letting us use their building; Whitesands Beach House for providing a very tasty chicken and chorizo paella and the city council in St Davids for allowing the event to go ahead and helping with car parking. We couldn’t have done it without them. I’d also like to thank all the members of Solva SRWC who pulled together to make it so successful.”
Results: Overall – 1 Tonnau Glas, Newport, 1.10.27; 2 Kiddles, Llangwm, 1.12.04; 3 Tilly Whim, Aberporth, 1.12.35; Men – 1 Tonnau Glas, 2 Tilly Whim, 3 Ready Oar Knot, Wiseman’s Bridge, 1.16.16; Ladies – 1 Dyffryn, Aberporth, 1.12.54; 2 Angharad, Newport, 1.15.26; 3 Ta Keel A, PYC, 1.16.46; Mixed – 1 Kiddles, Llangwm, 1.12.04; 2 Double Dragon, Mumbles, 1.15.56; 3 Ysbryd Aeron, Aberaeron, 1.18.07.
Want to have a go at rowing?
The rowing season runs from March to October, and every Thursday during the season newcomers are welcome at the club night rowing from Trinity Quay, Solva, at 6 pm. Your first two rows are free. You can start rowing at any age, from 14 upwards, as long as you have a reasonable fitness level. Rowing is a great form of physical exercise and you choose the level you want to row. The club operates from a club room in Kelvins shed on the quay itself. The postcode is SA62 6UQ.
More information at www.solvarowingclub.co.uk or on social media @solvarowingclub
See the WSR fixtures page for details of this year’s event.