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    We may have the chance to do some sailing on the west Wales coast this year, possibly out of Barmouth. We know the Pwllheli / Abersoch / Aberdaron stretch well from our cat sailing days, but if anyone has any recommendations relating to the Aberystwyth / Aberdovey / Barmouth / Porthmadoc areas in terms of launch points, stopping points etc it would be much appreciated. It will be mainly family trips so any good sandy beach recommendations would be particularly welcome!


    Bob Harland

    Launching out of Barmouth or Aberdovey is possible for day sailing – but parking is limited. The relevant sailing clubs maybe able to help.
    Tides in both estuaries are strong – springs can be particularly ferocious. Plenty of sailing around HW, very limited at LW. An exploration up river is worthwhile – though challenging to follow the channel.
    Both entrances can be extremely difficult in onshore winds and ebb tide.

    We have sailed out of Aberystwyth, launching at the marina slip – easy parking. Access from about half tide. There is a very nice easy sail north to Aberdovey. But the middle part of Cardigan has no shelter and often seems to have extremes of wind. On the plus side when winds are light Aberystwyth Bay always seems to have enough breeze for a sail, when everywhere else is flat calm.
    In contrast the mountains around Barmouth have a strong funneling effect, and the wind can be much stronger in its approaches.

    Porthmadoc offers a big sailing area around HW, Portmeirion is a delight and lots of sand.

    All these places can be difficult to get in or out if the weather and/or tide is wrong.
    The big advantage with Pwllheli is easy launching, parking and an all weather all tide entrance. Generally the sailing in the north of Cardigan Bay is the most sheltered . Good options to sail West to Abersoch, east to Criccieth, Porthmadoc, Shell Island (Mochras lagoon) and Barmouth.
    We launch at the harbourmaster’s slip, which in recent years has been free. Weekend launching in season usually busy. Last year we even got a free night at the marina.

    hope that helps


    Thanks for the information – much appreciated – hopefully look forward to checking out some new waters this year.

    Fully agree re launching at Pwllheli. We headed over there a few years ago on the back of a perfect forecast of light winds and fair weather set for a few days, but never got further than the marina as the wind was far too strong to get out of the harbour – never managed to get a free night on the marina though!


    Dave Barker

    Realising this is an old-ish thread, I can recommend Aberdovey for sandy beaches, but it’s not easy to launch/park/keep your boat & trailer there. Although the Dovey Yacht Club offers temporary membership, this is quite expensive, at least in my experience and opinion. (There is no figure quoted on the DYC website at the time of writing, but I think it was around £65 for a week a few years ago).

    There’s a fair chance that we will be going back there on holiday this year, almost certainly with the boat, so we’ll either obtain more current information to report here, or find somewhere else to base ourselves this time around.

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