Our 1680 miles of beautiful coast and lakes pooled in gorgeous hills are both good reasons to learn the ropes in Wales. But so too is that our quieter seas mean the friendliest sailors in Britain.
Abersoch, Llŷn Peninsula
A cradle of British sailing which has nurtured talents such as Olympic medallists Ben Ainsley and Hannah Mills. Not that you need to know the ropes to sail here. Minimal tides and calm seas behind the Llŷn Peninsula mean north Cardigan Bay is ideal for beginners as much as the experts who revel in boisterous conditions offshore. No one needs a sailing qualification to appreciate Snowdonia's peaks spread across the horizon.
Llyn Tegid, Gwynedd
Reservoirs such as Llandegfedd near Newport or Llangorse in the Brecon Beacons offer calm safe conditions for learners. But if sailing for you is also about a sense of freedom, the largest natural lake in Wales is your destination. At a mile wide, Llyn Tegid (Bala Lake) is broad enough to pick up speed in prevailing south west winds. And four miles downwind is a lovely drift to enjoy the scenery of Snowdonia National Park.
Milford Haven Waterway
Lord Nelson called it “the finest port in Christendom”. We say the Milford Haven waterway and Daugleddau estuary is three sailing venues in one. Within, it provides sheltered water and 200 miles of coastline scalloped into bays and wooded creeks. At its mouth are complex wind and tidal conditions to tease experienced sailors. And in calm conditions a short sail around the corner reveals the spectacular cliffs of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path.
New Quay, Ceredigon
No wonder New Quay has hosted Cardigan Bay Regatta since 1870. Its headland hooks into Cardigan Bay, providing shelter from prevailing south west winds yet open sea within a mile – ideal conditions for beginners in simple dinghies on flat water as much as experienced sailors to hoist a spinnaker and blast over waves. Either might be joined by one of the only resident bottlenose dolphin pods in Britain.
Swansea and Gower Peninsula
What Swansea loses in scenery compared to other Welsh sailing venues it makes up in convenience. Two hours from the Midlands is testing dinghy sailing in Mumbles Bay. Just around the corner is the Gower peninsula. If there is a better way to discover Britain’s first area of Outstanding Natural Beauty than a dinghy off Oxwich Bay or a yacht for the weekend.