Mawddach Estuary

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Simongelder
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Mawddach Estuary

Post by Simongelder » Tue Jun 14, 2016 8:24 am

Intending to do the Mawddach Marathon at the end of June. Reading the event info it warns of need to expect choppy wind over tide conditions when paddling out of the estuary on the ebb. This is at the narrows near Barmouth. It says self rescue skills are essential.

I will be doing the race in a Nordkapp but certainly can't self rescue after a wet exit due to ocean cockpit and stability of boat. My roll is strong although need to test it in this boat.

Is anyone familiar with this estuary and what conditions could be expected in typical conditions eg westerly force 4?

Thanks

Phizz4
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Re: Mawddach Estuary

Post by Phizz4 » Wed Jun 15, 2016 10:39 am

As no one has replied to your post I will offer my, very limited, experience. I paddled down the estuary in a force 3/4 westerly and didn't have any problems around the bridge. We went under as close to the south shore as possible. We were able to paddle around the headland and onto Fairbourne beach where there was dumping surf, which gave us an hours fun. I don't have a roll and did not feel intimidated by the narrows. Read into that what you may.

john.ruston
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Re: Mawddach Estuary

Post by john.ruston » Wed Jun 15, 2016 3:07 pm

This entrance has changed since I was a local.
Railway viaduct - if you have a choice you may be better using the main channel (with its wider passage) under the swing bridge. Water can pile up around the wooden bridge trestles at the southern end and can get somewhat turbulent.


If the race finish is on Barmouth Prom ... would mean a right hand turn on exit the breakwater ...
There used to be an extensive sand bar on the north seaward side of the entrance - the shallows breaking the waves for some distance west. Most days one can punch through it all. A solid roll - is good enough self rescue ??

I think your main problem will be stranding/aground so beware the myriad drying banks between Penmaenpool and the Viaduct. All cover at local HW. IMO best strategy is "Head down and go for it !"

The Mawddach Race used to involve humping a bale of wool from Dolgellau - not the same anymore ??
John (ex-Harlech).

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Re: Mawddach Estuary

Post by Simongelder » Wed Jun 15, 2016 5:06 pm

These are really helpful responses!
Thanks
Simon

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Re: Mawddach Estuary

Post by Simongelder » Sun Jun 26, 2016 11:26 pm

Paddled the race today. A stiff, gusty westerly force 5 gave choppy conditions in the estuary (heavy rain added to the fun). Barmouth harbour to Penmaenpool and back in about 2 hours. No problems with running aground but we were piloted by a sea rowing boat going ahead of us. Very choppy for racing on return leg. I could see the difference in handling between my Nordkapp and a Taran just in front of me. My ride was a lot wetter. Very strong current running under the swing bridge section of the railway bridge on the ebb with eddy lines and boils plus swell to wake you up before the finish. I am sure this would be a great paddle in calmer conditions and when in less of a hurry.

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Re: Mawddach Estuary

Post by Bards » Fri Jul 01, 2016 10:58 pm

Sorry if stating the obvious, but in a tippy ocean cockpit boat (I'm a sucker for them too...) re-enter and roll is waaaay more possible than cowboy re-entry. Personally I find it easier in ocean cockpits as once you're in, you're in, and can even fit deck before rolling so less faffing without paddle and less flooding. Need to make ocean cockpits an advantage when possible; apologies, that has nothing to do with the Mawddach :-)

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Re: Mawddach Estuary

Post by john.ruston » Mon Jul 04, 2016 6:03 pm

Just found this postcard view of the lower part of the estuary - its taken around local low water.

Image
Lots of sand out there.
Thanks for the report Simon. John.

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