Around the world...from Aberaeron!
One of our members, Dafydd Hughes, is currently preparing for a trip of a life time! Along with his boat Bendigedig, in 2023 he intends to take part in the Global Solo Challenge 2023/24, a solo non-stop circumnavigation of the globe.
Before his departure, he had a lot of work to do to. Bendigedig needed a full refit in a barn near Aberaeron following 17 years on dry land. Bendigedig is an S&S 34, or to give the full name, a Sparkman and Stephens 34 designed by one of the greatest ever yacht designers, Olin Stephens. The fit-out was tailored specifically for a solo circumnavigation. Dafydd started this restoration of the yacht at the beginning of 2021, and launched it in Aberaeron harbour May 2022.
From Tal-y-Bont in Ceredigion, Dafydd is 61 years old and is a retired chartered engineer, having spent his career working in oil and gas construction. He was a late starter in the sailing world only being introduced to it in 2003. He went out on a Sunday afternoon, and by the following Friday he had bought a yacht and it was outside AYC in the carpark! He has since become a RYA Yachtmaster and has clocked up an impressive 50,000+ nautical miles.
Dafydd will be fundraising for a local charity whilst sailing, namely Coed Wales (Small Woods Wales) who help to improve the health and wellbeing of people across Wales though woodland and nature based activities. All of us at Aberaeron Yacht Club wish Dafydd all the best for the race!
Dafydd's website: bendigedig.net
Facebook: Bendigedig Sailing
Instagram: bendigedig.sailing (@bendigedig)
15th October 2023: I’m very proud to represent Aberaeron Yacht and Watersports Club in the Global Solo Challenge. It is the only yacht club that I have been a member of and have its name displayed on the transom of Bendigedig. It is a truly amazing club with a bunch of equally amazing members. The club was formed on the 4th March 1961, by six like minded men, Fred Moulton, Danny Thomas, Ieuan Evans, Reg Morris, Vincent Davies and our current President Lloyd Thomas, brought the first meeting of the Aberaeron Regatta and Boating Club to order in the lounge bar of the Monachty Arms Hotel. The AYC currently has about 300 members and owns the property that it operates as its club house. This property, is a fine piece of real estate, that sits right on the harbour mouth of the river Aeron. Many a dark and stormy has been downed at the bar whilst debating the start line antics of the morning’s race. I would like thank the committee, all the members and friends of AYC, who have backed my campaign to get to the start of the Global Solo Challenge since day one. Cheers Daf 31st August 2023: "Hi everyone at AYC, I finally slipped lines on Sat 26th Aug at 14h20 Spanish time, 10 mins early 😊 I was followed out to the start line by Jo and the kids in a RIB and others on jet skis. Got off to good start, I think the wind Gods have been good to me. The AYC Burgee is flying on the shroud, should be suitable in tatters by the time I get back. I also left one with Chunny at the A Coruna marina. Chunny is a legend in the sailing world 7 times Volvo campaigner winning once, second twice and third twice. Thanks for your unwavering support and assistance to get to the start line. Dafydd" 4th August 2023: What a truly amazing 'bon voyage' event for Dafydd Hughes and Bendigedig at the club last night, a wonderful turn out wanting to say goodbye and good luck. 55 people had signed up to do the Global Solo Challenge in 2023, 36 have already retired pre-race, so only 19 set to start. Dafydd sailing down to the race start in Spain very soon, and starting the race on 26th August. Dafydd is not only the only Welsh person racing, he's the only person representing the UK! So to have one of our members, sailing under the Aberaeron Yacht Club flag is quite something. Dafydd was presented 3 AYC burgee flags by our Commodore Steve. 1 for him to keep, 1 for him to take around the world with him and bring back to AYC so we can display it, and one to give to a YC enroute. Dafydd was also presented with a Welsh flag from the AYC junior members, many of whom had signed it. He will be taking that with him too, and they'll be tracking his journey around the world. POB LWC / GOOD LUCK DAFYDD!! https://globalsolochallenge.com/entries-list/ June 2023: Can you support Dafydd by joining his Ton Up Club? By doing so you'll have the opportunity to help him achieve his goal whilst getting your name, picture, company logo, and message emblazoned on the side of the boat. You could even gift the opportunity to someone else, or do it memory of a former sailor maybe? Donation amounts are up to you. Below is a template for the message. For full details on how it works and to sign up, visit Ton Up Club - Bendigedig Sailing February 2023: Phase I closed out last year, in October, when Bendigedig was lifted “onto the hard ” at Aberystwyth Marina. After 20 months of planning, design, procurement, installation, testing and commissioning Bendigedig performed like the star she is during sea trials. We covered over 3,500 nm together and were both tested in some fruity conditions, light airs and of course perfect reaching conditions. The best memory of the summer was winning the Prince of Wales Cup at Cork Week, which to be perfectly honest was a truly remarkable achievement and has to be said upset the local sailors at the Royal Cork Yacht Club. Once the last mince pie was munched, washed down with the dregs of the port, Phase II kicked in. I have a long list, big and small jobs to get Bendigedig and myself as ready as we can be for 13h00, August 26th, on the start line in A Coruña. Which of course is the beginning of Phase III. Sir Robin Knok Johnston’s words of wisdom are ringing loud in my ears *”getting your boat, ready, funded and fully prepared is far harder than the actual sailing part”* You guys out there can help me with Phase II with your continued support, interest and words of encouragement. Believe me, a few words of support go a long way, especially if I’ve been cutting and sanding plywood all day. Some of the big ticket items for Phase II are listed below. My budget is without doubt extremely tight, therefore, any help you can offer in sourcing these items would be very much appreciated. Let’s get creative here. Do you have contacts at suppliers/companies prepared to give me a hefty discount? Can anyone supply on a loan basis? Adopt a piece of kit? Balance of Entry Fee - £6,000 Freeze Dried Food - £2,000 Wind Turbine - £900 Lithium Iron Phosphate Battery - £1,000 Secondary Pilot - £800 Comms Hardware - £2,000 Comms during the race - £3,000 Active Echo - £650 Fuel - £600 Marina and Accom - £3,000 Safety Courses - £600 Medical Kit - £500 Other items I could do with help with are, social media, filming and editing short videos, website content and editing, boat graphics design and layout, communication with sponsors. I’d like to say a massive thanks to all my sponsors to date, I’m looking forward to working with you all and more so sharing this adventure with you. November 2022: With Bendigedig out of the water now it’s time for some on shore testing. Today Thai Green Chicken Curry kindly gifted by @expeditionfoods High calorie, large portion size and very delicious! Definitely a 10/10. I expect, excluding breakfast, around 50% of my food will be freeze dried, definitely needed in the southern ocean. July 2022: Dafydd entered his Yacht Bendigedig in the Classic Class at this year's Volvo Cork Week Regatta, Dafydd came 3rd overall after the weeks event and was the first recipient to receive the Prince Charles Trophy, which was Donated to the Royal Cork Yacht Club in 2020 by his Royal Highness Prince of Wales, on the Anniversary of their 300 years. April 2022: It’s just over a year since I arrived here at Jonathan and Barbara’s to start a major refit on “Bendigedig”. I thought I had plenty of time to get her ready and back in the water within a year. Well, I’m nearly there and the relaunch date has been set for the 15th May. There are still hurdles to cross, mast, sails, complete the electronics and get the anti-foul on; however I’m totally confident that we will make the date. My optimism is driven by the support and assistance I have received to date. In a word, amazing, and of course thank-you. With the exception of the hull, keel and deck structure everything else on Bendigedig is either new or refurbished and refitted. The internal layout is now completely different to your normal S&S 34 and she has been set-up to face the adventure ahead, a solo circumnavigation, departing in Sept 2023. Bendigedig will leave her “home”, of the last 15 or 16 years, Blaenwaun Fawr, and head to Aberaeron Harbour a few days before 15th May and be on a hard standing near the Yacht Club. During this time the mast will be fitted and all final tests on the systems carried out. Following launch, unfortunately, I will not be able to berth at Aberaeron. My plan is to go sailing as much as possible. I have a qualifier to complete 2,000nm solo on a pre-agreed route. Also I would like to either enter or shadow events such as the RB&I, Cowes Classic Week, Cork Week, Largs Regatta, complete a few passages and of course just get out there and enjoy her. If anyone is interested in crewing please contact me for opportunities. Thanks, Dafydd.