Conway Ones

Conwy’s own sailing boat – The Conway One Design (COD)

  • Conway One Designs or CODs as they are affectionately called were built specifically to race in the waters of Conwy Bay. The COD was designed by Mr WH Rowlands, and the first boat was built in 1928, in the yard of Matthew Owen in Menai Bridge.
  • The boat has a fixed keel which is well suited to the often choppy waters of Conwy. This allowed the boats to sail closer to the wind in the narrow mouth of the river. It was said that the design of the keel was well ahead of its time, being placed towards the rear of the boats.
  • Sailing ability in the local conditions is further helped by the short bluff bow which is able to punch through the choppy seas thrown up by the mixed forces of the wind, river current and tide.
  • The boat performed well in local Regattas and by 1929 a further six boats had been commisioned.
  • In all 16 boats were built to the design of Mr W H Rowlands but sail numbers go up to 18, sail numbers 3 and 13 not being used as they were regarded as unlucky.  See the whole COD fleet here
  • All of these boats had been built in local yards: Williams & Partington and Rileys in Deganwy, Dickies in Bangor and Morris & Leavet in Beaumaris. Unfortunately, most of these boatyards have now disappeared along with the boatbuilding skills. Because of the resulting high cost of building a wooden COD and the high maintenance cost of them the CYC sponsored a project to build CODs using moulded GRP (Glass Reinforced Plastic) and two were built in 1988/9 in the yard of Eric Bergquist at the Ferry Boatyard, Penketh.
  • All sixteen boats still exist. By the time of the Centenary of the CYC, quite a few of the wooden boats had fallen into a state of disrepair and some were very close to being scrapped. A project was set up (COD Centenary Project) to rescue and restore these and get all the CODs sailing again.
  • Thanks to the dedication of an intrepid band of volunteers led by Vic Edwards, the COD Centenary Project has been extremely successful and we have seen the re-launch of:-
    • COD no. 8 Gwalch *
    • COD no. 4 Kandahar
    • COD no. 6 Kathleen
    • COD no. 5 Cymba
    • COD no. 7 Blue Bird
  • Two of these have been sold to private owners and three are available for hire
    • – see more on our Welcome Aboard page
    • – see here for information on how to hire a COD
  • As of 2024 there are 14 CODs in seaworthy condition. The fleet has been a colourful part of the Conwy Estuary for over 80 years and dedicated owners and the Centenary Project have ensured the fleets survival.

* The illustrated story of the restoration of Number 8 “Gwalch” was documented in the “CODBLOG” item on this website.

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