Crews came from both near and far to compete in an eight-mile rowing race round a spectacular nature reserve, with sightings of seabirds, seals and porpoises to ease their aching muscles.

The Ramsey Island Rowing Challenge can be staged only when suitable weather and tides converge.

This year 24 boats took part, including 20 Celtic Longboat crews and four single rowers, with some competitors coming from 150 miles away to compete.

Despite early grey skies and rain showers, the crews remained enthusiastic and were rewarded with sunshine and a refreshing breeze by the launch time in the afternoon.

Supporters were rewarded with a spectacular sight at the Whitesands start line. Finishing in the same area, al 24 boats completed the course in under 1hr 28 minutes.

First home was Tim Fenemore in his surf ski in just over 62 minutes. The first longboat home – and taking the Ramsey Challenge Trophy - was Llangwm Longboats mixed supervets crew, a little over a minute later.

Other certificates for class winners went to crews from Aberystwyth, Clevedon, St Dogmaels, Solva, Barry, PYC, Aberaeron, and Mumbles.

The winning ladies crew, Merched y Mor from Solva, who are training to row the Atlantic next year.

Despite some hairy moments launching and recovering through the surf, there were smiles all round at the end of the day.

The challenge race is organised by Solva Rowing and Watersports Club Club chairman Steve Probert said: “Without the help of so many people, we would not have been able to host this challenge race.

"Local boat owners volunteered their time to help with safety and running the race, RNLI Lifeguards at Whitesands beach kept surfers and rowers well apart in the bay, and RNLI lifeboat crew who watched over the race during their exercise day.

“Thanks also to all Solva Rowing club members for stepping up and working together to make the event such a success. Seeing the smiles on the rowers' faces after completing the event makes it all worthwhile.”