Bantry: no wind, no glory

Fourty three windsurfers have kicked off the 2011 Irish Windsurfing Slalom Series in great style, at Bantry Bay, County Cork. Sailors traveled from Ireland, Scotland and all over UK, despite the difficult weather conditions.

The Gold and Silver fleets were ready to compete. Cormac Daly was one of the first on the water showing his ability to get planing early in light winds on his new racing kit. Another sailor with new sails in the Silver fleet and looking for success this year was Paul Green.

One of the standouts for the weekend and new ISS competitor was Fian McCabe. Fian was one of the youngest competitors attending Bantry, but showed some great technique and ability to get going fast. He’ll be one to watch because when he wasn’t on the water, which was rare, he was soaking up tips from some of the best sailors in the series.

Paul Rayner is also back at the ISS events. Unfortunately the wind did not deliver for official racing. A number of starts were called by OD Greg Day, but the 12 knot wind minimum was not consistent enough.

This was incredibly frustrating for both Gold and Silver fleet as the wind direction and speed needs to be perfect for Slalom racing to take place. Nobody was more disappointed than Greg Day, who again volunteered his help for the duration of the weekend.

Just before Saturday lunch, the wind did pick up and two fun races were quickly organised which saw the entire fleet of 43 sailors planing towards the gybe mark. It was a fantastic spectacle for spectators and the local people of Bantry to see all these windsurfers planing across Bantry Bay.

Barry ‘the Bat’ Whitelaw was in good form and ‘allegedly’ crossed the line in first place The stewards enquiry is still ongoing! Neil Sandes was as usual looking as overpowered as possible going into the gybe mark.

With zero wind on Sunday, a lot was learned from ISS Champion Pearse Geaney who hosted a rigging demonstration. New manoeuvres were also put into practice. The ISS is claiming a new technical start line manoeuvre dangerously titled ‘the Maurice Manoeuvre’.