- 31 May 2011 | Windsurfing
Top windsurfing races were displayed in Castlegregory for the second round of the 2011 Irish Slalom Series. Fifty competitors showed up for two days of incredible winds and two fleets: Gold and Silver.
In the first day, consistent 25 knots and gusts up to 35 knots. Small slalom and wave gear were being rigged down to 5m. Jamie Knox set the initial "figure of 8" course for both fleets. A boxing match would not have seen so much carnage and entertainment. However, the quality of racing was second to none with some of Ireland's best talent on show.
The level of sailing in the Silver Fleet was fantastic. It's extremely difficult to distinguish one sailor over another as the racing was so competitive. Cormac Daly deservedly won out over the weekend with consistent finishes but was run close by Kevin McGuinness, Ed O'Connor and Alan White.
It was great to see Robert Polak back again and improving his performances. James Kelly and Ian Deacan were on each others shoulders and between them have to have the fastest gybe entry out of either fleets. The racing got so competitive half way through Saturday that Paul Ryner chose not to stop until he ran out of water.
With winds shifting throughout both Saturday and Sunday the racing format changed from 'figure of 8' to 'down wind slalom'. Every time down wind racing is mentioned 'Glen Worden' was witnessed smiling but the course suited others as well.
A veteran of Irish Slalom sailing Paul Reid racked up his highest finish with a 2nd place finish on Saturday afternoon. Other sailors enjoying the high wind down wind course was Kevin Cunningham and Aidan Granfield. Nick Fletcher travelled all the way from Belfast to win two races, enjoy a great days sailing and then returned home! Easier for some than others!
Some of the best racing seen in years was done near the top of the fleet with Maurice Owens, Hannes Louet, William Revels and Cormac O'Brien fighting it out all weekend. Maurice walked away with a deserved top spot. Some of the GPS replays showing a particularly comical incident with a fishing line, Maurice and Cormac O'Brien.
The potential of Barry Whitelaw this weekend was seen from the beach and a number of well orchestrated 'accidents' dropped him a few points. Finishing seventh overall put a smile back on his face though. The Master Blast took the Silver and Gold Fleet out the back to mast high rolling swell. Newtonards is the next event in June.