2009 Irish Slalom Series at Downings

In the 26th Year of the competition over 130 competitors arrived on the beach of Sheephaven Bay to enjoy the fabulous conditions for safe sailing.

12 races were held over the 2 day event with a strong fleet of competitive sailors travelling from throughout Ireland, England and further a field.

This event is one of the best attended in the IWA calendar and included support from Tushingham Sails, IWA and Surfdoc.

Gold Fleet – competing in round 4 of the Irish Windsurfing Association Irish Slalom series

1st Overall Pierce Guiney – last years champion from Cork
2nd Overall Paul Simmons - England
3rd Overall Hannes Louet – Holland
1st Grand Master Chris Loughridge – Belfast
1st Lady Marie Buchanon – England
1st U20 boy Matthew McNutt – Downings
1st U20 girl Amy McBride – Downings
1st U17 Boy Joseph Fletcher – Belfast
1st U17 Girl Anna Bonnar – Downings
1st U14 boy John Fletcher – ( age 8 ) Belfast
1st U14 girl Rebecca Fletcher – Hillsborough

Silver Fleet

1st Overall Emmett Kelly
2nd Overall Matthew Toland
3rd Overall Jodie Hood

Events got under way early on Saturday morning with the Silver fleet of young and novice sailors racing a total of 12 races with a very competitive edge. Emmett and Rebecca lead the fleet well throughout the day. Other young sailors enjoying the conditions and smiling throughout the competition were Jessica Hood ( age 8 ) and young Conor Fletcher (age 10 ).

Sarah Bonnar from Downings had some great racing prior to suffering an injury at the finish line on Sunday. Another 4 races were held on Sunday with stronger winds and many tired but enthusiastic novice sailors competing for the array of great prizes. Racing for the first time this year, Sally Fletcher achieved her goal of completing the racing and also winning the Grandmaster category.

The Gold Fleet of experienced sailors competing for the Irish Slalom series title of Windsurfing Champions of Ireland sailed in Sheephaven Bay, with light winds on Saturday racing was slow. Sunday saw the winds gusting up to 30knots which lead the fleet to race in more challenging conditions.

Rescue boats were on hand for the few sailors who struggled in these conditions or damaged equipment. This was always going to be a tightly fought competition with some of the top sailors in Ireland including Maurice Owens sailing on his home territory, Danny Mulrine competing from Galway, Fintan Day from Dublin and lasts years champion Pierce Guiney.

The up and coming local junior sailors were displaying their talents on the water and demonstrating their potential to challenge the present champions, Ben McNutt, Eamon Kelly, Joseph Fletcher , Luke McBride and Dylan Boyce all put in fine performances and are the names to watch out for in future competitions.

The committee would like to thank all who helped to make this another successful event with special thanks and appreciation to Mulroy Cliff and Sea Rescue for their continued support. A big thank you also to all the other volunteers in rescue boats throughout the weekend.

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