2009 Irish Slalom Series

August 15th and 16th saw the Irish Slalom Series travel to Co.Cork for Round 5 of what has been a fantastic year so far. With wind at every event this year Cork would prove no different. Saturday morning dawned with a fresh SW breeze.

The ISS team hit the road at 7am in search of the most suitable beach. With insufficient breeze in Coolmaine, the event was moved to GarryLucas. By 9am, local event organiser Pearse Geaney was kitting out the beach for the days racing.

With registration complete and the beach awash with colourful sails, competitors were summoned to the briefing. Many local sailors took the opportunity to enter there first event, while Gartan OEC’s John Boycee ensured Ireland’s top young sailors made the 9 hour trip from Downings.  Race officer, Greg Day explained the race course to the 51 strong fleet.

The gold fleet course was a 4 mark downwind course, while the silver fleet battled it out on a shorter course. The silver fleet aided by their gold fleet buddies kicked off the racing on the button at 11am.

Four back to back races were completed by both fleets in the morning session. The wind on the course varied from 12 to 18 knots. As a result the majority of the fleet were on their biggest kit. Local man Pearse Geaney took three bullets in the morning session. Notable performances were also seen from Maurice Owens, Fintan Day and Danny Mulryan. 

The short legs provided for some exciting action, with any mistakes resulting in quick punishment. Consistent gybes were a must for a top ten finish.  The silver fleet also saw some great racing. It was evident that certain members had been training hard since Downings.

Glen Worden led the silver fleet, however Paul Reid and Paul Green were hot on his heels.  Alison Beirne made her presence felt amongst the men by taking second place in race 4.

After a tough morning session on the water competitors were rewarded with tasty Cully & Sully soup and some tasty Ballymaloe relish topped bread. While competitors enjoyed the break, Greg was quickly back out on the water adjusting the course to the shifting breeze.

Several more races were completed in the afternoon session. The inconsistent winds caused several races to be abandoned. Some new faces were seen at the top of the silver fleet notably Martin Savage, Kevin Cunningham and Dave Minton. The more challenging winds saw Hannes Louett and Tom Slomski take some great results in the gold fleet.

Saturday evening saw the crew gather in Hamlets of Kinsale. A tasty BBQ was enjoyed by all. As the nite progressed Kinsale lived up to its reputation for good food and great nightlife. Sailors were then escorted by event organiser Pearse, to his local nite club Bacchus, where dodgy dancing in flowery shirts continued into the wee hours.

An early start on Sunday morning saw some tired heads. However racing started on the button once again. The sunshine and close racing provided much entertainment for the increasing crowd of intrigued spectators. Once again 2008 national champion Pearse Geaney was performing well.

However Sebastien Godsmark was making his presence felt in the gold fleet scoring two race wins. Danny Mulryan also took a race win, however it was Hannes Louett who sailing most consistently on Sunday. 

The youth category was hotly contested between Matt McNutt (U-20), Joseph Fletcher (U-17) and Ben McNutt (U-17), with Joseph taking home a Maui Sails Legend for his efforts, while Matt finished a credible 12th overall.  In the silver fleet Paul Reid took his first race win. Alison Beirne was once again scoring several top five finishes. While John Kileen, Brian Haig and Stephen Kelly sailed very well.

Cork has produced its fair share of Irish Champions over the years and it was great to see familiar faces returning to the racing circuit including Paddy Buckley, Daniel McCauley and Jeff Cochrane. The prize giving was held promptly on the beach.

All competitors were presented with a large van load of generous prizes from Bigsurf's suppliers: Mauisails, RRD, Quiksilver and Dakine. Paul Reid was awarded the Boards magazine subscription with a choice of DVD, while Cormac O'Brien was awarded a Guy Cribb intuition DVD to help polish the gybing skills.

A special prize of a Maui sails pursuit was given to Gildas Bechet for being the most motivated sailor of the weekend.

The final round of the 2009 Irish Slalom Series takes competitors to Silver Strand, Galway for what’s sure to be another cracking event.

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