Lucky Rebecca Fletcher wins Boards Prize
2006 National Junior Championships, August 2006
Rusheen Bay Windsurfing Centre, Galway, hosted the 2006 National Junior Windsurfing Championships on 12th and 13th August. Light winds did not prevent a most competitive weekend’s racing with the competitive racing skills of the visitors from Downings very much to the fore.
Northerly winds are the least favourable in the magnificent setting of Rusheen Bay on the edge of Galway city. The gusts and wind shifts, however, provided an excellent challenge for the thirty three young windsurfers taking to the water for the 2006 National Junior Championships. The first event since the launch of the Irish Windsurfing Associations strategy for Olympics 2012, this was the beginning of the IWA’s campaign to encourage young windsurfers to enter the Olympic pathway. With the youngsters limited to the Olympic Pathway sail sizes for the three age groups and trying out the new Bic Sport Techno T293, the pathway board for racers under 17 years, the young talent on the water would certainly auger well for the future.
The flat waters of Rusheen Bay have produced a cluster of young Freestyle enthusiasts from its hugely popular club in recent years with the result that visitors took away most of the “silverware” in the racing discipline. Six youngsters made the journey from Downings, Co Donegal, under the watchful eye of mentor Nick Fletcher. Coming from the breeding ground that made young Maurice Owens National Racing Champion at 19 years, one should not be surprised at the level of racing skills displayed by the youngsters. Each of the six took home silverware!
In the senior fleet, Mark Killeen from Cratloe, Co Clare, but no stranger to Galway, was pushed hard by fellow Wave and Freestyle enthusiast Mikey Clancy from Dublin. Possibly benefiting from his experience in the Bic Techno Junior Racing Series, Mark took the Under 17 Champion title with six wins from eight races. Mikey was second with local youngster Gavin Fox taking third after some very close battles with fellow Rusheen sailor Cathal Hanrahan.
Matthew Mc Nutt from Downings, with five wins from seven races, was crowned Under 15 Champion. Nathan Regan from the Rusheen Club was close behind Matthew in most of the races and took second place. Paul D’eath, also from the local club, took third. Fiona O Keefe “mixed” it well in the Under 15 Gold Fleet to take the Under 15 Girl Champion title for Rusheen Bay.
Young Joseph Fletcher dominated the Under 13 Fleet with six “bullets” from the seven starts for this fleet. Mark Gribben, also from Downings, took second in six races and second place overall. The “clean sweep” of the Under 13 Fleet was completed by Luke Mc Bride, third place, and Rebecca Fletcher, First Girl, taking trophies back to the North West!
At the prize-giving, Cathal Kavanagh, of Rusheen Bay Windsurfing Centre, President of the IWA, thanked all the competitors and their parents, particularly those who had travelled such long distances, for making the event such a success.
He thanked Boards Magazine for their raffle prize of a year’s subscription to the magazine (won by Rebecca Fletcher) and The Bag Shop for their three gift vouchers presented as raffle prizes. Cathal also thanked Magnettipasta.com for providing the lunches.
Many thanks to Michael Clancy (Senior) for the excellent photographs – See Mikey’s website.
Under 17 Gold Fleet
Mark Killeen National Champion, U/17
Mikey Clancy Second
Gavin Fox Third
Under 15 Gold Fleet
Matthew Mc Nutt National Champion, U/15
Nathan Regan Second
Paul D’eath Third
Fiona O Keefe Girl Champion
Under 13 Gold Fleet
Joseph Fletcher National Champion, U/13
Mark Gribben Second
Luke Mc Bride Third
Rebecca Fletcher Girl Champion
Under 17 Silver Fleet
Joseph Geoghegan 1st
Ivor Geoghegan 2nd
Under 15 Silver Fleet
Sitric O Cinnede 1st
Nathan Caffola 2nd
Hilary Coyle First Girl
James O Donnell 3rd