Downings 2007 Windsurfing Fun Event raising funds for the RNLI

83 entrants descended on Downings, North Donegal over the weekend of 14th and 15th July 2007 for this ever increasing in popularity windsurfing event, Downings 2007.

The picturesque Downings bay was filled with happy smiling faces as the sun and wind gods produced another fantastic weekend. When every where else were experienced unusual weather patterns Downings had two sunny windy days as usual.

The racing was very competitive with 4 reigning Irish Champions amongst the Fleets with 33 Novice Fleet, 41 Fun Fleet and 9 Gold Fleet entrants.

The event kicked off with a master blaster with all competitors taking to the water at the same time which was a fantastic sight for all the spectators.

As you can see from the results this was a truly family affair with the adults mixed with some of the more competent kids in the Fun Fleet and the kids racing in the Novice fleet.

Gold Fleet

The Gold fleet completed 4 slalom and 3 course races over the weekend which were highly competitive but the eventual winner was reigning Irish Course racing Champion Maurice Owens with Finton Day and Danny Mulryan coming in a close second and third place respectively.

Fun Fleet

The fun fleet completed 10 races which were very hotly contested but the guys with the big sails ended up winning due to the marginal wind conditions. Mike Fidling from the UK won the event closely followed by the old guy from Downings Peter McNutt who still has some strength and talent left and in third place was the ever present James Knipes. Both Peter and James are previous winners of this event but they were out gunned by Mike.

Also worth noting in the Fun fleet the under 15 racing was great between Matt McNutt (5th Overall), Joseph Fletcher (6th Overall) and Mark Gribben (15th Overall). With Matt beating Joseph in the final race to give Matt the honours by only 0.3 points.

Other results:

1st Grand Master - Richard Harshaw,

1st Senior- Greg Day

1st Lady- Jenny Carroll,

1st Man -Aidan Breslin

1st Master - Richard Burke.

1st U19 – Scott Caruth

The best improved sailor in the fun fleet went to Ben McNutt who at only 13 did well to 12th overall in such a strong fleet.

Novice Fleet

The Novices were coached and trained by John Boyce of Gartan over the weekend. Due to the high numbers John split the fleet into two with a 9 strong under 10 years of age fleet and 24 strong over 10 fleet.

A total of 11 races were completed with a magnificent display of determination by many of the young and old competitors with particular note was the under 8 boys winner Conor Fletcher who only really took up the sport this year was able to complete the course and Under 8 girls winner Rebecca McNutt who was gutsy and keen in every race just beating Chloe Hood, Jessica Hood and Niobha McGinty. Under 10 boys winner Timothy Burke who was super and under 10 girls winner Sophie Fletcher.

The overall fleet was won convincingly by Emmet Kelly with Michael Backus second and Anna Bonner showing great determination to come through in third place.

Under 12 girl winner was Rebecca Fletcher who narrowly beat Sarah Bonner Jody Hood and Toraigh.

1st U12 boy went to James Gribben closely followed by Michael Kelly and Matthew Toland

1st Master – Jonney Moore

1st Grand Master – Gerry McAteer

1st U19 – Ciaron Conlon

1st Lady – Siobhan Toland.

Last Master – James Conlon

A Special mention for the two youngest competitors Jessica Hood and John Paddy Fletcher both 6 years of Age who completed every race sometimes in very difficult wind conditions for 6 year olds.

Thanks to generous sponsorship the team were able to give fantastic prizes and donate over €1000 to the RNLI.

Race organiser, Nick Fletcher also was able to give valuable airtime to windsurfing with a 5 minute interview on the Highland radio on Sunday after the racing.