Over the weekend of the 18th and 19th August 2007 the cream of Irish windsurfing talent descended on Downings, Co. Donegal, to compete for the coveted windsurfing Irish race titles.
The Race organisers, Gartan an outdoor activity centre in Donegal, headed up by John Boyce and Ciaran O’Brien.
The beautiful but safe setting of Downings with its drive on Beach and golden sands in the scenic Sheephaven bay in North Donegal is an ideal windsurfing location for the beginners and experienced sailors.
Gartan also have a summer camp on the beach with sailing and windsurfing kit for hire and more importantly lessons for all levels of ability. The camp runs over the summer months and has really encouraged the windsurfing in Downings over the last 5 years or so.
A total of 64 entrants contested the 11 National titles up for grabs.
There were three fleets Fleet 1 was the kids which were all under 12 including U10 and U8, which was a magnificent spectacle and some very frustrated sailors but also some extremely talented young kids as well.
Fleet 2 was the Junior/Youth fleet which were the serious racers U19, U17, U15 and U13 and then Fleet 3 the Pro fleet which included the masters and Seniors.
The wind on Saturday started to blow in just after11am and by 3.00pm was a fantastic 25knots from the North.
The kids had already had 5 races by 1.00pm and retired for the day.
The Junior and Youth fleet raced on in high winds and completed 6 races with strong competition emerging for the top spots.
The pro fleet had 2 course races set with upwind downwind. As the wind picked up it became too much for some of the lighter competitors and so after lunch the racing was changed to slalom. 6 slalom races were held over with 2 laps of a 1 mile course . ie 4 miles for each race. Strong competition with some excellent racing was enjoyed by all with some excellent dismounts especially by Aidan Breslin who took off in the first race with a perfect start but crashed out with 300m of the start. At this point Maurice Owens had taken the majority of the wins with the Old fart Nick Fletcher the only other winner, only managing to get ahead of Maurice in one race.
On Sunday the wind gods had a rest day with only light winds, how ever enough to get in a couple of course races for the pro fleet and complete 4 races in for the majority of the other fleets.
Prize giving was held on the Beach with a great atmosphere and lovely sunshine.
Results – Irish Champions 2007
Maurice Owens – Pro Fleet Senior
Nick Fletcher – Pro Fleet Master.
Cathy Loughridge -Lady Master
Jenny McCready – Lady
Mark Killeen -U19 Boys
Matt McNutt – U17boys
Amy McBride U17 girls
Joe Fletcher -U15 boys
Anna Bonner – U15 Girls
James Gribben – U13 boys
Sarah Bonner -U13 Girls