Irish Slalom Series 2008 Round 1 – Fleadh Seoil, Malahide Co. Dublin
After several years rest, competitive racing made a comeback last weekend at the inaugural 2008 Fleadh Sheoil. With the assistance of Surfdock and DMG Sailsports, the event took place at the Broad Meadow Estuary in Malahide.
Thirty competitors signed up to commence battle for round 1 of the 2008 Irish Slalom Series. Over half of the entrants competed in the U-17 and U-14 age categories. With strong support from their parents, the Downing’s windsurfing team were out in force. A team minibus, equipment van and top notch on land support, ensured that the team would be present, when it came to Sunday evening’s prizegiving.
A new format to the Slalom Series events was put into practise for the Saturday morning session. Each Silver Fleet sailor was paired off with a Gold Fleet buddy for the event. Buddies assisted with equipment setup and introduced the racing format to their newly assigned prodigies. Once settled in, several fun practise races were run for the Silver Fleet competitors. An increasing breeze brought out the competitive streak in the fleet and it was decided to run some full races before lunch.
In the first two races a steady 20 knots of wind, allowed the fleet to wipe the cobwebs of their smaller boards. The Downings team dominated races one to three. Matthew McNutt, Joseph Fletcher and Ben McNutt shared the podium positions. Anna Bonner and Amy McBride both performed well against in the ladies fleet, with Amy taking podium position. The Gold and Silver Fleet each completed two races, followed by a break. This new format allowed all competitors time to relax and enjoy the racing. The bronze fleet saw some of the most competitive racing. Sarah Bonnor, John Fletcher and Rebecca Fletcher completed six races. Sarah took first place followed closely by Rebecca and John.
The second round of racing for the top two fleets, saw a major improvement. Sean Dilane, Eamonn Kelly and Luke McBride sailed two great races. Mat May, Dylan Boyce, Dave Minton and Barry Whitelaw showed that they will ones to watch for the upcoming events. The Gold Fleet successfully completed five races in the strong breeze. Pearse Geaney took top honours followed by other familiar names such as Maurice Owens, Nick Fletcher and Danny Mulryan. Aidan Breslin, Neil Sandes and James Knipe put in other notable performances. After 5 hours of on the water action the first day of racing was called to a halt.
Unfortunately Sunday failed to provide enough wind before lunch. The gold fleet provided two hours of coaching and fun racing. Event organiser Fintan Day rewarded the top sailors in each fleet with some great prizes. The May bank holiday weekend displayed the increasing interest in Slalom from all levels. Judging by the fun, relaxed learning environment facilitated by these events, the next 4 events should be considered by all levels of windsurfers.
A big thank you to Dave & Cora Garvey from DMG Sailsports, Alan from Surfdock.ie, Malahide Yacht Club, Fintan Day, the Downings support crew, Mrs. Owens, Patrick Kavanagh from plugandplaywatersports.com and everyone else who played a part in making round 1 of the Irish Slalom Series a success.
Jamie Knox Watersports will host the next round of the series on June 7th and 8th in Castlegregory, Co.Kerry. Keep your eyes peeled on the windsurfireland e-groups for more information.
Event pictures @ http://picasaweb.google.com/IrishSlalomSeries
For more information on the series contact: IrishSlalomSeries@Gmail.com
See you all on the water soon.
The Irish Slalom Series Team
1. Pearse Geaney
2. Maurice Owens
3. Danny Mulryan
1. Matthew McNutt
2. Joe Fletcher
3. Chris Fletcher
1. Amy Mc Bride
2. Anna Bonner
1. Matthew McNutt
2. Sean Dilane
3. Eamon Kelly
1. Ben McNutt
2. Luke McBride
3. Dylan Boyce
1. Sarah Bonnor
2. Rebecca Fletcher
3. John Fletcher