Irish Slalom Series 2008

. Fifty-two of Ireland’s top windsurfers made the journey west, to battle it out for the last remaining points towards the Irish Championships. Weather forecasts throughout the week predicted ideal conditions for an early start on Saturday morning. Competitors began to arrive at the event site from 8am. One hour later, Galway’s most popular windsurfing location was a wash with colourful sails. With all the competitors registered, the race and safety briefing completed, the 46 strong Gold Fleet made there way out onto Galway Bay for the start of race 1.


From the first start gun, it was clear that championship leader Pearse Geaney was the one to beat. Five, figure of eight, 2-mile races were quickly completed by the early afternoon. Nick Fletcher, Hannes Louet and Fintan Day all put in noticeable performances. However after race 5, Pearse Geaney already had four wins under his belt. In the younger categories Matthew McNutt was looking like the favourite to take the U-17 national title. Amy McBride and Ben McNutt were leading their respective categories. Local sailors Morgan Maguire, Nathan Regan, Sean Dillane and Fabian McGovern positioned well. The strong off shore breeze ensured competitors had to work extremely hard throughout the morning session. After race 5 competitors made their way back to the beach, which was quickly filling with curious spectators. The fleet refuelled with fresh pasta, provided by local company Magnetti Italian Foods and water from Galway Water.


The forecast for Sunday was not looking good. Event organisers decided to send the fleet back out into the bay in order to make use of the steady 20 knot off shore breeze. Another 5 action packed races were completed in quick succession. After 6 hours of intensive racing, the day’s action was called to a halt. Exhausted competitors were thrilled with the days racing.


The delayed start on Sunday morning allowed competitors to get some well-earned rest. The wind however also decided to take a break. The slack 5 knots breeze allowed the competitors complete some fun unranked racing adjacent to the promenade. Once again, a large crowd of spectators were impressed by the skill of Ireland’s top windsurfers. The good weather allowed for everyone to grab an early lunch. Prizes for the event kindly sponsored by Rusheen Bay Windsurfing and Tushingham Sails were awarded to the top sailors.


On Sunday evening, eight new National Windsurfing Championship Titles were awarded as follows. Pearse Geaney (Mens), Hannes Louet (Master), Terence Starett (Senior), Gavin Fox (U20), Mat McNutt (U17), Ben McNutt (U15), Ailbhe McDermott (Lady), Sue Honan (G Master Lady), Amy McBride (U17 Lady) and Anna Bonner (U15 Lady).


Local event organiser, Danny Mulryan was delighted with the success of the event. The event was supported by local companies; Magnetti Italian Foods, Galway Water, Rusheen Bay Windsurfing, Ciboodle, Logstrup and Gartan OEC.



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