DOWNINGS EVENT - BIGGEST AND BEST

The IWA National Racing Competition event held in Downings, Co. Donegal, was

the largest, and arguably the best, event of the Irish Calendar. No other event

can boast over seventy entrants from ALL age groups - surely this is the model

for the IWA for the future. The enduring memory of the weekend must be over

FORTY windsurfers, ranging in ages from SIX to Something, crossing the start

line for the Novice / Fun Fleet races. Of the 23 in the Novice Fleet, two were

under six years and a total of six under ten years of age! Is a good bet that

there is a champion of the not too distant future in that group?

Once again, Nick Fletcher and his hard working committee provided excellent

organisation and, more importantly, a real welcome to all comers! Even the sun

came out to welcome the visitors to the beautiful location! "All hands

on deck" to feed the multitudes on the beach!

The light winds were a little disappointing for the Gold Fleet but conditions

were ideal for the less experienced (well, most of them!) sailors in the Novice

and Fun Fleets. Sharing the start line and with the Fun Fleet taking a longer

course, the slick administration provided 12 races in the two days. Computerised

results were on the Notice Board within minutes at each break.

The names "Fletcher" and "Owens" featured in both fleets

and the large contingent from Rusheen Bay Windsurfing, Galway, competed strongly.

Results - Fun Fleet:

First Overall - Morgan McGuire (and First Youth)

Second Overall - Conor Campbell (and First Man)

Third Overall - Scott Kennedy (and Second Youth)

Third Youth - Daniel Gardiner

First Master - Richard Harshaw

Results - Novice Fleet:

First Overall - Tom Dawson (and First Youth)

Second Overall - Aidan Owens (and Second Youth)

Third Overall - Brian Kennedy (and First Master)

Third Youth - Conal Owens

First Lady - Cathy Harshaw

First Junior - Lizanne Gallagher (And First Lady, Junior)

Second Junior - Joseph Fletcher

The Gold Fleet, almost unnoticed, raced an upwind - downwind course farther

offshore. The light variable wind was a challenge in itself and only three races

satisfied the minimum wind requirements for a ranked IWA competition - just

enough to have the event count in this season's series. All the races, however,

were included in the reckoning for the (unofficial) "title" for the

weekend.

Wind or no, once again Maurice Owens was the clear leader at the end of the

two days. Danny Mulryan and Joe Gallagher followed in second and third places

in the unofficial weekend result - they switched places in the official IWA

ranked result!

Some questions arose regarding the eligibility of the boards used by some of

the sailors - to be answered by the IWA in due course.

Irish Youth / Junior Team for World Championships

A very special welcome was given to "local" hero Maurice Owens when

the Irish Youths / Junior Team was introduced at the prize giving. The six young

sailors will represent the IWA at the World Youths / Junior Championships in

Largs, Scotland, from 3rd to 10th August and they will compete in Under 23,

Under 19 and Under 17 sections.

With Owens and Mulryan fresh from excellent performances at the ISAF games

in Marseilles, National Coach Jeff Cochrane will be looking forward to good

results.

Photograph: (Phil Plummer)

Back Row, L to R: Joe Gallagher, Ronan Reid, Maurice Owens, Danny Mulryan (Team

Captain)

Front Row, L to R: Nigel Plummer, Patrick Kavanagh