Irish Speedsailing Championships

‘The luck of the Irish’ is often spoken about, and it was certainly the case last weekend for the Irish Speedsailors, who enjoyed near perfect conditions for the second round of the Irish Speedsailing Championships.

The series is run with a theory of: ‘fixed date/flexible location’, which is decided at the last minute to ensure getting the best wind on a designated weekend. With a run of NE winds for over a week though, there was no debating which spot would be chosen: Burrow Beach in Dublin, which is one of Ireland’s fastest speed courses. Burrow had already produced the goods on a few occasions in April, and Sunday 29th May was no exception, with 25-35 knots of wind blowing down the course across mirror flat water.

Oisín's GPS tracks on the Burrow Beach Speed course

Leading the charge from the very start, was BOARDS Magazine’s Spring/Summer Annual editor – Oisín van Gelderen, who set the pace with a 44+knot run on his first time down the course. The Irish Champion knows this local spot like the back of his hand, and wasted no time in getting on the water to try and catch the ideal gust.
Using a combination of 5.5 and 4.7m Pryde RS Racing sails on his JP Speed 45, Oisín clocked 6 runs peaking over 44 knots, and a dozen more over 42s and 43s. His highest peak of 44.75knots gave him the event win, and bodes well for the rest of the years rankings.

Oisín tells us the story:
“I’m getting tired of hearing myself saying this, but the course was ALMOST perfect. The run was unbelievably flat as usual in Burrow, but the angle was still a little square, meaning we only had the really broad run at the end of the course for about 5 seconds. Down there though, just as you wind up to 44+ knots, you run out of water in a scary heartbeat, and stopping is an issue. With the wind fully NE (we had N-NE), I’m convinced the course is even faster… but hey, thats speedsailing. 50% of the art of going fast is being motivated and on the case to hunt down the ideal place and time to sail. Thats how you improve your PBs.”

Oisin van Gelderen Speedsailing at Burrow Beach

And as if to prove the point, two very unlikely faces to be seen in this part of Ireland – but certainly no strangers to strong winds – Rob Jones and Jamie Knox made the trip up from Brandon Bay to trade mast-high atlantic swell for snooker table flat-water. Both sailors were keen to break the elusive 40 knot barrier, and like many, knew that Burrow could be the place to try and achieve this. Following Oisín’s tips on how to sail the course – Rob was getting closer – with every run breaking his PB, and getting agonisingly closer to 40. Eventually the magic started to happen, and 40 was gone, and soon 41+.

Job done, and Rob’s speeds gave him 3rd overall for the event.

Rob Jones on his way to the 40 knot club.

Dublin local and Speed Championships organiser – Steve Flanagan, also looked at home on the Burrow course, with a top speed of 42.59knots giving him second overall for the event. A number of other competitors also had their fastest ever days – Cormac O’Brien joined the 40 knot club, while Gildas Bechet & Jamie Knox also broke their personal records, and went home tired but with a big smile on their faces – vowing to return the next time more prepared and ready for battle.
Commiserations must go to Burrow local Guy Molyneaux, who crashed hard at the end of the course and broke his board, extension and two ribs. OUCH :/
Get well soon Guy !

Steve Flanagan Speedsailing at Burrow Beach

To see how flat the course at Burrow Beach is, have a look at Oisín’s video of the day here:


Irish Speedsailing Results - Round 2 - 29th April 2012

For a full gallery of pictures from the event, you can check out these great shots from: Eoghan Redmond

For more information on windsurfing in Ireland, see:

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