DOWNINGS EVENT - BIGGEST AND BEST

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

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