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Speed sailing runs out of wind

8th December 2008

Unfortunately the winds were unusually poor for the week of the World Cup final stage held in Waterford so an official stage didn’t take place, but many of the top sailors took to the Irish waters for the first time and sampled local hospitality. Cyril Moussilmani (FRA, Fanatic, North) and Valerie Ghibaudo (FRA, Loft Sails) take the victory of the 2008 ISWC World Cup Ranking. The final stage of the Production Speed World Cup 2008 was held in Dungarvan Bay, Waterford where the winners were announced on Saturday Dec 7, 2008.

 

More than forty International Windsurfing competitors from 13 Nations congregated at Abbeyside on the shores of Dungarvan Harbour Co.Waterford for the last seven days, as part of the ISWC Speed World Cup.  
 
This World Cup status event visited Ireland for the very first time, as a result of Irish Speed-sailor Martin Waldron discovering the event site while researching the entire Irish coastline on Google Earth. His aim was to find a stretch of water that could provide mirror flat water while exposed to Ireland's gale force south-westerly winds.

In these conditions, the Worlds best windsurfers can achieve speeds between 45-50 knots (83-92kmph). When Waldron tested the course earlier this year, he knew that Dungarvan could provide the perfect conditions for breaking World Records.
 
The event attracted the elite of the sport, including Windsurfing legend Bjorn Dunkerbeck (12 times Overall Windsurfing World Champion and holder of 37 Windsurfing World Titles).  Based in the Canary Islands (and representing Switzerland) Dunkerbeck's presence in Dungarvan confirmed Ireland's status as a world class windsurfing location.
The home Nation was well represented, and amongst the Irish hoping to make an impact were 19 times Irish Champion Oisin van Gelderen (Dublin), 8 times Irish Ladies Champion Noelle Doran (Louisbourgh) and recently crowned National Speed Champion and Record holder - John Kenny from Dublin.
 
Unfortunately for the competitors, Ireland did not live up to it's reputation as a wet and windy country, and the past week's calm and frosty conditions did not provide the sufficient wind required for the event to be completed.  Light Northerly winds meant that the main speed course (which is exposed at low tide in Dungarvan Harbour) could not be used, and the wind only reached the required 20 knots for a very short time on the final day of competition.  However, many of the competitors still took to the water to test the conditions, and managed to achieve peak speeds of up to 35 knots in the lighter winds.
 
Despite the lack of a result, the potential of the site has been realised, and already the ISWC are making plans to bring both the Danish and Belgian Speed Championships to Dungarvan, with further talk to a World record breaking attempt being set up late next year as well.
 
After 12 events, three of them categorized as continental or world championship grade, the actual ISWC world ranking incorporates a total of 394 sailors from 22 nations, representing 3 continents.

With four events sailed, Cyril Moussilmani was able to defeat Ben van der Steen (NED) and reigning world champion Antoine Albeau (FRA, Starboard). In the ladies division, Valerie Ghibaudo discarded the last event of the season in Dungarvan and still took victory over Zara Davis (GBR) and Marion Raisi (FRA).

The ISWC world ranking is a "rolling ranking", which includes the results of every competitor in the past 12 month and reflects the current status of each sailor and brand. With more national events to be included to the world ranking in 2009, the challenge for the 2009 world cup title will become even more thrilling.

Several of the fastest men and women on water in the entire world converged on Dungarvan, County Waterford, since November 28, for the final stage of the World Production Speed Sailing Cup 2008.


Commenting on the event, Irish Speed sailing Vice Champion and event organiser Martin Waldron said, “Unfortunately the winds were unusually poor for the week of the competition so an official stage didn’t take place, but many of the sailors took to the Irish waters and had lots of fun enjoying their time in Ireland for the week.


We are however planning on hosting the World event in 2009 including the Kite Surfing World event again; as Dungarvan Harbour due to the sand spit and the lack of currents would be ranked in the top ten speed sailing venues in the world, so we are looking forward to planning the event for next year and hopefully we’ll get lots of wind!”


Martin went on to say, “There are plans for a number of the world’s top speed sailor to return to Dungarvan in March 2009 and attempt to break the world record for speed sailing, it currently stands at 90.91KMPH over 500 metres; that is such an exciting prospect, it will really place Ireland in the international map for the sport.”


The world-class event was the last major event of the 2008 season for Speedsailing. Over 60 of the biggest names in the sport came to Waterford to compete for points counting towards the 2008 Speed World Cup and the one-off Production World Cup Title.


The 2008 Speed World Cup is sanctioned by the International Speed Windsurfing Class on behalf of the International Sailing Federation. The event was hosted and organised by Martin Waldron and the Dungarvan Harbour Sailing Club.

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