The 2008 and 2009 Irish Windsurfing Slalom Champion Pearse Geaney will be putting up a challenge to some of the world’s best speedsailors when they compete at the European Speed Sailing Championships to be held off the coast of Dungarvan, Co Waterford this October 17–23.
The event is being arranged on a rollover basis with a week in November also allocated should suitable wind conditions not be available in October. A prize fund of €10,000 is up for grabs with a number of additional prizes on offer from the event supporters.
Pearse Geaney in his element. Photographs: David Clynch
Commenting on participating in the championship event, Pearse Geaney said, “I’m really looking forward to the European Speedsailing Championships here in Ireland. It is a fantastic opportunity to compete against the world’s best windsurfing and kitesurfing speedsailors in a location where I windsurfed for years! As a youth, I would never have thought we’d have the likes of Dunkerbeck and Bringdal rigging on our shores!
There are a selection of unknown speed sailing locations across Ireland, that each allow us to perfect our skills before the big event; Dungarvan in particular is one location that offers the best conditions to be had in the prevailing south westerly wind we usually get here in Ireland. The sand bar just outside the harbour provides flat water at low tide which is needed to achieve high speeds.” Pearse continued.
Irish speedsailor Martin Waldron was the first to recognise the locations potential. Some video footage of him windsurfing there one windy weekend was viewed by the international windsurfing community, where it was very quickly acknowledged as a championship venue.
According to Pearse, “Speed Sailing is very entertaining to watch, especially when the wind speeds are high, as the competitors push themselves and their equipment to new levels of performance. Crashing into the water at 30 knot speeds feels like you’re hitting concrete, hitting it at 45 knots is like a stone skipping on that concrete! No matter what the wind speed, the action on the water will be great to watch, and there is the added bonus of public events and functions organised for when the event is on. Anyone reading this could be competing here in a few years time!”
A host of international competitors are registered to attend. In the men’s fleet, 2008 World Speed Champion Cyril Moussilmani will be keenly watched, windsurfing legend Anders Bringdal who recently crewed on the sailing boat Hydroptere which broke the speedsailing world record, will also be a strong contender. Previous speedsailing world record holder and the current kite-surfing world record holder Alex Caizergues will also be in attendance.
In addition to the speedsailing out on the water, there are many events planned for the general public and their families, including introductory lessons to kitesurfing, introductory lessons to windsurfing, wakeboarding demonstrations and lessons, and watersport exhibitions by Surf Dock, Wind & Wave, Pure Magic, Bigsurf.ie and many more besides.
The social side of the championships is also open to the public to come along and join in the fun. A live DJ will perform each day and the championship will have opening and closing parties.
The European Speedsailing Championships are kindly supported by Fáilte Ireland, Waterford County Council, Irish Windsurfing Association, Red Bull and LOCOSYS. The event is being hosted and organised by Waldron Event Management, ISWC, Pure Magic Kitesurfing, Irish Speedsailing Series, Irish Slalom Series and the Dungarvan Harbour Sailing Club.
Further information on the Championships can be found here