Friday, July 24, 2009

Downings, Donegal Friday 17th, Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th July

Well it was the time of the year again when everyone decsended on Downings in Donegal here in Ireland for the Irish Slalom series. I decided as i havn't been able to get work yet to head up on Thursday evening and have a relaxing day on Friday ahead of the Slalom event on the Saturday and Sunday. This year Dave Minton managed to get us a great house where 11 of us would be staying and as everyone hadn't arrived i was able to get a bed on the first night which was great as the next 3 nights i would have to sleep on a airbed on the floor so it was nice to have some comfort even if it was for only one night. The drive up itself was long and took me 7 hours so i was glad to arrive just after 11pm and get a couple of pints of Guiness in the legendary Harbour bar.

On Friday we headed down to the beach and it was perfect 7.5m weather so i decided to get my Starboard I Sonic 144 out which i got earlier this month of John kenny and use it for the first time to get it tuned ready for the event. I decided to use my 7.5m KA Koncept with the I Sonic 144 and 46cm Vector Maui Rockit fin and had a great couple of hours on the water . On first impressions the board is great, planes early and will be a perfect replacement for my Lorch Division S 120 which i sold this weekend.

On Saturday we got to the beach early and registered my kit for the weekend. I registered my I Sonic 144, Lorch 110 and KA Koncepts 9.0m, 7.5m, 6.6m and 5.8m but there was not much wind and no wind forcast for the rest of the day so I decided to rig up my 9.0m KA Koncept with my I Sonic 144 and 52cm Deboichet fin. The call was made to start the racing as the organisors said there was over 12 knots on the course but as i shloged out to the start the wind was definetlty below the minum 12 knots required for racing so i decided to head back to the beach as the racing would not count towards the event as it was only fun racing. Later that afternoon i headed out for a bit of free sailing but the wind was still the same and i couldn't get going so decided to call it a day and wait for tomorrow. That evening we all went for a meal that was arranged by the Downings Bay Hotel and after it was the RHLI disco. As it was my Birthday today i had a great time celebrating it and headed home in the early hours.

On Sunday alot of us were a little hungover after last night but we still got to the beach early to rig up as the wind was blowing 15-25 knots. I decided to rig up my KA Koncept 9.0m on the I Sonic 144 with 52cm Deboichet fin and KA Koncept 7.5m on the Lorch 110 with 38cm Vector Maui ZX fin as it looked like these would be the sizes being used today. A few guys went out on 9.0m sails but were back pretty quickly to get there 7.0m to 7.5m sails and then headed back out but as they were now wallowing around i decided to take out the 9.0m on the I Sonic and headed out to race. On the inside of the bay it was pretty gusty but not really too strong but it all went wrong once i got out past the headland that blocks the wind a bit on the inside and had a big catapult where i twisted my back a bit. At the time it wasn't really hurting but when i uphauled the sail i felt something go in my back and now my back was killing me. I headed back in and layed down for a little bit to try a rest my back but it was obvious i had hurt my back again so i chilled out on the beach for a couple of hours and go back out then for a sail and see how my back held up. I went back out for 1/2 and hour and my back was still hurting so i headed back in and packed up my kit. I was pretty pissed off as before the event i was feeling fine but i guess it is just one of those things that happens i suppose. After resting my back for the week my back now it is feeling fine and i'm hoping to get out on the speed kit on Tuesday if the forcast holds for Dungarven and seeing if i can increase my personal best speeds.

Big thanks go out to the Irish Slalom Series crew and all the guys on the beach that organised another great event where over 120 people turned up to race. I won't be able to do any of the other events this year as i won't be able to afford it but good luck to everyone else for the rest of the year.

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