The Newtownards Fliers

The Newtownards Fliers

Donegal Update

The Usual Plug



Round one of the Irish Slalom Series came to Newtownards last weekend and some people were flying - and that's only on the disco dance floor...

There's no doubt that the wind gods understand the meaning of irony. So it was that on the Friday afternoon before the event, they puffed up their cheeks and blew hard. I started on 7.5m on a slalom board, but quickly changed down to 6.5 on 110 FSW. Even that wasn't good enough as the wind kept growing and I finished the day exhausted on 5.5m when even 5m might have been a bit big. Quite a few people were out to warm up before the big weekend. Little did they know.

Saturday saw the usual rat bag collection of shabby windsurfing vehicles as the slalom boys (and girls) arrived and set up camp. Some luxuriated in traffic-murdering RVs while some like Richard slummed it in tents. The wind was dying and so a leisurely start was made with racing called around 11:30 and it was big kit all around. Silver and gold fleets went together, or rather didn't go together as planing was a rarity. But the sun was out, the craic was good as we floated along together and there were some results of sorts. It was all very gentle and by the end of 2 races you could tell who had put on sun protection and who was going to look like a tomato by the end of the day.

Bus for Wookie?

If we thought the racing was hard, that was nothing to getting back in against a minute but off shore wind. 30 minutes or more with a zillion tacks eventually got everyone back for lunch. Now here I have to mention the Lyner connection. Mrs L helped by the other Mrs L's best friend and the other Mrs L fed us royally for the entire 2 days. We ate because there was nothing else to do with no chance of even a turd floating race in the by now mill pond conditions. Three of us did get on our SUPs and explored the coast, but most people just sat around and tanned or tomatoed.

The big excitement was of course the disco which was down to me to DJ. You wouldn't think it to see me windsurf, but one of my previous careers was as a DJ, but this was a very long time ago. Hence the howls of laughter when I went into the hire shop and asked for a double vinyl deck - what else would you do with 2000 vinyl singles? The excellent meal and the whole evening went very well, however there were 2 highlights.

The first was when the Emperor Ming the Merciless, who of course is off the water right now having done his MCL (Ming's c**t of a ligament) in, was dying to do some headbanging. So on went Freebird and out went a chair in the middle of the floor for Ming. He was joined by some other ijits wearing the huge wigs which were doing the rounds.

And the second was the Bit's n Pieces competition which older readers will remember from Radio One. I've set hundreds of these in the nightclub, so had put together a particularly vicious one with which to torture the assembled drunks. And they were duly tortured as they knew every song, but could they remember the artists? Well actually Ming's group nearly did as they won with 19 out of 20! No compensation though for not being able to windsurf for months...

Paddy, who has organised everything brilliantly, was raising money for Watersports for Cancer Research - £227 in total was raised. And part of this was that the boom (donated by Pier 36) was won in the raffle by David Corkill - and promptly donated back for an auction. Class.

Having toyed with us enough, the wind gods then provided wind for Sunday and a whole pile of races were run. It wasn't so sunny, but it was hard work. I rigged my 9.4 (well they say rig what you see) but sadly wasn't clever enough to rig anything else in case the wind rose. It did and I was murdered hanging onto this as it got well above normal 7.5m weather. I wasn't the only one careering about out of control though.

The races themselves were very competitive - I know as I had a good view from the back. The main protagonists were Wookie, Hannes and Fintan. The races actually came thick and fast (rather like the windsurfers) with alternate silver and gold. It got very confusing despite the excellent race organisation by the Day family. At one point Wookie was standing chatting and idly said to someone that the green flag (1 minute to race) was for the silver fleet - only to be told that no, it was the gold fleet. He and about 4 others had to race for the water and joined the race late. He was still placed though.

So when we crawled off the water totally knackered, we headed for the bar and the prizes were announced.

The silver fleet was won by David Corkhill which is an excellent result for someone who has only been in the sport for a couple of years. Jennie McCready was best girl (that's for windsurfing just to be clear) and Hannes was best boy (clearly for windsurfing - we've seen him dance). However only certain races counted for ISS ranking and in this respect the overall winner was the Wookie. All hail to the hairy one - great result.

And I was suitably chuffed when I read the results to find that I wasn't last. I still don't know how they figured that out.

There were loads of thank-yous. Paddy and his extended family for making it all happen, the Days for running the races and everyone who came and joined in.

The only negative thing was the relatively poor showing of club members who sailed. I suspect this was due to many of our newer members thinking they weren't good enough. However the silver fleet is for any level and it's a great way to learn. So look out for this next year -and join in the fun.

If you want to see the full set of picures then go to :

And for a great short video, with music -




We have more than enough people in now that we can definitely say that the 2 Donegal courses are going to run. And we may have some more exciting news about a related event at the same time ... more later.

So if you're already down to attend, I will be notifying you shortly that it's all on, your deposits are now non-returnable and asking you to confirm the number of days. Quite a few people want to do the flat water course plus some days on the wave course. No problem at all about this and I'll set out special prices for those involved.

For those of you who haven't sailed waves, let me explain how this might work. If you're about for a wave day and the conditions are mild, you will taught how to manage in waves. If it's too strong or big, then you'll get some flatwater training at a safer spot. So it's win, win.

And if you're not already down to go, well get cracking as these courses are going to fill out  and you won't get in.

To recap -

The options are :

  • Up to 6 day wave course ie it's 6 days but you can do less if you need to
  • Up to 4 day flat water course (option of doing less)
  • Flatwater course plus a couple of days of waves
  • Special price for kids for just the Sat/Sun

And we will put the price up nearer the time (if there any spaces remaining), so if you're thinking of leaving to a weather forecast, forget it. Easyjet pricing and no speedy boarding.


These courses are open to anyone ie you don't need to be a member of NSC.

The format and dates for 2013 are :

  • 6 day wave course Sat 14th Sept to Thurs 19th Sept inclusive
  • 4 day flat water course from Fri 20th - Mon 23rd inclusive (2 instructors)
  • Costs are likely to be similar to 2012
  • Both courses are likely to become fully booked
  • £50 deposit secures your place (£25 for grommets)

So contact me for bank details if you don't already have them and get cracking.




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These newsletters are about the people who windsurf - anywhere in Ireland. But a lot of the action takes place at Newtownards Sailing Club - probably the largest windsurfing club in Ireland. For lessons, great beginner kit, to join or just to sail there as a guest and try it out, see the website at