Mirror National Championships - Skerries SC - 23rd & 24th July
Author: Ronan Cull Posted on: 26/7/05 Print Version

Firstly, special thanks to Eddie Ferris and Paul Howard who kindly accommodated Charlie Ward and me, allowing us to cram some serious training the day before the big event due to the unavailability of my normal crew Conall Kinsella. I appreciate it was an important time for young sailors and instructors, so many thanks again.

Secondly, just to comment on the wealth of sailing ability within young sailors par-taking in HYC's sailing courses. Charlie's talent is a credit to the club, as he mastered the art of spinnaker work in tough conditions and at such short notice (ie. the day before the event).

Racing commenced on Thursday, exactly on time in light and variable conditions under the watchful eyes of the PRO Harry Gallagher. A clean start to the first race and the following beat proved tricky with a huge emphasis on the tide. The O'Sullivan/Pearson crew rounded 15th with ourselves ahead in 10th. Charlies' superior spinnaker handling propelled us up two places by the leeward mark, rounding 8th. However, playing the shifts and good crew communication allowed us to sail our way through the fleet to round second by the subsequent weather mark. The PRO deciding to shorten course to ensure three races were sailed, saw a short beat to the finish line. Ross Kearney from RNIYC played a tactical last beat of close covering tacks and dirty air forcing us to overtack costing us a place at the finish. O'Sullivan/Pearson crew finishing 15th.

Friday was our best day of sailing, recording a 1st and a 2nd, giving us the chance to close cover up the final short beat. The second race of the day was started in a steady 10kts with the wind favouring the Port side of the beat. By the leeward mark the wind had died to at least 3kts and the final beat was a lottery. Sailors who banged left lost hugely due to a strengthening adverse tide. Colm Malone of Skerries sailed hard to the right in clear air finished first, Charlie and I finishing 2nd, while Gerard O'Sullivan finishing 19th.

Saturday turned out to be our last day of sailing with big winds forecasted for Sunday. Only one race was sailed in increasingly poor visibility, forced the PRO to abandon the second race. It was a credit to the rescue Crew who kept the fleet together and safe on the sail to shore. Gerard O'Sullivan scored a 9th, while Charlie and myself scored a consistent 5th. The race was won by Simon McGrotty of Skerries.

Sunday's weather stayed true to its forecast, and was eventually and sensibly abandoned as the Worlds team (38 Irish Mirrors) had to pack their boats in the containers heading to Ostersund, Sweden. So no damage was done, thankfully.

In an extract from the Skerries Mirror Nationals publication by the Commodore Gerry Byrne; "Of all the many dinghy designs which emerged in the halcyon days of sailboat design where names like Ian Proctor and Jack Holt were producing brilliant solutions to the problem of making sailing affordable, there have been only a few Mirror survivors. Of these, the Mirror has been by far the most successful double-handed dinghy. It was launched in 1963 and sail numbers have long passed 70,000 and show every likely of reaching six figures."

Gerard O'Sullivan and Simon Pearson had an excellent final day to ensure their 7th overall placing, whilst Charlie Ward and I held on to 2nd place in a strong 65 boat fleet.

Finally a big thanks to the PRO for course setting in difficult conditions and to Skerries Sailing Club for hosting a truly brilliantly organised event.

Results on ....