Reflections on the 2014 SA Mirror Nationals
The 2014 Mirror Nationals held at Theewaters Sports Club was a resounding success with 30 entries and served as a dress rehearsal for the 2015 Mirror Worlds to be held from 29 December 2014 - 9 January 2015.
Race officer Di Hutton-Squires made good use of the conditions and managed to get in 7 races using combinations of the trapezoidal, triangular and windward leeward courses; her preference for a short start line with a port bias made set the scene for highly competitive and exciting starts.
The best racing was held on day 1 with two races being competed the first in a fresh north easterly wind ranging from 12-16 knots moderating to 10-12 knots for the second race before dying out during the third race necessitating the abandonment of the race.
Days 2 & 3 rendered light south easterlies ranging mostly from 8 to 12 knots with races 6 & 7 being sailed in very light taxing conditions ranging from 2-6 knots with wind switches that tested the resolve of the race officer. Despite the promise of a small front the wind didn?t materialize on day 4 and racing was finally called off at 13:45.
This was particularly closely contested Nationals with only three points separating 1st and 2nd place with overall winners Michaela and Ryan Robinson achieving 4 firsts over Mark and Duncan Hawksworth?s 3 firsts. Both the Robinson and Hawksworth teams were pushed hard by 3rd placed Jeremy Holdcroft with crew Steven Nobre, 4th placed Sabata Gayeka and 5th placed Faud Jacobs who were always in the hunt and provided the catalyst for some extremely close and exciting racing.
It was great to see new blood and a resurging interest in the class particularly in the form of Optimist National champion Arin Long with crew Lawrence Wilson and Henning Kock with crew Connor Bax who sailed well to finish their debut Mirror Nationals in 7th and 8th places respectively. Their presence certainly threw the cat amongst the pigeons in most races and gave some of the older stalwarts a sound warning that they will be a force to be reckoned with in the not to distant future. Fraud Jacobs a previous National Champion made a comeback after 2 years and sailed consistently well to take the over sixties trophy and was well placed until having two disappointing races. The Isivungu team also, sailed well but lack of constancy in the lighter winds kept them out of the medal hunt.
The Mirror Class prides itself as being a family class and this was evident with a third of the fleet consisting teams combinations of brothers / sisters, father and son / daughter teams. 8 year old Amelia Changuion who crewed for her father Paul was the youngest competitor finishing in 10th place overall.
The organizing Committee and TSC must be congratulated on organizing a great event and raising generous sponsorship from P&B sails, North sails and Cape Canvass.
The Mirror Class celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 2013 and held its first South African Nationals in 1970 and has enjoyed strong support ever since its inception; there must be hundreds of unused mirrors stored in garages around South Africa. There will be a limit of 105 entries for the up and coming Worlds so there will be plenty of open spaces for South African entries, so get out and find a boat and for a relatively modest amount you will have a competitive boat and be able to enjoy a World Championship with a big fleet in your own back garden.
Written by Mark Hawksworth for SA Sailing Magazine