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Clontarf Yacht & Boat Club recently played hosts to the Mirror Fleet for their 2019 National Championships. Three fabulous days of close racing were held in varied conditions with the event going down to the wire on the last day.

With 5 race wins from the 10 race series, Eoghan Duffy (LRYC) & Cathal Langan (CYBC) came out on top and overall winners.

2nd place went to Conor Paul (LRYC) sailing with Leo O’Doherty (SYC) and 3rd overall was Lughaidh Croasdell & Sonny Drummond from LRYC.

Silver Fleet winners were Mathew Fallon & Jonathan Flannery of LRYC. 2nd in Silver was Isaac Marsden & Ronan O’Connor of SYC with 3rd in Silver going to David Flannery & Eva Fallon of LRYC.

Bronze Fleet winners were Mia Canham & William Draper of SYC. 2nd in Bronze was Max Cully & Donal O’Donnell of BSC with 3rd place going to Jenny Paul & Abigail Johnston of LRYC.

A special thanks to Aidan Cronin, Commodore of CYBC and his brilliant team for a fantastic event both on and off the water and to Race Officer, Ian Sargent.

Next up is the last event of the season, the Southern Championship to be held in RCYC on Sept 14/15 as part of Dinghy Fest.

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Blessington Sailing Club on the shores of the beautiful Pollaphuca Reservoir was the host venue to the Mirror Eastern Championships at the weekend.

Six races were held in very difficult conditions for both race management and sailors with 40-degree wind shifts occurring all day Saturday to strong winds on the Sunday.

Eoghan Duffy (LRYC) & Cathal Langan (CYBC/SDC) were crowned winners with a consistent display of results over the weekend.

In second place was Jessica & Mark Greer of Sligo Yacht Club with third place also going to the Sligo pairing of David Evans & Ross Clarke.

Silver fleet winners were Chloe & Fionn Murphy of LRYC and Bronze fleet winners were Diarmuid & Freyja Mullen, also from Sligo.

Next up on the Mirror calendar is their Nationals to be held on the 16-18 August at Clontarf Yacht & Boat Club.

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Sligo Yacht Club provided a range of weather conditions over the weekend for the Mirror Western Championships. 16 boats took part in glorious sunshine and light winds on Saturday which changed to rain and 20 + knots of wind on Sunday. This provided a great display to those watching under the shadow of Benbulben.

Over the two days, the partnership of Duffy (LRYC) & Langan (CYBC/SDC) secured the overall title. Silver Fleet winners were the local SYC pairing of Jessica Greer & Imogen Wray with the LRYC partnership of David Flannery & Eva Fallon winning the Bronze Fleet.

Aisling Gillen, Commodore of SYC and her team put in a great event both on and off the water and a special thanks to event sponsor MalinWaters.

Over the weekend the International Mirror Class Flag was presented to Sligo Yacht Club as host club to the Mirror World Championships to be held in 2021.

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The first Regional Mirror dinghy event of 2019 took place on Lough Ree at the weekend in glorious sunshine and light winds.

13 Mirrors took to the waters with sailors from Lough Ree Yacht Club, Sligo Yacht Club, Blessington Sailing Club and Clontarf Yacht & Boat Club competing but it was certainly a case of home advantage coming to the fore for the LRYC sailors.

Fresh from their Sydney Mirror Worlds experience, as reported by Afloat here, Eoghan Duffy & Cathal Langan set a blistering pace with 4 race wins to clinch the overall title.

2nd overall went to Lughaidh Croasdell / Sonny Drummond and 3rd to Noah Canham / Mark Greer.

LRYC sailors took home the Silver fleet (Conor Paul / Henrietta Leech) and Bronze fleet (Chloe & Fionn Murphy) winning prizes also.

Next up on the Mirror calendar is the Mirror Westerns Championships in Sligo on the 29/30 June.

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From the start to the finish of 2018, Eoghan Duffy of Lough Ree Yacht Club and Cathal Langan of Clontarf Yacht & Boat Club and Sutton Dinghy Club were on a mission to put their stamp on the international Mirror dinghy sailing circuit. 2018 was a year of focused training, events and preparation all for one purpose, the 18th International Mirror World Championships hosted by Woollahra Sailing Club on Sydney Harbour and to flag the Irish flag at this prestigious event.

Following their 2nd place finish at the Irish Mirror Nationals and a 13th place finish out of 44 boats at the UK Mirror Nationals in Ullswater Yacht Club in 2018, Duffy & Langan and their boat “A Close Shave” headed to Sydney after Christmas to take on the best Mirror Sailors in the World.

59 Mirrors from around the World made the journey comprising of adult and youth helms with past and current champions from the Mirror and other fleet types.

Sydney Harbour whilst a stunning location is also a very congested navigation channel and presents numerous obstacles such as seaplanes and cruise ships. It is also a tricky place to understand weather conditions and how the local landscape can lead to very variable circumstances.

Over 5 days of sailing with 12 races in total, Duffy & Langan finished in 22nd position overall out of a fleet of 59 and winners of the Junior category. Highlights were finishes of a 10th, 11th and a 12th over the regatta which given the very dominant number of adult helms was a brilliant result and bodes well for junior sailing in Ireland.

To cap off a memorable event for them, the term Sydney Southerly Buster will send tingles down their spines forever more. On Day 4, the Sydney Buster came to pass with a 180 degree wind shift from North to South and winds gusting 35knots blazing across the course. Of the 59 boats that started that day, only 31 remained by the end of the 2 races sailed in extremely tough conditions. Duffy & Langan sailed through it and returned to shore in a thunder & lightning storm – a true testament to winter training on Lough Ree.

Mirror Tom SlingsbyAustralian Olympic gold medalist Tom Slingsby, presented the prizes to the Irish duo

Their prize was awarded to them by Tom Slingsby, America’s Cup Winner and Wendy Tuck, Clipper Round the World Skipper.

With Mirror Sailing in Ireland growing in numbers, it augurs well for the next Mirror Worlds to be hosted by Sligo Yacht Club in 2021.

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The Mirror National Championships held in Mullaghmore, Co. Sligo last weekend were won by Ben Graf and Daniel Smyth.

Graf adds the title to the RS Feva National Championship title won earlier in the summer with Oscar Lubliner.

Second was Eoghan Duffy and Cathal Langan. Third place Ellen O'Dwyer and Mia Canham. 

Conditions varied over the the three-day from moderate to very heavy on Saturday to light on Sunday.

In promising news for the class, 22 boats took part in the largest national championships held in many years. It follows the trend of increasing numbers in the Mirror class for both regional, club and National events. There has also been an increase of bronze fleets sailors travelling to events. Many of the helms are as young as twelve years old.

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Mirror class winter training for 2018 was held over four weekends between January and April (13/14 Jan, 24/25 Feb, 24/25 Mar & 21/22 April) and all sessions were held on Lough Ree at Lough Ree Yacht Club with support of an Irish Sailing training grant, as Afloat.ie previously reported here.

Coaches for these weekends were Graham Grant, Sarah White and Conor Twohig.

In total there was 11 Mirrors involved in the training which included Bronze, Silver and Gold fleet sailors.

Clubs represented at the training were Sligo Yacht Club, Mullingar Sailing Club, Lough Ree Yacht Club, Clontarf Yacht & Boat Club and Blessington Sailing Club.

2017 finished for the Mirror fleet with a strong turnout at regional events. This was certainly a good sign going into the training period and this was true with 11 Mirrors committing to a period of 4 weekends over the winter.

These sailors included first timers to the Mirror fleet and many new partnerships being tried out for the racing season ahead.

Conditions on the whole were very suitable with the odd zero knots of wind to 25 knots of wind reminding us that it was still winter.

The training finished with a lot of enthusiasm and eagerness to put into practice now the knowledge gained and we expect a very good turnout for the Mirror Northerns event in Clontarf Yacht & Boat Club to be held May 5/6.

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The Irish Mirror sailing season starts in less than two weeks with the first weekend of the Winter Training Programme. The winter training is held, as in previous years in Lough Ree YC, and is run over four weekend sessions between January to April. The quality of the training is only ever as good as the quality of the coaches and with Graeme Grant and Scott Flanagan the class says its 'very fortunate to have an outstanding team'.

This year’s World Championships are been held in nearby Cornwall. A good number of our sailors have already indicated that they plan to take part. We aim to use our winter training program to give them the best possible preparation. However, the winter training is aimed at all sailors, to help them improve as sailors and to get the most out of their boats. This is as relevant for club racing and the regional events as it is for the World Championships.

Most double handed dinghy sailing fleets have had a difficult time attracting numbers in recent years. The extra complexity of the rigging of a boat flying two extra sails as well as problem of finding and working with another crew member appears to put many off. These problems should be viewed against the learning of new skills that are as relevant in a dinghy as they are in a yacht, and the fun had when shared with another sailor.

The cost isn’t even particularly prohibitive when it comes to Mirrors. It’s possible to get a well cared for ten year old boat and be very competitive, even win, says Gail McAllister of the class association.

Published in Mirror
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#Mirror - The Mirror newspaper has paid tribute to its namesake dinghy, which features in the top 10 of Yachting World’s list of the most influential boats of all time.

Launched in 1963 and aimed at the same market as the newspaper from which it took its name, the Mirror dinghy was conceived to be an affordable home build, but with practicality very much in mind.

Not only could it comfortably accommodate a family of two adults and two children, it was compact enough to be carried on a car roof rack without need for a trailer.

Significantly reducing the cost of entry into sailing as a pastime, it’s little wonder that Mirrors are still seen in big numbers around the British and Irish coastlines.

In fact, the design is undergoing somewhat of a revival, particularly among younger sailors, as Tom McSweeney discusses in a recent This Island Nation podcast.

The Mirror is the only class to feature in Yachting World’s top 10 picks for yachts that changed the way we sail, placing seventh in a list topped by William Fife III’s 1911 Fairlie 19 gaff cutter Marquita.

The next class to appear on the magazine’s list of 50 sail-changers is the Class 40, placing an impressive 18th for a design barely a decade old.

Mirror Online has more on the story HERE.

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Last weekend Sutton Dinghy Club ran their Inter-Schools Sailing event. The event in its 41st year attracted 32 schools with 107 boats and 144 youth sailors making the start line last Saturday morning. Well 2 start lines actually with 38 boats in the Optimist Fleet and 69 boats in the Mixed Fleet racing under PY. For each Fleet there is an Individual and Team prize sailed for. The event has been graced by many of Irelands rising stars over the years including Dan O'Grady, Ger Owens, David Burrows, Scott Flanigan, Dougie Elmes and Robert Dickson. Indeed last year's Mixed Fleet winner was none other than Blackrock College's Ewan McMahon World Radial Silver medallist in 2016 and the Optimist winner in 2015 was Tom Higgins who went on to win both the British and Irish Optimist Nationals in 206. A unique event that enables Club sailors team up with future rising stars of Irish sailing.
Day 1 - Optimist – With poor weather forecast for Sunday, PRO Paul ‘PK’ Kavanagh was considering 3 races for the day. Was there even enough wind to get 2 races in? Racing commenced on time at 12.00 in a generally southerly breeze. In the light shifty wind the left side of the beat on an ebb tide was favoured with the fleet favoring a pin-end start. The leading group of 4 or 5 boats took control of the race and put clear air between them and the chasing pack. The race was shortened to two rounds with lightening winds and increasing tides. To ensure interest in the Team event is maintained boats outside the 15 minutes time limit were given a count back based on there position on the water rather than a DNF.
Race 2 was abandoned due to a major wind shift on the first beat and a postponement flag was hoisted while the course was re-configured. Again the conditions were not ideal but the PRO managed to get the fleet away on a shorter course with lightening winds and a strong ebb tide. The race was completed only just following a major wind shift which did not effect the leaders who rounded final leeward mark in a tight bunch with a following wind.
After 2 races St Fintans NS were making the running from Belvedere College and Schoil Mhuire teams with Johnny Flynn, Hugh & Luke Turvey, Luke Groarke Donagh and Leah Rickard all well placed in the Individual event. Young Abby Kinsella was best of the Sutton Dinghy Club sailors in 14th.

Inter Schools Sailing RegattaInter Schools Sailing Regatta at Sutton – As the wind lightened there was a little concern that the fleets may struggle to get round the last lap
Mixed Fleet – PRO Jim Lambkin got Race 1 for both Flight A and Flight B away first time. Flight A included both Laser Radial & 4.7's, GP14, 420 and RS Fevas and started on the same course 5 mins in front of Flight B which included Mirrors, Topper and Topaz. The 30+ boats in either fleet made for a very busy line. However the well behaved sailors ensured a single individual recall in each fleet was as bad as it got .The event is run on Portsmouth Yardstick with each boat timed and recorded for each lap of the course completed. The PY handicap system enables the Schools have teams race each other despite the teams being made up of mixed Classes. Race 1 saw the fleets well spaced along the line. In the light shifty wind the 420's looked like the early pace setters with McDowell/Dix (Loretto College) combination along with a with a few Radials including Olympic Laser aspirant Aoife Hopkins (Santa Sabina). The GP14 of Boyle/Coyne (Belvedere) after a slow start began to make an impression. A number of boats infringed by not coming through their start-finish time for time recording and paid the penalty. Meanwhile a number of the top Mirrors were travelling well and had opened considerable gap on the Topper and other Mirrors. As the wind lightened there was a little concern that the fleets may struggle to get round the last lap. But just when it was needed a short puff of breeze helped many home with some unfortunately time-out.
Race 2 saw a general recall for Flight A while Flight B showed them the way by getting away first time. Under Black flag Flight A got underway with pin end favored this time and an ebb tide adding its own challenge. For most of the first lap the wind was steady with the GP14 well up with the Radials and 420 from the start. As the race progressed the GP14 eked out an on the water lead but the Radials, 4.7 including Rickard (Gonzaga), Hopkins (Santa Sabina), Higgins (Gonzaga) and Hopkins (Mount Temple) and the Mirrors of Croasdel/Harrington (St Alyosius, Athlone) & Graf/Croasdel (Athlone Community College) in Flight B were also going well. However on the start of the second lap the wind became decidedly light. The PRO made a call to shorten the course for the Radials, 420’s and GP14 which meant everybody was finishing on end of lap 2. It was a good job the Committee boat was well stocked with sail number callers and recorders as Flight A and Flight B converged on the finish together. Race 2 was concluded again with a few boats timed out. The PRO went into sequence for a 3rd race, but quickly went to AP as the wind lightened. However with tide now an issue for getting ribs, committee boat and indeed some of the fleet back the PRO abandoned racing for the day to the delighted cheers of the by now tired crews. The fleet of 69 boats sailing back to the Club made for a spectacular sight.
After 2 races, Gonzaga hold a short lead over Belvedere College and Sligo Grammar with the furthest travelers the McCallister brothers from Bandon Grammar holding a small lead over the Athlone boats of Ben Graf and Caolann Croasdel with 4.7 of Tom Higgins and Dan Hopkins next followed by Aoife Hopkins and then Sutton Dinghy Club sailors Peter Boyle & Tim Coyne in the GP14.

Day 2 - Optimist Fleet – Day 2 arrived with great expectations of a little more breeze for the fleet than Saturday. The Fleets took to the water about 10:30 in 10-12 knots but that was really as good as it got. The clouds arrived with persistent mist rain and with it the wind dropped also.
PRO Paul ‘PK’ Kavanagh’s first start was abandoned due to a wind shift and then rain and then no wind. An AP was hoisted and after a lengthy delay the PRO and his team managed to get the Race underway in a light wind. 2 boats were over at the start with both boats returning to start line following individual recall. However in a dying wind PRO made the decision to shorten the race at the leeward mark following round 2. A number of boats did not make the finish due to the time limit, however they were all placed following a count-back to end of Lap 1.
The Opi sailors showed great patience having been on the water a long time with the light wind resulting in a single race for the day. The results were delayed as a Protest was heard that could have had a profound impact on the overall results. In the end the overnight leader Johnny Flynn retained his top position following consistent sailing with the Turvey brothers left to share the 2nd and 3rd spot. With 2 sailors in the top 3 the Team event was retained by St Fintan NS from Belvedere College A with Schoil Mhuire A taking 3rd.
Mixed Fleet – The PRO on the outer fleet, our Commodore Jim Lambkin struggled to get a steady breeze for race 1. Eventually after about 40 minutes both Flights were away but very quickly it became obvious that lightening breeze allied to a flood tide meant half the fleet had difficulties making the weather mark. Race abandoned and the Fleet waited patiently. Eventually around 1:45pm breeze picked having swung to the west and now from the Pigeon House direction. With marks relaid both flights were underway and with a Black Flag in operation 2 boats fell foul. The Radial of Aoife Hopkins and GP14 of local sailors Boyle/Coyne and 420 of McDowell/Dix lead from the front but again with a lightening breeze the PRO had no options but to utilize the times at end of the first lap to ensure a race results for as many of the fleet.
While many had hoped for a bit more breeze, the event had 3 races which of course meant there could be no discards in the Individual event meaning consistency was going to be the key to making the podium. The Individual event saw overnight leaders McAllisters (Rory & Oisin) slip to second place with Ben Graf & Lugaidh Croasdel take 1st. Caolann Croasdell and Dermot Harrington took 3rd a clean sweep for the Mirror. Well handicapped on PY they still need to be sailed well in these difficult conditions to stay ahead of some well sailed Lasers, GP14 and 420. In the Team event the Gonzaga team of Loghlen Rickard and Tom Higgins, both incidentally former winners of the Optimist event here, took 1st place ahead of Sligo Grammar's Mirror team (White/Wray, Wray/VanderGrijn, White/Bamber) with in 3rd Belvedere A (Peter Boyle/Tim Coyne, S Crawford, D O’Grady).

Sutton inter schoolsBen Graf & Luagaidh Croasdel the Individual Mixed Fleet winners with Jim Lambkin Club Commodore and event PRO.With sailors and parents well fed and watered, the packed Clubhouse watched the Croke Park Football final as they waited for the Prize-giving. Club Commodore and main-fleet PRO Jim Lambkin thanked the sailors, their parents and all the volunteers and Club members for making it another superb event. With 107 boats and over 140 sailors from 32 schools it was a tremendous effort. He particularly thanked the help from local Clubs around the bay for providing Ribs and crews to facilitate rescue and mark laying. Here is to next year!

Published in Youth Sailing
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