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#mirror – Eighteen months ago brother and sister Ryan and Michaela Robinson, from Boskop Yacht Club in Carletonville, approximately an hour's drive outside Johannesburg, won the Mirror World Championships hosted by Lough Derg Yacht Club.

They won against competition from the Philippines, GBR and Irish crews among others. Fireball correspondent for Afloat, Cormac Bradley, raced against and worked for their father, Michael, during his time in South Africa and after the regatta in Lough Derg, Michael wrote a piece on the campaign to compete in the Irish hosted Worlds. The essence of Michael's article is that it isn't necessary to have the latest boat and sails in order to win a Worlds and he chronicled how the family had engaged with the Mirrors from a relatively modest investment of time and money to a full blown Worlds campaign.

The article obviously struck a chord because on revisiting the story on the Afloat website recently, it had received over 5,000 reads!

So, as a follow-up to that widely read article, Bradley reports that Michaela and Ryan successfully defended their Worlds title, but with their roles in the boat reversed, Michaela helmed and Ryan crewed.

This time the strongest threat to the defence came from a concerted British team which had a number of combinations finishing at the top end of individual races. However, Michaela and Ryan were able to defend their title with a race to spare! The 2015 Worlds were held in Theewaters Kloof Dam outside Cape Town. Regrettably, there was no Irish presence at the 2015 Worlds.

A full review of the double win by the Robinsons has been posted HERE.

Published in Mirror
Day three of the Fireball Europeans in the Czech Republic saw three races completed in a relatively steady 16 - 18 knots sailing writes Cormac Bradley. Yet again British combinations cleaned up with Jeffcoate/Thompson taking two wins to Gillard/Brearey's one. The consequence of that is that with the first discard kicking in, the former close to a point of the latter. Werner/Winkler are a further 2 points adrift in 3rd. Martin Kubovy (15019) drops to fourth. Rush/Lewis rise to 5th after 7,3,7 today. Germans Nolle/Leemann (14508) are in 8th, Eva Skorepova is 12th and Peculier/Novel (FRA 15015) are 13th. And the Irish? A 22,15,25, the last result the consequence of a capsize, get them back into the top 20 to lie 19th overall.
The wind blew down the dam today making for more comfortable coditions but it was no picnic! We are sailing in temperatures of 10 degrees and today's session was 5hrs long. This evening sees the mid-week party in Hotel Pavlov - a sponsor of the event. A barbecue is promised - I can see us huddled around the fire for heat! Or maybe the band, the Fireballs, will reinvigorate us!
Published in Fireball

Two races were completed today in the Fireball European Championships writes sole Irish sailing competitor Cormac Bradley. Conditions started cold and blustery in in the Czech Republic. The day got warmer but the breeze eased off as the temperature rose.

It wasn't T-shirt weather but it was a lot better than y'day. Tom Gillard and Sam Brearey (GBR) lead with two wins followed by a host of Czech combinations.; Verner/Winkler (14809), Kubovy/Rocek (15019) and Koutna/Adam (14879).

Tim Rush/Martyn Lewis (GBR) lie 8th, Tom Jeffcoate/ Andy Thompson 5th and Ireland's Smyth/Bradley 15th (15,19).

Three protests are to be heard within the hour. 49 boats are contesting the event being sailed in a large dam. RO Marek Pavlovsky got the first race away at the first attempt but an aborted second race required a black flag as did the 2nd race completed on the water.

A major windshift made a soldier"s course of the 2nd beat and in truth the first and second reaches were already in trouble - pity we rounded in 4th or 5th!

Last night's opening ceremony was conducted in three languages followed by a spit roast and local foods and wine. This evening it is thankfully dry.

Published in Fireball

Pavlov, SE Czech Republic 18:48 local time. Flags of at least 8 Nations fly from the Yacht Club Dyje - GBR, IRL, CZE, SLO, BEL, GER, SUI, FRA are here in varying numbers, the Czechs having the biggest contingent writes Cormac Bradley.  We are the sole Irish Fireball boat (Smyth/Bradley) but the British may only have 5/6 boats here. The trip across Europe was long and full of rain with an overnight stop in SE Germany.

Today, Sunday dawned windy, wet and cold. A practice race was scheduled for 16:00 but not everyone (including us) took to the water. The Czechs are investing in new boats with quite a few over the 15000 mark. Two more GBR boats, here for the sailing have already been sold on to the Czech fleet. Newest boat here is 15047 registered to Nikolai Allers from Namibia. The boat will be campaigned out of Switzerland. Opening ceremony is within the hour - can someone please crank up the heat for tomorrow. 

Published in Fireball