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#mirror – The 2014 Mirror National Championships were held at a resplendent Sligo Yacht Club from August 7th to 10th. Twenty three Mirror Class Dinghies gathered for what proved to be an action packed four days of sailing on the enchanting waters of Sligo Bay.

The fleet faced very tricky sailing conditions over the four days in relatively light and shifty winds, not the norm for Sligo Bay. Conditions notwithstanding, the event was a major success with not a single general recall throughout the four days. A big thank you to all the competitors and families that made the trip to Sligo.
Shane Mcloughlin and his crew Oscar Langan from Sutton Dinghy Club mastered the conditions best, demonstrating some excellent sailing skills to take overall honours. Fast improving locals, Samuel and Imogen Wray took the honours in the silver fleet while Muiris Fitzgerald and Ellen O' Dwyer, also local, topped the bronze fleet.
Ten races were held over the four days. Forty six eager sailors set out on Thursday to do battle in hellishly tricky winds. One could not but have sympathy for OD Brendan Brogan as winds varied over 90 degrees, playing havoc with course laying. In the end, patience proved a virtue and Lough Ree's Tiernan Dickson took the first race with Shane Mc Loughlin and Jack Maye filling second and third spots. Lough Ree Yacht Club was again to the fore in the second race as the rapidly improving pair, Caolan Crossdell and Schull Harbour's very own Oisin MacAllister took line honours in a tight finish from Tiarnan Dickson and Alex Leech, in what was surely the performance of the weekend.
Day two was again frustrating for sailors as the shifting winds caused quite a few delays. Some sailors learned the hard way about the strong tides in Sligo Bay, while racing in the calm conditions. Shane McLoughlin from Sutton Dinghy Club turned the heat up, winning two races and finishing second in the last race to claim the overnight lead. Sligo's Beth Armstrong took the honours in the last race shooting right into contention behind Shane Mc Loughlin and the ever consistent Tiarnan Dickson. The two Jack's, Maye and Ryan kept their hopes up with a second place each.
Day three brought more shifty wind conditions to challenge the fleet. It was Tiarnan Dickson's turn to pile on the pressure with two wins and a third place finish. Ominously though, Shane Mcloughlin had two seconds and a win. The gap between the pair was just two points entering the final day. Beth Armstrong put in a very consistent shift and went into the last day right in contention should there be any slip ups.
Day four saw somewhat more consistent winds during which the final two races were sailed. Shane Mc Loughlin took the first from Beth Armstrong with Jack Maye in third. The final race turned into a local duel between cousins Beth Armstrong and Jack Maye, Jack taking an extended lead before Beth came through to take line honours and bring the shutters down on a thoroughly enjoyable 2014 National Championship.
And so it was, a splendid four days for the Mirror fleet soaked in the famous hospitality of Sligo Yacht Club. Those lucky enough to be present were reminded of the glory days of Irish sailing. Mingling with sailors, parents and club members, it was easy to understand how the Mirror Class has contributed so much to so many in Irish sailing down through the years.
Gold Fleet:-
1] Shane Mc Loughlin / Oscar Langan 12 points Sutton Dinghy Club [SDC]
2] Tiarnan Dickson / Alex Leech 18 points [LRYC]
3] Beth Armstrong / Dylan Shaw 20 points [SYC]
Silver Fleet:-
1] Samuel Wray / Imogen Wray [SYC]
2] Helen Smith / Noah Canham [SYC]
3] Rory Mc Allister / Lughaidh Croasdell [Schull Harbour & LRYC]
I] Muiris Fitzgerald / Ellen O' Dwyer [SYC]
2] Sarah White / Matthew White [SYC]
3] Hannah Raftery / Ben Kelly [SYC]

Published in Mirror

#mirrordinghy – Record numbers attended the Mirror Southerns event at Royal Cork Yacht Club last weekend, 19 and 20 July 2014. 46 sailors in 23 boats – with helms ranging in age from 14 to 50+ and crew as young as five writes Celine McGrath.
Mirrors haven't sailed out of Royal Cork Yacht Club since 2005 and a few ex Mirror sailing members of the club, that have matured and have children of their own, decided it was time to dig out their old boats for some competitive family fun. There was some last minute sail swapping in the boat yard on Saturday morning and all boats, old and new, were ready for the first gun.
With changeable winds and changing tides the racing proved to be quite a challenge for the visiting boats, while the Royal Cork sailors knew their fate.
At the end of Saturdays racing Jack Maye and Shauna Armstrong from Sligo Yacht Club was leading by two points while our final overall winner was behind him by 5 points, so it was an open competition on Sunday.
The fluky winds and changing tides delayed Sunday's first race and went on to caus 9 sailors to not finish on the 2nd race and the 3rd race was cancelled due to time constraints.


Mirror fleet winners at Royal Cork. Photo: Paul Keal

A fantastic BBQ hosted by Royal Cork Yacht Club on the Saturday night brought everyone together for some fun and talk of tactics and mirror construction. The "wood v's fibreglass" is always a hot one. There is no doubt the Windlass Mirror is a fine design, but a well balanced wooden boat can easy beat them hands down – a wooden boat from South Africa did win the Worlds in Lough Derg Yacht Club last year.
Royal Cork Yacht Club presented the most fantastic prizes of skim boards, boogie boards, sailing gloves and much more, while Oldest helm, Boat in most need of repair, Youngest Crew received a selection of fun prizes ranging from walking stick to rubber ring!
Results –
Gold and over all 1st. Mirror Sail No. 70428 from Sutton Dinghy Club. Helm Shane McLoughlin and Crew Oscar Langan
Gold 2nd. Mirror Sail No. 70622 from Lough Ree Yacht Club. Helm Tiarnan Dickson and Crew Alex Leech.
Gold 3rd. Mirror Sail No. 70580 from Sligo Yacht Club. Helm Beth Armstrong and Crew Luke McGrath of Royal Cork Yacht Club.
Silver 1st. Mirror Sail No. 70036 from Schull Harbour Sailing Club. Helm Rory MacAllister and Crew Lughaidh Croasdell of Lough Ree Yacht Club
Silver 2nd. Mirror Sail No. 69683 from Sligo Yacht Club. Helm Helen Smith and Crew Sarah Nicholson.
Bronze 1st. Mirror Sail No. 21645 from Royal Cork Yacht Club. Helm Richard McGinley and Kelly Williams – on their first ever Mirror event.

Published in Mirror

#opti – As Ireland prepares to welcome a record fleet of youngsters to the Optimist dinghy European Championships in Dun Laoghaire in four months time, reader David Quinn questions the level of intensity of this winter's training and asks is this developing a life long love for sailing, or creating the environment where a tiny minority can push for Olympic Glory, while the rest take up another sport? 

I live close to the Harbour in Howth, County Dublin so I tend to walk the pier or drive past the Yacht Club most weekends. This winter, much more than previous years, I have become really bothered and concerned at the extent of winter junior training sessions, particularly with the Optimist Class.

I started sailing relatively late so don't have much knowledge or experience of the Optimist Class. I started out in Mirrors before moving to Standard Rig Lasers. We trained hard, as an informal group, in Howth and competed internationally, but this was only in our late teens and early twenties. It is noticeable how many of my peers from that time are still sailing now and have a great love for the sport. I put that down to the huge fun we had racing Mirrors in Sutton Dinghy Club and at Regional events.

The major issues facing our sport are the fall off in memberships, declining activity and the lack of youth members in our clubs. I think a close scrutiny of the Optimist class would go some way to explaining some of the underlying problems in our sport!

I don't have an exact count, but the Optimists must have done at least four intensive training weekends, each with six hours of training per day. I'm not involved in the class so I can't be certain of the timing or intensity, but they seemed to launch before 10am and finish at dusk most days. I'm sure they came in for lunch. Is this developing a life long love for sailing, or creating the environment where a tiny minority can push for Olympic Glory, while the rest take up another sport?

I know some in the ISA are very concerned with this level of intensity for such young sailors, but the class, driven by over-ambitious parents, takes no notice. I doubt this is developing a life-long love for the sport, and I doubt it is even encouraging the kids to become elite sailors.

Maybe 1/100 will make it to senior international funded sailing? I would love to see a wider debate on the subject? I know when I was in my teens I sailed Mirrors and had a ball. It wasn't exactly an elite pathway class, but most of my peers from those days still race and sail very actively 25 years later. There must be a lesson there and it would make for an interesting study?

David Quinn (40) is a Laser and SB20 Sportsboat sailor from Howth Yacht Club and a former racing manager of the ISA.

Published in Your Say

#mirrorworlds2013 – For even the saltiest of seafarers, the Shannon One Design has a special allure. These slinky beauties of Ireland's inland waterways have an exotic attraction heightened by the fact that, despite their occasional visits to salt water, they only seem truly at home on the great lakes of the River Shannon. And when the organisers of the Mirror Worlds 2013 sounded out Simon Coveney, Minister for Agriculture, Food and The Marine, to perform last Sunday's official opening ceremony at Lough Derg YC at Dromineer, they discovered he was one of these secret Shannon OD admirers. Simon Coveney has raced offshore, and in major regattas. He has made oceanic voyages. And in his younger days, he was even an Irish Mirror Champion. But it seems the sweetener that drew him to Dromineer was the chance of his very first sail in a 17ft clinker-built Shannon One Design at one of their most historic strongholds.

So it says much about the sheer fun-filled exuberance of the great International Mirror Dinghy festival which concluded last night at Dromineer that for ten days - apart from Simon Coveney's sail with John and Adair Leech on their Shannon One Design - the SODs were sidelined. The characterful little Mirrors – 91 of them from seven diferent countries – totally dominated the scene both on the Dromineer waterfront, and out on the magnificent lake. And they had a tremendous week of racing despite a difficult period of weather in which four different seasons in one day – indeed, sometimes in one hour – set PRO Con Murphy a daunting task in which he completed a full programme despite Met Eireann outdoing itself in the gloomy weather prediction stakes throughout the week.

For those of us hoping to savour this remarkable event at its very best, it was a matter of Carpe Diem, Seize the Day, and the magic day was Tuesday. The morning may have seen the brisk westerly bring one large rainsquall blotting out the Clare hills as the fleet scampered along under spinnaker, but for the rest of the day the sun was strong from a vigorous sky. And the wind was brisk, then strong and then stronger again, such that by mid-afternoon further racing was curtailed. But by that time the legendary Mirror zest for sailing had been expressed yet again with gusto.

Minister for Agriculture, Food & The Marine Simon Coveney was able to fulfill a lifelong ambition to sail a Shannon One Design at Dromineer. Photo: Gerardine Wisdom

At the opening ceremony were (front row, left to right) David Meredith (Vice Commodore, LDYC), Cllr Virginia O'Dowd, Commodore LDYC Denis Hassey, Minister Simon Coveney, Mayor North Tipperary Ger Darcy, President Int. Mirror Association Celia May, Cllr Phil Bulger, and Assistant Event Manager Lucy Sanders. Back row: Event PR Eleanor Hooker, Noel Coonan TD, Event Manager Ian Roberts, and Cllr Seamus Morris. Photo: Gerardine Wisdom

In fact, the regatta was already in full swing by the time Minister Coveney performed his official duties, as the Irish Mirror National Opens had completed a successful if sometimes flukey four day eight-race buildup to the big one in the week beforehand, with a fleet of 68 boats getting results which were encouraging for visitors and the home fleet alike. And for anyone new to the Mirror scene, it gave a comprehensive insight into the variety of people these unique 10ft 10ins boat attract these days.

Clear overall winners were Ridgeley Balladares and Rommel Chaves of the Philippines with a convincing scoreline of five firsts and a fourth, discarding a 48th in Race 7 and a DNC in Race 8. If you think - like most folk in Ireland - that Mirrors are useful little multi-purpose boats for kids, then the Philippine pair were an eye-opener. Balladares is 36 while Chaves is 40, and the word was their day job is as crew on a superyacht whose owner encourages their dinghy racing. Naturally there were some muttering about this making them pros in a classically amateur class, but my own feeling was they deserved an extra medal – anyone who is keen enough to go off for some concentrated dinghy racing after the 24/7 grind which is being crew on a superyacht deserves special recognition.

New Irish Open Champions Ridgeley Balladares and Rommel Cahvez of the Philippines were on top form in the opening four day event. Still on the windward leg astern are senior Australian helms Simon Barwood (46) no 70784, and Ken Barnes (61) no 70790. Photo: Gerardine Wisdom

The runners-up were Cian Hickey and Caolan Croasdell of Skerries, which doubtless caused dancing in the streets of Fingal. They finished on 25pts to the 9 of the Filipino crew, and four points ahead of Alfie Wisdom and Sam Warren of the host club, while in fourth and fifth came names which were to come to greater prominence in the Worlds proper, with British crew Sarah Richards and her son George one point behind on 30. On 36 points in fifth were South African siblings Ryan and Michaela Robinson of Boskop YC, poised (if they but knew it) to become International Mirror World Champions 2013, and leading a strong South African contingent in anticipation of the Worlds there in 2015.

The diversity of these crews is classic Mirror profile. Hickey and Croasdell are fairly standard at 18 and 14 years respectively, while Wisdom and Warren are 20 and 14. But a new profile emerges with the Richards duo – Sarah is 41 while son George is 12. And the promising South African brother and sister Robinson crew had one of the lowest average ages of all, with Ryan being 16 while Michaela is 13.

But if you think this diversity encompasses international Mirror sailing, think again. The first entry for the entire regatta came from Ken Barnes of Montrose Bay in Australia, and he's 61. Then from Canada came Donovan Alp, and he's 60. But all were put in the ha'penny place by Rex Henderson from Australia's Royal Freshwater Bay YC who admitted to being 70, but who knows, it might be more. So these crazy Mirror maniacs are the living embodiment of the ISA's motto of sailing being a sport for life. And as for running a successful World Championship being a matter of club and community endeavour, in a little place like Dromineer, it just has to be – it wouldn't work any other way.

An ideal venue – Lough Derg YC's current clubhouse was opened eight years ago. Photo: W M Nixon

Lough Derg YC (founded 1835) has an attractive, substantial and very efficient clubhouse which was opened after massive membership endeavour back in 2005, and deservedly saw LDYC taking the Mitsubishi Motors "Club of the Year" award. In effect, it functions as the lakeside village's community centre, and hosts such an extraordinary variety of events that in honour of one of them, the Dromineer Literary Festival, it was described this week as a Poetry Society with Sailing Club attached.

Just to show we're not making this up, this year's festival is from 3rd to 7th October, and all info is at But meanwhile there was this business of the club taking on the biennial Mirror Worlds at a time when Mirror Dinghies are supposed to be rather passé despite their Golden Jubilee this year, and with the reality of Ireland being in recession and Dromineer being a place of limited visitor accommodation. In fact, it was the perfect formula to spur everyone on to greater effort. Just about everyone got involved, and the visitors from far and wide who couldn't find accommodation either in b&bs or people's houses found that there were berths available on the large variety of cruisers in the harbour.

So the people were indeed coming to Dromineer, and keen to race. A fleet of 91 boats isn't one to be sniffed at, and when you take on the mantle of a World Championship, you have the additional task of hosting teams of mandatory officials who have been guaranteed a certain level of comfort. It's a formidable organizational effort, but for a very long time in advance, Event Manager Ian Roberts and his Assistant Manager Lucy Sanders were putting their team together, and anyone who has been following the daily up-dates on from Dromineer on the progress of the regatta will know that the sailors have been having a mighty fine time.

Even the daily reports have been a good example of team effort by the shore squad in the clubhouse and Mirror supporters out on the water. From the race course, Andy Johnston of Sutton Dinghy Club was filing in a stream of regular reports on tactical developments in each race, with additional input from Brian Raftery of Sligo. Back in the clubhouse, LDYC Press Officer Eleanor Hooker kept tabs on the reports she collated a daily report each evening which gave an excellent overview of the progress of a world class World Championship.

The hefty 1958-built steel ketch Shindilla proved an ideal committee boat, but even she showed that Lough Derg can make waves. Photo: W M Nixon

Out on the water, PRO Con Murphy and his crew were based on the Levie family of Clonmel's substantial steel ketch Shindilla. Originally built in the Netherlands in 1958 for Bob Berridge of Galway and Cork, the 38ft Shindilla is the ideal size for a committee boat on Lough Derg, as she's not too large, yet her weight provides a solid platform on a bit of water which can sometimes serve up rollers which wouldn't shame the sea.

The first race on the second day in the Worlds showed the Robinsons' winning style. The fleet shapes up with the port end suddenly becoming the favoured position...... Photo: W M Nixon


.....but two Irish boats (Keri-Ann Boylan & Ros Morgan, and Ronan Gilmartin & Sean O'Leary) find themselves pushed beyond the limit, yet the Robinsons zap away in perfect style clear on port such that.........Photo: W M Nixon

dromineer11 minute after the start they're totally out on their own, sailing in clear air. Photo: W M Nixon

So the scene was set, with the community in the attractive village – on a good day it's the Tipperary Riviera - and the members in the bustling clubhouse all together on message. And there, wonderful as ever, was the lake, ready for it and astonishingly beautiful as only Lough Derg can be, particularly in a week when the changeable weather gave it a new brightness of sunlight and a welcome freshness after the choking and often windless heat of most of July. For although the Irish championship which started the regatta had occasional lack of wind pressure, for the Worlds it was a dream scenario with sailing at its best.

A rainsquall sweeps across, blotting out the Clare Hills, but on the run the Robinsons have reinforced their lead. Photo: Gerardine Wisdom

In the thick of it, running before Thursday's squall, are Tiarnan Dickson & Alex Leech (Lough Ree YC, white spinnaker), Jack Maye & Sarah White (Sligo YC, blue spinnaker), and Jack Ryan & Ben Graf (70636, Lough Ree YC). Photo: Gerardine Wisdom.

Second start on Day 2, and some folk think the port end is still favoured.......... Photo: W M Nixon

....but it isn't. Joshua Muller & Daniel Coetzer of South Africa hit it on the gun travelling well.........Photo: W M Nixon

......and at first things are looking good for Muller and Coetzer. Photo: W M Nixon

Close behind, there's a merry bunch, with Emilio Williams Doran & Michaal Broaders (70288) put astray by a starboard rush. Photo: W M Nixon

Reality has intervened for Muller & Coetzer as boats stategically better placed at the start take over their apparent lead - in this case it's Jeremy and Lauren Stephens doing the business. Photo: W M Nixon

The fleet came from seven nations, and here Eoin Hickey & Sadbh Culleton of Ireland lead from Viktor Hogbom & Malin Goransson of Sweden and Howard Leoto & Pakamani Yoko of South Africa. Photo: W M Nixon

An Irish sailing memory to cherish – Lough Derg at its most handsome as David & Timothy Pilbeam (Australia), lead from Simon & Sidonia Barwood (Australia), Mark & Duncan Hawksworth (South Africa), George O'Connor & Aaron Rogers (Ireland), Robert Blake & Jack Fahey (Ireland), and Ben & Gabe Hill (GB).
Photo: W M Nixon

Seize the day, seize the moment – this was all very special. My own observation point was from Reggie Goodbody's gaff sloop Amaryllis, which is yet another Lough Derg curiosity, as her hull was built in Italy, then the boat was finished in Holland. But now she is such a ubiquitous feature of all Ireland's inland waterways that she's believed to be the only boat which has crossed the M50 under sail – she did it on the Royal Canal aqueduct.

The only boat ever to cross Dublin's M50 under sail – Reggie Goodbody's Amaryllis in her home port of Dromineer. Photo: W M Nixon


Calling it a day. Senior Canadian crew Donovan Alp and Daniel Coady return to Dromineer.......Photo: W M Nixon


.....only to find that their allocated berth has been taken over by a family of swans.......Photo: W M Nixon

....but Canadians are good at peace-making and the swans move on......Photo: W M Nixon

dromineer25 a more appropriate berth beside the Shannon ODs, while out on the lake, racing has finished for the day as the wind freshens still further. Photo: W M Nixon

Amaryllis's hefty nature meant we couldn't mix it in the heat of the fleet with the proper photographers' RIBs, but we got the flavour of it, and more particularly we were comfortably back in time for the post-sailing atmosphere in Dromineer. Thus we saw senior crew Donovan Alp and Daniel Coady from Canada making their early return to find a very strong looking family of swans had taken up residence on the Canadian's allocated berth. Somehow, it was sorted out (Canadians are good at peace-making), and the swans re-located to a suitable spot beside the Shannon One Designs. while out on the lake the day's racing was signalled as over, and the fleet cascaded back to shore.

Mirrors everywhere as the fleet cascades back into port. Photo: W M Nixon

By this time, I was so Mirror mesmerized that I'd got to the stage of thinking any boat with a pointy bow and white sails was an oddity. Normality had become a boat with a bluff little hull and red sails, sailed by people who race for fun. And Dromineer is the ideal spot for them. After racing at a saltwater venue, you have all the hassle of washing down boat, gear, sails and crew with fresh water. But that simply doesn't come up on the agenda in Dromineer. It's a sweet spot.


Post race Dromineer. At the end of the day, there's no tedious requirement for washing off the salt. Photo: W M Nixon

Published in W M Nixon

#mirrorworlds2013 – There was no Irish victory but consolation that two home campaigns boats finished in the top ten today at the 2013 Mirror World Sailing Championships on Lough Derg, Co. Tipperary. The top Irish boat was Dougie Elmes & Scott Levie in sixth after a great series that included two race wins with Alfie Wisdom and Sam Warren in tenth.

It was all still to play for today in the final day of racing. Two boats were still in with a shout and separated by just three points; Ryan & Michaela Robinson from South Africa and Ridgely Ballardes & Rommel Chavez from the Philippines with the Robinsons holding a few more aces due to better discards.

A nice bright breezy morning greeted the 182 sailors with 15-18 knots when boats launched but rain with plenty of wind shifts was forecast. The fleet got away eventually on the third start, not before about eight boats had fallen foul of black flag on general recall at the second start. UK's Robert Bellfield & Sally Lorrimer tied up but biggest casualty was Ireland's Dougie Elmes who had been lying 5th overall. Middle of line looked most favoured before the fleet moved to left side of course up the first beat. The wind lightened and not as many white horses were evident. The first boats to show were Jeremy & Lauren Stephens from the UK, South Africa's Robinson & Robinson, Isabel Davies & Milly Moss and Ireland's Shane McLoughlin & Ben Jennings. The first boat around was Ballardes & Chavez who were certainly doing all that could be asked at this stage, closely followed by Stephens & Stephens, Davies & Moss and Robinson & Robinson. McLoughlin & Jennings went round 7th with locals Alfie Wisdom & Sam Warren about 12th, ahead of Cian Hickey & Caolin Cosadell.

A tight situation was unfurling at top of the leader board and with the wind increasing a great spectacle with a number of capsizes. With fleet spread across the course down to bottom mark, Ballardes & Chavez were still leading but Robinson & Robinson were very much in touch around the bottom mark. The leaders initially went left but seemed to have settled on the middle, with Sarah Richards and her son George now very much in the mix. With the top three boats in the series up near the front, this race was turning into a real battle. Stephens & Stephens were now leading as they approached the weather mark for the second time, with now in second with Katie Davies & Gemma Keers in 4th. Ballardes & Chavez seemed to have dropped back to 7th behind Hickey & Cosadell who were having a great race.

The wind picked up as the lead boats went down the close reach, with Davies & Keers broaching but making a fantastic recovery. Richards & Richards, currently 3rd overall had dropped back to about 11th. The final legs could be key to the destination of the title. If Robinson & Robinson kept a few boats between themselves and Ballardes & Chavez then it would make it very difficult for the Philippine boat. With leaders around the final mark, Stephens & Stephens held off Davies & Kerr and then Robinson & Robinson. Best of the Irish were Hickey & Cosadell in 6th.

The first attempt at Race 2 was AP'd when a huge rain cloud descended and PRO Con Murphy held off starting for five minutes. The next attempt was a black flag and general recall with four numbers on the blackboard and a few boats heading for an early bath. First to go were David Johnston & Rory McEvoy from Ireland but then as boats readied for the one minute it became apparent that Robinson & Robinson had sails down and tied up beside a support boat. They had been black flagged also. It was only when the fleet got away clear that a cheer went up on support boat behind starting line along with the South African flag. The other boat black flagged was Ballardes & Chavez and the Mirror Worlds title was heading to South Africa for the first time. The new champions Ryan and Michaela Robinson stayed around the course to watch the concluding race.

With Ballardes & Chavez now out, the battle was on for second and third place. Richards & Richards, the initial leaders looked to be out on left hand side of the course. Kerri-Ann Boylan & Ros Morgan and Wisdom & Warren, all from Ireland, were strong early on. Boylan & Morgan were first to the weather mark to a rousing cheer from the Irish supporters. Closely followed by David & Edward Coady from the UK, Wisdom & Warren, Richards & Richards and Davies & Keers. After the reach Richards & Richards and Coady & Coady were having a major battle having passed Boylan & Morgan. Widsom & Warren were fighting hard to hold onto 4th place. In to the finish it was neck and neck between Richards & Richards and Coady & Coady with the latter taking the win. A great cheer greeted the two Irish boats Boylan & Morgan who took 3rd and Wisdom & Warren that placed 4th. However transpired that Boylan & Morgan were OCS so 3rd went to Wisdom & Warren.

That battle down the final stretch gave runner up spot to Sarah Richards and her son George with two other UK boats filling 3rd; Katie Davies & Gemma Keers and Isabel Davies & Milly Moss in 4th, Ridegly Ballardes and Rommel Chavez from the Philippines took 5th. Then top Irish boat was Dougie Elmes & Scott Levie in 6th after a great series that included two race wins with Alfie Wisdom and Sam Warren in 10th making it two Irish boats in Top 10.

Published in Mirror
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#mirrorworlds2013 – Top Irish Douglas Elmes and Scott Levie are in fifth overall, some 25 points adrift of the South African leaders going into the final rounds of the Mirror World Sailing Championships on Lough Derg in County Tipperarty today. 

Day 4 of the Championships and the weather forecast for Lough Derg was more amenable that had been expected. Boats launched in incessant rain with a light southerly breeze. The first race took three attempts as has become the norm for first race. Third time lucky and all got away with Ridegly Ballardes from the Philippines took the left side of the course along with Ireland's Alfie Wisdom and the UK's Robert Bellfield. As the leg progressed the left side certainly looked like it was paying off with Sarah Richards (GBR), Ridgely Balladares and Ryan Robinson from South Africa following suit. Douglas Elmes (IRL) took the middle but certainly looked separated from the leaders during the early stages. Aside from Alfie Wisdom the best Irish at this point was Jack Maye who was also on left side of the course.

Sarah Richardson was first to weather mark followed by Ryan Robinson and Ridgely Balladares. A few boat lengths later was Nigel Thomas from the UK and local Alfie Wisdom who was having a great leg. The left side certainly paid off with right hand side boats well back at weather mark. Down the spinnaker leg Isabel Davies and Katies Davies started to make a move on the leaders. With the wind starting to increase and visibility reducing with the rain it was hard to see where the leaders were coming from during the early part of the upwind leg. Sarah Richards seemed to go right with most of the others up the middle. Nigel Thomas and Alfie Wisdom had now overtaken Ridegly Ballardes however Sarah Richards had extended her lead at second weather mark and held it to the finish. A battle ensued between Nigel Thomas, Ridegly Ballardes and Ireland's Alfie Wisdom down the reach and spinnaker leg with Thomas and Wisdom eventually taking 2nd and 3rd respectively . Overnight leader Ryan Robinson sailed conservatively and finished in 6th while Douglas Elmes who had been 5th overall could only manage an 18th. Ireland's Kerri-Ann Boylan had a storming race and took 9th to be second Irish boat home. The wind picked up at the end and a number of backmarkers capsized with a few retiring before the second race.

The second race got away the first time with wind steady about 180 degrees. At the pin end David Coady from the UK had a great start followed closely by Rachel Grayson, Esme Shepard and Ridegly Ballardes. With the rain now belting down it looked like the fleet were favouring left side again. Rachel Grayson was the clear leader up the beat with Douglas Elmes now showing alongside Ridegly Ballardes, Robert Belfield, Sarah Richards and Katie Davies. Alfie Wisdom looked like the next Irish boat but he had to do penalty turns and was slow away from the mark. The PRO called for weather mark to be moved further out for next beat as fleet made their way down to bottom mark in a lightening breeze. The lead boats maintained their positions around bottom mark but Rachel Grayson had extended her lead. Series leader Ryan Robinson had been sailing conservatively and at times looked like it was not flying a spinnaker but was still in contact with the top five. Rachel Grayson came out of the right hand side of beat with Sarah Richards, Katie Davies and Ryan Robinson, while Douglas Elmes and Ridegly Ballardes took the middle left.

Rachel Grayson rounded weather mark for the last time with further extended lead with clearly the minor placing between the next five or six boats. Douglas Elmes seemed to get round second followed by Sarah Richards and Katie Davies. The latter had a great leg and got ahead of Douglas Elmes at bottom mark and moved in to second place as they rounded for the short beat to the finish. Douglas Elmes was also under pressure from Ridegly Ballardes and had to be satisfied with a 4th while Sarah Richards finished 5th. Overall leader Ryan Robinson seemed happy to not get too engaged and finished 9th and with a second discard kicking in he still leads.

Published in Mirror
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#2013mirrorworlds – Leading Irish contenders, Douglas Elmes and Scott Levie have jumped three places to be second overall after eight races at the Mirror World Championships on Lough Derg yesterday. The Royal Cork helmsman is 21 points adrift of the lead held by South Africa's Ryan and Michaela Robinson as only eight points separate Royal Cork's Elmes and sixth place.

Day 3 and PRO Con Murphy made it clear from start he was going to try and get 4 races in, especially after losing a race on Tuesday and with an uncertain forcast for Thursday and Friday.

However, with over eager sailors and a few big shifts, the first race only got going on 4th attempt. The fleet was reduced as a number of sailors fell foul of black flag on the recalled 3rd start.

Irish boat Jack Ryan got a corker of a start and along with fellow Irish sailor Dougie Elmes, the pair lead the field down the first leg swapping places but keeping rest of field at bay. South African Ryan Robinson and GBR Isabel Davis fought over other placings around top mark and down the spinnaker leg. Irish sailor Jack Maye dragged himself up into 7th.

A steady enough breeze saw Dougie Elmes and Jack Ryan consolidate top two positions for an Irish 1, 2 and great start to day 3 for the Irish. SA Ryan Robinson consolidated his series lead with a 4th.

The second race started under black flag, and the fleet heeded the warning and got away clear. Dougie Elmes again stormed up the beat for another top 3 position but SA Ryan Robinson was again not far away but out of the left (Aus ) Tim Pilbeam led at first weather mark and never lost the lead all the way to the finish. There was a ding dong battle all the way to the line between GBR Sarah Richards, Dougie Elmes (IRL), Ridgely Ballardes (PHI) and SA Ryan Robinson leaving the South African leading the series now from Ireland Dougie Elmes with Sarah Richards (GBR) in third.

With wind freshening all the time up to 18 knots, the 3rd race under black flag got away clear. The chop and stronger wind now was making life difficult for some of the fleet with capsizes and broaches across the course. SA Ryan Robinson was again to the fore on first beat, closely followed by GBR Katie Davis and Ridgely Ballardes (PHI). Alfie Wisdom and Tiarnan Dickson were best of the Irish with a strong 4th and 6th place down the spinnaker leg but Dougie Elmes was struggling to stay in top 20. GBR Katie Davis took lead on downwind and never lost it with SA Ryan Robinson clearly delighted with a 2nd to consolidate their series lead. PHI Ridgely Ballardes came late on last 2 legs to pick up a very valuable 3rd place. Best Irish was Alfie Wisdom who worked hard to take a 4th.

With the wind now constant at 18 knots the 4th race was always going to be a struggle for the less experienced and younger crews. PRO Con Murphy went into sequence with another black flag start that ensured a clean start and recovered Tuesday's lost race. There was only one boat going to win this race and SA Ryan Robinson clearly in form roared up the beat and never looked back and extended his lead at every mark. Again Dougie Elmes struggled early on but managed to claw his way up to 11th and ensure Ireland would have a boat in the mix going to Day 4. GBR Sarah Richards had a great race to take 2nd and along with Joanna Calderon (3rd) and Katie Davis (5th) ensured a good day for GBR. Ridgely Ballardes (PHI) had a capsize and ultimately retired but still lies in top 5 heading to Thursday.

SA Ryan Robinson now looks to have a formidable lead at the top of the table adding a race win to an already very consistent results card. Ireland Dougie Elmes lies 2nd, closely followed by Katie Davis, Sarah Richards (GBR) and Ridgely Ballardes (PHI) with hard to see a winner outside these 5 but clearly South Africa's Ryan Robinson is favourite at this stage.

With 8 points between 2nd and 6th this looks like it will go to the wire for the minor placings with Irelands Dougie Elmes having a great regatta.

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#mirrorworlds – Royal Cork pair Douglas Elmes and Scott Levie continue to lead Irish hopes after Day 2 and four races of the Mirror World Sailing Championships on Lough Derg, Dromineer, Co. Tipperary today. The pair are in fifth place overall and 14 points off the overall lead held by South African's Ryan and Michaela Robinson. 

Race 3, the first race of the day, began with a total of three general recalls and two race abandonments due to severely quick shifting winds. Eventually, sixth time lucky, the fleet were clear and the race finally got under way. Finishing yesterday in 3rd overall, Sarah Richards and her son George (GBR) took the win in this race followed by Katie Davies & Gemma Keers (GBR) in second and father and daughter Jeremy and Lauren Stephens in third (GBR).

Race 2 got off first time under a black flag. Up the middle seemed to be the optimum tactic in the steady 18 knots breeze. First to weather mark were Davies & Keers followed closely by Nigel Thomas & Felix Jefferies (GBR), Ridgeley Ballardes & Rommel Chavez (PHI) and first Irish boat; 15 year olds Dougie Elmes & Scott Levie. With less squalls than earlier but wind of around 20 knots, the leading pack swapped places down to the leeward mark.

Up the second beat with wind now gusting 25 knots Ireland's Elmes & Levie fought their way into 2nd place just rounding the weather mark ahead of Ballardes & Chavez. Davies & Keers had extended their lead at the second weather mark and chose not to fly the spinnaker on the reaching leg. One of the leading GBR boats Sarah Richards and her son George were not far behind the leading pack, and having won the first race of the day, are major contenders for this championship. South Africa's brother and sister duo; Ryan & Michaela Robinson were also in this pack and will be also one to watch over the week. The pair were leaders after Day 1 and Ryan arrived at this event straight from ISAF Youth Worlds where he competed in 420 class. Three other Irish boats were in leading 15 included Jack Maye & Sarah White, Cian Hickey & Caolin Cosadell and Alfie Wisdom & Sam Warren.

Only four or five boats in the top 30 flew spinnakers on the reach. With a lot of capsized back markers his may have been a wise move. Dougie Elmes fought hard to maintain his second place spot but was caught by his Philipino rivals before the finish. The Richards' consolidated a strong start to the event to finish 15th following their victory in Race 3 today. With wind constantly between 20 and 25 knots and quite a few retirees, the PRO called the fleet temporarily ashore after the second race of the day. However,with no reduction in wind the fleet did not venture out for a third race.

Only four or five boats in the top 30 flew spinnakers on the reach. With a lot of capsized back markers his may have been a wise move. Dougie Elmes fought hard to maintain his second place spot but was caught by his Philipino rivals before the finish. The Richards' consolidated a strong start to the event to finish 15th following their victory in Race 3 today. Withwind constantly between 20 and 25 knots and quite a few retirees, the PRO called the fleet temporarily ashore after the second race of the day. However,with no reduction in wind the fleet did not venture out for a third race.

All results are provisional.

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#mirrorworlds – Royal Cork Yacht Club pairing Douglas Elmes and Scott Levie are top Irish boat after day one of the 91-boat Mirror World Championships at Dromineer on Lough Derg today. This is the first time a world sailing championship has been held on the inland waters of Ireland.

Leading after the day's two races are the Robinson siblings from the UK, second overall is fellow British pairing David and Edward Coady and third are mother and son Sarah and George Richards.

Racing began late this morning in squally, rainy conditions with gusts reaching as high as 20 knots. The 91 boat fleet got off to a clear start for Race 1 but three teams in particular clearly dominated from the beginning. Leading around the first mark were David and Edward Coady from the UK followed closely by mother and son duo Sarah and George Richards, also from the UK, and Ridgely Balladares and Rommel Chavez from the Philippines. Try as they might, none of the other sailors were able to catch the three pairings but competition for the prestige of first race win was fierce. Battling hard and coming up from behind, it was ultimately Balladares and Chavez from the Philippines that took the win followed Richards and Richards in 2nd with Coady and Coady 3rd.

Local Lough Derg Yacht Club sailors Alfie Wisdom and Sam Warren were the first Irish boat, finishing in 5th.

The breeze died down slightly, the clouds parted and the sun emerged for Race 2. As the fleet rounded the first mark it was the Irish that were dominating by taking the lead and also filling two more of the top five spots. Young Douglas Elmes and his crew Scott Levie from Cork made a break and left the rest of the fleet behind, all except for siblings Ryan and Michaela Robinson from South Africa who tailed them frantically. In a hotly fought game of skill and tactics it was eventually the Corkonians who reigned supreme winning Race 2 and finishing Day 1 in 4th overall and the highest placed Irish boat.

182 sailors in 91 boats began were are competing today on Lough Derg. Sailors have travelled to Lough Derg Yacht Club from the UK, Australia, the Philippines, South Africa, Canada, Sweden as well as parts of Ireland to compete in this highly respected two-man dinghy regatta. The biennial regatta was last held in Australia in 2011 and will be hosted by South Africa in 2015.

Racing continues until Friday.

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#mirror – Lough Derg Yacht Club in Dromineer, North Tipperary, will host the Mirror World Sailing Championship, the first world sailing championship to be held on the inland waters of Ireland. As well as identifying the Club's facilities and central location, this honour significantly recognises the achievement of the Club in hosting sailing competitions of this calibre in the past; the Club staged the European Mirror Sailing Championship in 2004.

Simon Coveney, Minister of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, will officially open the Championship on Sunday evening July 28. As a former Mirror Dinghy Champion, Minister Coveney maintains a keen interest in the sport. The Mirror World Sailing Championships in association with IPB Insurance and Waterways Ireland, will be one of the leading sporting Gathering events for the Tipperary Region.

The championships are held every two years, in 2011 they were held in Australia, and in 2015 they will be held in South Africa. It is anticipated that eighty boats will compete with sailors travelling from the UK, Australia, the Philippines, South Africa, Canada, Denmark, and all parts of Ireland.

Lough Derg Yacht Club has a long association with the Mirror Class; Club members Peter Bayly and his cousin William Atkinson won the Mirror World Championships held at Howth in 2001. Ireland has won the Mirror Worlds in South Africa in 1999, in Tasmania in 2003, and in 2011 Ross Kearney and his crew Max Odell from the Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club, won the World Championship in Australia, having achieved the European title the same year.

In 2011 LDYC sailors Alfie Wisdom and his crew Sam Warren won the Mirror Nationals, and with his Australian crew Harry Sutcliffe-Woelders, Alfie finished 24th in the World Championship in Australia earlier that year.

Our current Olympian sailor, Annalise Murphy, competed in the Waterways Ireland Mirror European Championships when they were held here on Lough Derg in 2004, Ms. Murphy's father, Con Murphy, is the Principal Race Officer for this championship. Lough Derg, a fresh water, non-tidal lake, will provide competitive and challenging racing, on courses set by Mr. Murphy and his Racing Committee.

Ian Roberts, and his team on the event committee, have been working hard for the past eighteen months organizing a championship that is hoped competitors and their families will find memorable, both on and off the water.

The packed social calendar begins at the launch of the Championship, Sunday July 28, where visitors will hear pipe Major Joe Barry of the Thomas McDonagh Pipe Band, (the band celebrates its Golden Jubilee this year). Dedicated volunteers are even selecting and picking the best elderflower from the hedgerows to make elderflower cordial for the opening ceremony, wine will also be available.

In addition to its reputation for providing racing in a beautiful setting, Lough Derg Yacht Club is renown for the care and hospitality it extends to its visitors: brewed coffee and home baked scones will be served in the clubhouse each morning and there will be bring your own BBQs in the evenings. An Irish Dancing night, a Céilí Mór, has been organized, where we hope to teach our visitors a few steps. The social calendar will conclude with our Nations Night where all the visiting teams will take a turn to perform for the host nation.

Our guests will also have the opportunity to experience A taste of Tipperary, where local produce, from hog roast to the best of Tipperary Beef, and other such gastronomic delights, will be showcased.

The classic boat, the Shannon One Design, an 18ft clinker built wooden vessel, is the emblematic dinghy sailed at Lough Derg since 1922, and we will provide our visitors an opportunity to race in these dinghies whilst they are here.

The Ku-ee-tu Water Bus, (an original liferaft to the QE11), helmed by Teddy Knight, a former commodore of Lough Derg Yacht Club, will be available each day to bring spectators out to the race area and if the wind fails us, will have a rounders pitch in the field.

So that visitors are fully aware of the attractions to sight see in the region, we will have a tourist office on site throughout the Championship. Birr Castle is offering a two for one concession on visits to their world famous gardens and new Tree house.

As well as seeing the historic sites in the region, we will be encouraging our visitors to visit Nenagh, an active market town that offers great shopping, located only eight kilometres from Dromineer.

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