by Rob Cruse
The 48th Mirror National Championships has wrapped up with a spectacular days racing in the heart of Sydney Harbour. You might call it 'Ladies Day' with three very tight races conducted and female skippers and crews featuring prominently, in racing that was conducted with the Opera House and Harbour Bridge as backdrops.
National Champions Anita Scott-Murphy and Ben Cruse in "Bob"
Third place overall Mark and Maddison Nash in "Mad Cat" lead race nine
After a total of ten races with eight to count, it was Victorian mother and son team Anita Scott-Murphy and Ben Cruse sailing 'Bob' who were the National Champions with a race to space, carrying all first and second places. Second and third overall wasn't decided until the final race, with Douglas Raftesath and daughter Charlotte in 'Waterborne at Last' edging out Mark and Maddison Nash in 'Mad Cat', both from NSW. Rounding out fourth and fifth overall were Tasmanian teams Marcus McKay and Ruby Smillie in 'Sky III' and Jenny Graney and Ishka McKay in 'Carpe Diem'.
Of the ten competitors that made up the top five boats, two skippers and four crew were female, outnumbering the 'blokes' six to four. Add to this that we have now had three consecutive female national champions (Anita and Ben two years ago and Jessie Atherton sailing with Kath Maher last year), it's pretty clear that the Mirror class is doing its part to support the future of female sailing in Australia...
Junior Championship winners Jai McKay and Ruby Smillie in "Celia May" (69538) cross "One Step Beyond" (69362)
The thirty seven boat fleet featured one of the most competitive junior and sub-junior competitions in recent years, with Jai McKay and Ruby Smillie taking out the Junior Championship and Galen Rowell and Max Herscovics the Sub-Junior.
The Classic Mirror Division was created several years ago around the time that fibreglass mirrors with one piece (bermuda) masts were introduced. The classic fleet caters for wooden hulled gaff rigged boats. Competition this year was fierce, with 'Team McKay' from NSW (Campbell, Benedict and Spencer) taking out the trophy, and placing a very creditable ninth overall.
The growth in the classic fleet and in NSW Mirror sailing is largely the result of a sustained commitment by Stan Bland to get disused wooden Mirrors out of garages and onto the water. This has been centred around the Woollahra Sailing Club, the venue for this years nationals. In recognition of his efforts Stan Bland was awarded the Bill Jaffray Trophy for outstanding service to the Mirror class.
The full list of trophy winners is as follows:
National Champions - Anita Scott Murphy & Ben Cruse 'Bob'
Junior - Jai McKay & Ruby Smillie 'HHSC3'
Sub-Junior - Galen Rowell & Max Herscovics 'HHSC1'
Classic - Campbell, Benedict and Spencer McKay 'McMissile'
Ladies - Jenny Graney & Ishka McKay 'Carpe Diem'
Masters - Ken Barnes & Alex Kingsley 'Storefresh'
Veterans - Douglas and Charlotte Raftesaft 'Waterborne at Last'
Cruiser - Steve Foster & Tish Mooney 'Bad Wolf'
Frank Buxton (Family Crew) - Mark and Madison Nash 'Mad Cat'
Handicap/Encouragement - Francis Brown & William Brown 'Red Belly'
Cliff Scott (Invitation Race) - Anita Scott Murphy & Ben Cruse 'Bob'
Bill Jaffray (For outstanding service to the Mirror Class) - Stan Bland
The Mirror Class has a busy year ahead, with the 49th National Championships scheduled for Somers in Victoria in late December 2014. This is being conducted at the same time as the Mirror World Championships to be held in South Aftrica on the Theewateskloof Dam, just east of Cape Town.
A crush developing at the boat end - start of race eight of the Mirror Australian Championships
Sydney Harbour provided a spectacular backdrop for the 48th Mirror Australian Championships
Mirror Class Association website