by Rob Cruse
The 46th National Championships for the International Mirror Class dinghy has been completed at Williamstown Sailing Club in Melbourne, with Victorian mother / son combination Anita Scott-Murphy and Ben Cruse in 'Bob' comfortably winning the regatta after taking out first place in each heat.
Anita Scott-Murphy and Ben Cruse in "Bob" on their way to a clean sweep in the Mirror Nationals - Mirror Class Australian Championships
In a close tussle for second, another family team (this time father / son) Mark and Hugh Phillips from NSW sailing 'Sponge Bob Square Boat' took out second place overall, after a close final heat with eventual third place boat, Tara Foster and Celia May in 'Jazze' (also from NSW). Mark is also the class boatbuilder in Australia, with his Dinghy Sports hulls filling the first four places.
As always the Mirrors featured a huge range of ages amongst competitors, including three boats with junior skippers and adult crews. A shining example was Optimist sailor turned Mirror skipper Lucy Ede (10 years old) who had her father, Fireball regular Nick sailing up front in 'Hello Kitty'. They took out the Classic trophy (gaff rigged) to the delight of the crowd on presentation night.
Lucky Ede skippering "Hello Kitty" with her father, Fireball regular Nick up front - Mirror Class Australian Championships
Although Anita and Ben managed to record eight straight heat wins to take the National title, it wasn’t all plain sailing as Mark and Hugh Phillips were first over the finish line in Heat 2, only to be scored OCS. As Mark recounted on presentation night, when they crossed the line to a silent finish boat only to see 'Bob' cross behind them and receive the gun, it was 'one of life’s learning experiences' for his son Hugh (age 8). Although their hard work in that heat came to nil, they were still were rewarded for a very consistent regatta with the Frank Buxton family trophy in addition to second overall.
The Mirror class in Australia is now looking forward to the 2012/13 Nationals in Tasmania which will be the selection regatta for the Australian team to the next Mirror World Championships, to be held in Ireland on Lough Derg in July 2013.
Hugh and Mark Phillips in "Sponge Bob Square Boat" - Mirror Class Australian Championships