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Woman sailor heading for a rare double at Mirror Championship

by Grant Atherton and Peter Campbell on 1 Jan 2013
Jess Atherton & Kath Maher plough through a wave in Kamikaze - 2012 Australian Internatonal Mirror championships © Bob Cruse
Young Hobart sailor Katherine Maher is on track to achieving a unique winning double this week – crewing aboard Launceston to Hobart winning yacht Moonshadow and then jumping ship at Constitution Dock to join Jessie Atherton in a strong bid to win the Australian International Mirror championship.

In a duel between two women skippers, Atherton and Maher, sailing Kamikaze, have won four straight races and scored a second to lead Anita Scott-Murphy and Ben Cruse, sailing Bob, by two points after six races at Montrose Bay Yacht Club on the upper reaches of Hobart’s River Derwent.


Kamiikaze’s first race led to a disqualification which has been their discard, while the Victorian crew have scored two wins and four seconds.

In the Launceston to Hobart Race, Katherine Maher was one of two women in the crew of Anthony Ellis’ Lotus 10, Moonshadow which won the PHS division on corrected time and placed third in the AMS division. While Ellis and his crew celebrated at yesterday’s L2H trophy presentation at the Derwent Sailing Squadron, Maher was back racing the Mirror dinghy, and also winning.

Mirror championship PRO Garry Kennedy took the opportunity to sail three races yesterday, which almost guarantees the full scheduled number of eight will be achieved for the National Championships.

The theme of the first two days was repeated with the two leading women skippers sharing the race wins between them and opening up a significant gap on the rest of the field.

Atherton and Maher won the first two races, with the first race being shortened at the windward mark on the final lap, with Scott-Murphy and Cruse coming second in races 4 and 5 but going one better in race 6 to take the win comfortably from the Hobart women.

After race 5 was sailed the first discard was allowed, allowing Kamikaze to drop the 21 points from its race 1 disqualification and move into the overall lead.

The two women skippers are certainly showing the men how to sail a Mirror, with Kamikaze and Bob sharing first and second places in every race except for the race 1 disqualification of Kamikaze, when they were second over the line.

Conditions on Monday were again typical of what was experienced on the first two days, strong currents, big shifts but generally NW to SW winds and again huge variations in speeds from almost calm to 20 knots.


The whole fleet is handling the conditions well, with the lessons from the first two days resulting in fewer capsizes and better understanding of the Montrose conditions.

Bulletproof (Simon and Sidonia Barwood) had a consistent day with a 3,5,3 return in yesterday’s three races to move into overall third place, displacing Storefresh (Ken Barnes and Alex Kingsley) which is currently leading the Masters Division.

Just Do It (Ethan Prieto-Low and James Stout) started the day well with a fourth, but then slipped with a 10th and a ninth in the following two races, but are still fifth overall and leading the Junior Division.

Masters sailors Mark Barrington and Celia May in Kamikaze II have now found the 'go switch' after a pair of 12th placings in races 1 and 2 they have put together 4,8,4, and 4 to be in sixth overall.

Hard luck story had to be Foxy Lady III (John and Tim Andrewartha) who were quick out the blocks and found the best track to the first mark to round in second place only to have their spinnaker pole snap into two pieces – handy for martial arts maybe, but not being able to fly their spinnaker cost them as they slipped back to 12th by the end of the race.

In seventh and eighth after the six races are two of the Classic (Gunter rig) boats, with Stealth (Andrew Keil and Hayden Green) holding down seventh by two points from Sky III (Marcus and Ishka McKay) who are doing well considering they are also using the older style spinnaker.


Yesterday’s results are provisional because of protests, but none of the top boats are involved.

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