The 2014 Mirror National Championships were held at a resplendent Sligo Yacht Club from August 7th-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. Results:
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 and LRYC] Bronze
I[ Muiris Fitzgerald / Ellen O’ Dwyer [SYC]
2] Sarah White / Matthew White [SYC]
3[ Hannah Raftery / Ben Kelly [SYC] ISA website