Day 4 and last day of racing in the Irish Mirror Nationals here in Dromineer and we were back to a beautiful warm and sunny morning with 10-12 knots of breeze. David Dickson continued his morning briefing sessions emphasizing the need to continually check the wind direction, the shift changes and the wind strength on the lake throughout the race. This is an invaluable lesson for next week particularly for those attending first major event away from the sea.
The 2 races were sailed in a mixture of good and sometimes very shift breeze. At the top of the fleet, the Philippine duo stayed ashore as they had an unassailable lead leaving the minor placings a close tussle between the 2 Irish boats of Alfie Wisdom and Cian Hickey and GBR’s Sarah Richards. The day did not disappoint with Cian Hickey, crew to Sutton Dinghy Clubs own Alan Blay when winning 2006 Championship, taking a 1st and a 2nd to pip Alfie and Sarah to 2nd in the Championship. As leading Irish sailor, Cian also became the 2013 Irish Mirror National Champion. Congratulations Cian.
For the Sutton sailors, the day ended with all 4 crews bunched together between 29th and 32nd spot. Shane McLoughlin & Ben Jennings finished the Nationals in 30th position and gained a lot of experience in shifty lake breezes for next weeks event. Sinead Dickson & Eve McMahon sailed very consistently over the 4 days and finished 31st and but for a very unfortunate incident on Day 3 may have finished higher.
The final race became a duel between Conor Twohig & Matthew Cotter and David Johnston & Rory McEvoy for the honor of topping the Silver fleet and it all came down to the second last beat after both boats had been nip and tuck all through the race. With each boat covering each others moves, David covered a tack left by Conor but was forced back right with dirt from other boats resulting in a separation that was to prove key. Conor who had sailed very consistently all week, now had the upper hand and managed to keep the required 3 or 4 boats between himself and David to the finish and finish 29th overall and take Silver fleet. For David & Rory it was a massive learning curve. Rory has come straight out of Optimist and had never crewed in a boat with a jib or spinnaker before last Wednesday let alone a start-line with 68 boats. Well done Rory.
The prize giving was a celebration of a great event run by Lough Derg Yacht Club and International Mirror Association of Ireland (IMAI). Prizes were presented by Commodore of LDYC Dennis Hassey and Brid Hickey the out going president of the IMAI. With 25+ boats to join the 68 who competed here this week, next weeks World Championship will be something to look forward to.