Six junior Mirror sailors recently travelled down to Pwllheli in Wales to compete in the UK Mirror Nationals over three days and the Mirror Worlds over five days.
They were Craig Forrest and Calum Mustard sailing O’Hoy, Rory Goodlad and Karl Eldridge in Leiraness and Soul Swanson and Fraser McKenzie in Knab.
After a day of compulsory measuring, racing for the National Championships began in testing conditions, with a 15-20 knot south-westerly wind and a 1.5 metre short choppy sea, although bright sunshine and an air temperature of 25 degrees made it quite pleasant. The sailing area was about two miles offshore in Tremadog Bay, which meant quite a long sail just to reach the start.
Eighty-nine boats started the one and only race of the day, which was due to the conditions. O’Hoy broke her rudder blade on the way to the race area and therefore did not compete, Leiraness finished 52nd and Knab 53rd. Knab broke her rudder stock on the way back from the race area, resulting in a lot of repair work before day two.
On day two the wind had eased to a 10-15 knot south-westerly and the sea state had reduced to a one metre short chop, with three races sailed back to back, again about two miles from shore.
In race two O’Hoy finished 64th, Knab was black flagged and subsequently disqualified and Leiraness failed to cross the start line properly and received a DNC score.
In race three O’Hoy finished 69th, Knab and Leiraness received DNF scores for not crossing the finish line in the correct direction.
In race four, O’Hoy finished in 67th place after suffering extensive damage to her port side at the hands of a South African boat on the wrong tack. Leiraness was 76th and Knab 77th.
Day three dawned again with an air temperature of 27 degrees, the wind had eased to 8-12 knots and the sea state had reduced to about a 0.5 metre medium chop, with four races sailed back to back on the same race area as before.
On each of the previous races, the black flag rule had been used after a general recall, but at the start of race five, again there was a general recall and subsequently the black flag rule was used on all further starts that day. O’Hoy, after some emergency repairs with Duck Tape finished in 67th position with Leiraness 74th and Knab 77th. Conditions for race six were the same as race five and O ‘Hoy finished 65th, Leiraness 76th and Knab 73rd.
By the time race seven started it had clouded over and the temperature had dropped to a cooler 23 degrees. The wind and sea remained the same. O’Hoy finished in their poorest position so far 74th, Leiraness 76th and Knab 78th.
In the eighth and last race of the Nationals, O’Hoy finished 60th, Leiraness 69th and Knab 72nd.
With one discard, that gave O Hoy an overall position of 70th, Leiraness 78th and Knab 79th.
There was a lay day on the Sunday before the start of the Worlds, which gave us the chance to get O’Hoy to a local boat builder for a slightly more permanent repair.
O’Hoy was the only Shetland boat entered in the Worlds, with Leiraness and Knab being entered in the Beach Worlds, an event incorporating some coaching for the slightly less experienced sailors, and some fun events. Racing for the Worlds started on Monday with O Hoy finishing 85th in race one, 73rd in race two and 75th in race three. In the junior standings they finished 28th, 23rd and 23rd.
Day two was a complete washout with winds gusting over 30 knots and torrential rain so all sailing was cancelled.
Day three dawned with conditions completely reversed, so much so that racing was postponed for two and a half hours while they waited for a light breeze to fill in from the north-west, eventually reaching six knots. They eventually got two races sailed and O’Hoy finished 80th and 65th in the main fleet and 28th and 24th in the junior standings.
On day four started overcast but brightened up as the day went on, the wind 13-15 knots south-westerly again with a 1.5 metre choppy sea and an air temperature of 16 degrees.
O’Hoy’s luck changed for the worse again in the first race of the day when the lashing holding the main to the top of the yard broke and the mainsail fell down, which meant that they did not finish the race, they also missed the start of the second race as they could not get it repaired quick enough.
Their bad luck continued in the next two races when in race four they were caught on the wrong tack and were hit and damaged and had to take turns. They eventually finished 80th in the main fleet and 25th in the junior standing.
In the last race of the day they capsized and lost a lot of place,s finishing 74th in the main fleet and 21st in the junior standing. That turned out to be the last race of the event as the weather on day five turned nasty again with wind strength in excess of 25 knots, overcast and a temperature of 13 degrees. That gave O’Hoy an overall position of 87th and 28th in the junior rankings.
Meanwhile Leiraness and Knab had been racing in the Beach Worlds competition on an inshore course, just off the beach, in a fleet of 14 boats. Over the three days of racing Leiraness finished in seventh position and Knab in 10th.
All the competitors and the Shetland Sailing Centre wish to thank all their sponsors: NorthLink Ferries, Malakoff Ltd, Bolts Car Hire, The Sea Door Ltd, Net Services, The Alistair Jackson Trust, Hjatland Seafoods, Valhalla Brewery, Shetland Soap Company and The Shetland Times Ltd. Without their help the trip would not have been possible, a spokesman said.