It has been a great day for the family crew pairings on the first day of the 2009 Mirror World Championship in Pwllheli, North Wales. All three races were won by brother and sister or father and son teams. Chris and Jessica Rust from Brightlingsea SC lead the Championship with an impressive 2, 3, 7 scoreline. With only one discard available in the twelve race series, Chris said that he and his sister had adopted a conservative approach on the startline.
Nevertheless they managed to round the top mark in the top ten in all today's races. Downwind they say they focused hard on keeping clear lanes and were able to make gains on leg.
Three points behind in second place overall are twin siblings Ed and Beth Grey who bulleted the first race of the day in fine style. After winning the pin end of the line they were soon able to tack and cross the fleet and rounded the first mark in second place. They took the lead on the first reach and were never challenged from then onwards. Royal Windermere YC members Ed and Beth won the Mirror Swedish Championship in 2008 and said conditions on the water today made for superb sailing. 'The downwind legs were great, with plenty of surfing opportunities.' said Ed. 'Going upwind was more difficult in the monster waves.'
In third place at the end of day one are Hugo Sloper and Emma Spruce from Hillhead SC, who also put together a solidly consistent series. Their pair of fourths backed up with an eighth, leaves them just one point adrift of second overall. Fourth placed Andy and Tom Smith from Notts County Sailing Club pulled off a comprehensive win in the final race, showing some blistering downwind speed to build up a big lead by the finish. Having finished second in race two, only their first race sixteenth marred an otherwise excellent day on the racecourse. Charlotte Fitzgerald and Annie Sibthorp from Itchenor SC won the second race of the day. Their first race seventh and final race eleventh leave them in fifth place overall. The race committee had a real challenge today to get the fleet away cleanly and had to regularly resort to using the dreaded black flag to keep the competitors in check. However despite a shifting breeze and some particularly lumpy conditions they were able to set excellent courses for all three races. With ninety-nine boats racing in the Championship fleet it is no surprise that the International Jury had a clutch of protests to deal with this evening.
Of the Australians, father-and-son team of Paul and Austin Taylor from Princess Royal Sailing Club in Albany, WA, are the best placed in 12th. Liam Wilson and Jessica Stout of Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club in Perth are 20th, while other “Freshy” family sailors Tom and Brittany Henderson and Rex and Andrew Henderson are in 46th and 74th respectively. The lone Williamstown representatives, Anita Scott-Murphy and son Ben Cruse are the third ranked Australians in 22nd place, while another Albany pair, Lawson Taylor and Mitch Sainty are in 61st.
Meanwhile the fourteen strong Beach Worlds fleet were also getting in on the action. A new initiative for the Mirror Class, this division has been introduced to give some championship experience for those sailors who are not quite ready for the cut and thrust of the main fleet. Racing in the sheltered waters just off Abererch Beach the emphasis is on making sure the competitors have a fun day on the water. Judging by the smiling faces on the sailors as they came ashore the first day can be judged a success. The Beach Worlds fleet is very much a part of the overall World Championship regatta and are included in all the onshore activities.
Racing at the 2009 Mirror World Championship continues tomorrow with a later start time of twelve midday and just two races scheduled.