Irish duo take overall win from 101 boats

The 2005 Mirror World Championship saw 101 boats compete at Östersund, Sweden. This must have ranked as one of the most Northern World Championships, some 350 miles north of Stockholm and a mere two hour drive to the Artic Circle.

GBR sent a strong 30-boat team who arrived the previous week for training and venue familiarisation under the expert guidance of RYA Coaches Peter Aitken and Matt McGovern. The Swedish National Championship and Pre-Worlds provided an early guide to performance. GBR boats took the top three places with Robert Struckett and Inge-lisa Hansen winning from John and Jamie Clementson, with Eloise Hansen and Kayleigh Hansen third.

The winning form for Team GBR continued for the first race of the World Championships with National Squad girls Emma Houlihan and Emily MacKenzie taking the gun in a light breeze from Simon McGrotty and Melissa Daly of IRL. Race Two again sailed in a similar breeze using the same custom course. This race saw the Irish start to get into their stride, with Ross Kearney and Adam McCullough winning from Simon and Melissa, the latter winning the Day’s aggregate trophy.

The second day dawned bright with a light breeze, Race Three had to be abandoned as the wind died and the majority of the fleet failed to cross the line within 15 minutes, this was very frustrating for Guy and Joe Wilkins who had found a line of breeze and were close to the windward mark. After a wait the breeze returned but started to die on the second beat, which combined with a chop made forward movement painfully slow. After about an hour the race leaders were near the last mark and it looked comfortable for the fleet to finish within the two hour limit. But as the temperature increased the breeze died with the leaders within boat lengths of the finish line at the time limit, racing was abandoned for the day.

Day Three bought an encouraging forecast of more wind and racing bought forward an hour to fit in three races. Unfortunately heavy drizzle killed the wind and the fleet were kept ashore giving the Race Team some nervous moments with only two races completed and a planned lay day. By lunch the cloud had lifted bringing a light breeze, races three and four were won by father and son team John and Jamie Clementson of GBR and with it the Day prize and the top of the leaderboard. The last race of the day was taken by Ross Kearney and Adam McCullough of IRL.

The Wednesday had been scheduled as an enforced lay day and trip up the mountains planned, with the pressure on to complete the race series this was hastily re-organised for the Thursday to benefit from the moderate breeze. With Team GBR leading, the Irish went into overdrive with Ross Kearney and Adam McCullough making it a hat trick of wins, taking the next two races. The last race of the day (R7) saw Simon McGrotty and Melissa Daly also of IRL win. GBR juniors Josh Rumbol and Tom Lovesey had been sailing consistently moving up to fourth place overall and taking the Day Trophy.

The Thursday saw the fleet enjoy a lay day and a trip to the mountain resort of Äre the venue for the 2007 Alpine World Championship.

Going into the last day, the two top Irish boats and leading GBR were separated by seven points pushing the world championships down to the wire. With a win in the ninth race Simon McGrotty and Melissa Daly made their intentions on the title clear with Ross and Adam second. The last race saw the most breeze of the week, gusting over 20kts with chopping waters to give some tough conditions. In the end Ross and Adam took the race and with it the championship. The Irish pair successfully mastered the variety of conditions from drifters to strong winds, winning half the races and posting regular top ten scores. In second place Simon and Melissa, with John and Jamie third the champions were pushed hard and in the end it was their consistency that won them the championships.

Although Team GBR couldn’t quite win the Championships, they came away with many prizes, including five boats in the top ten, demonstrating the depth of talent in the UK fleet. GBR sailors took two of the individual titles, with Josh Rumbol and Tom Lovesey the Junior World Championship and fourth overall, and top lady helm for Juliet Long, fifth overall. The standard of racing was very high and close, with the majority of the fleet finishing within minutes of each other and being easy to gain/loose tens of places. The Swedish Mirror Association pulled out the stops to organise a fantastic event enjoyed by all. Team GBR have made many new friends and look forward to welcoming them to Poole for the 2006 European Championships, and the next Worlds in South Africa 2007.

Overall Results (provisional)

1 69955 Gee-Czar U19 43 Ross Kearney Adam McCullough IRL 7 1 8 2 1 1 1 (BFD) 2 1 24

2 69917 Balls of Fire U19 41 Simon Mc Grotty Melissa Daly IRL 2 2 5 10 2 -13 6 1 1 7 36

3 70222 Whatever! 18 John Clementson Jamie Clementson GBR 4 3 1 1 9 2 3 21 8 -31 52

4 70263 Ace of Clubs U19 22 Josh Rumbol Tom Lovesey GBR 8 8 -25 8 12 5 2 4 5 14 66

5 70333 Vengeance U19 26 Juliet Long Richard Long GBR (DSQ) 11 3 13 4 4 7 5 11 9 67

6 70281 Molly U19 29 Craig Bond Mitchell Bond GBR 22 13 -23 9 8 3 12 6 3 3 79

7 70225 Still thinking U16 59 Doire Shiels Graham Daly IRL 3 23 4 4 -24 14 4 3 13 20 88

8 70347 Logical U19 28 Peter Gray Rachel Williamson GBR 17 20 2 3 3 9 15 16 -42 10 95

9 70342 Vigilante 7 2 Nick Davis John Collova AUS 28 9 11 22 7 10 -31 11 6 12 116

10 69842 U19 47 Ronan Cull Conall Kinsella IRL 18 -31 6 16 5 22 17 8 21 15 128