Friday, January 7, 2011

Day 5 - 2011 Mirror World Championships

With only 5.2 points separating the top 2 boats the final day of the 2011 Mirror Worlds started with an air of expectation with the dinghy park buzzing about the battle that would commence shortly to determine the World Champion. 

Lively conditions greeted the competitors again with the competitors growing to expect the fresh wind in Albany.  The course was bathed in sunshine. 

Race 14 go underway with the Black Flag which seems to have become the constant in the racing.  The restart was an even start with the Philippinos, Balladares and Chavez at the boat with the competition leader mid-line sailing up the middle with the British girls trailing.  By the top mark, Australian mother and son team Anita Scott-Murphy and Ben Cruse rounded first followed by Australians Lachlan and Finn Gilbert with the overmight leaders, Irishman Ross Kearney and team mate Max Odell in close pursuit with the GBR girls burried back in the fleet rounding around 20th position. 

As usual, the Race Committee had set a perfect course which provided excellent entertainment for the spectator fleet which had congregated at the top of the course. 

It was a great run down to the gate with the Scott-Murphy and Cruse flying and leading out to the right followed by the Gilberts with Kearney working hard in third with Australian Mark and Hugh Phillips fourth and Balladares and Chavez in fifth.

Winner of both races on Day 5, Australians Lachlan and Finn Gilbert

From that point, the Gilberts surged to the front around the outer loop and established a commanding lead winning to Scott-Murphy and Cruse with Kearney and Odell in third and appearing to have one hand on the World Championship.  The British girls showed grit and determination to sail back into 6th position after being burried early. 

Race 15 got away under the Blue Peter with Laclan and Finn Gilbert starting at the pin boat which paid big dividends as he rounded first followed by the young Australians Robbie Hunt and David McAully second and Simon Barwood third with the South Africas Ryan and Ricky Robinson fouth and the Philippinos Balladares and Chavez quick with the kite set as usual and immediately on the plane. 

Kearney and Odell were 8th around the top mark with the GBR girls again burried in the chasing pack in the mid-teens. 

The Gilberts had scooted to a 40 boat length lead went right at the gate with Balladares and Chavez with Kearney and Odell third and looking every bit World Champions. 

By the finish, the Gilberts had won convincingly by over 40 boat lengths to Ross Kearney and Max Odell with Australia's John and Jesse Dransfield in third. 

There were cheers of celebration from the large spectator fleet that had gathered as Kearney and Odell secured their World Championship win. 

2011 Mirror World Champion, Ross Kearney and Max Odell

Overall results are:
  1. Ross Kearney and Max Odell (IRL) 38.6
  2. Ridgely Balladares and Rommel Chavez (PHI) 52
  3. Millie Newman and Jessica Rust (GBR) 54
  4. Ryan and Ricky Robinson (RSA) 67
  5. Lachlan and Finn Gilbert (AUS) 68

Millie Newman and Jessica Rust (GBR)

Lachlan and Finn Gilbert (AUS)

Millie Newman and Jessica Rust (GBR)

Matthew and Benjamin Lulham-Robonson

Silver Fleet
  1. Don Jhon Cabaries and Gabriel Fetizanan (PHI)
  2. Alfie Wisdom and Harry Sutcliffe-Woelders (IRL)
  3. Emma and Rachel Grayson (GBR)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Day 4 LandCorp 2011 Mirror Worlds

Day 4 of the 2011 LandCorp Mirror Worlds started with a fresh sou-westerly with the fleet bathed in sunshine.  Hard work was the motto of the day for sailors in the 15-18 knot breeze. 

Clean start

A clean start was the order of the day, with most of the fleet going to the left.  By the top mark, the Championship leaders, GBR's Millie Newman and Jessica Rust rounded first followed by the Irishmen Ross Kearney and Max Odell and the Philippino pair Balladares and Chavez. 

The GBR girls, Newman and Rust

It was a splendid race with the British girls leading at the bottom gate and going right with the Irishman.  The Philippinos chose to go left.  the young South African Ryan Robinson with older brother Ricky as crew came through in fourth with a gap to the rest of the fleet. 

By the time they came round the bottom mark for the last time, the Philippinos Balladares and Chavez had surged to the lead followed by Newman and Rust with the Kearney and Robinson trailling. 

Great conditions for sailing

The reach provided perfect planing conditions and the boats were off racing to mark four on the trapezoid and it appeared the Philippinos were going to take this one, rounding the mark in front of the GBR teenagers.  Both boats went right with Kearney going left followed by Robinson.

Kearney coming back from the left to win

Without any cover, Kearney was able to get through to take the finish bullet with Newman and Rust second and Balladares and Chavez fourth. 

Race 12 got away after a Black Flag with most of the fleet punching out to the left with GBR girls Newman and Rust first, the Philippinos second and Australian Lachlan and Finn Gilbert third. 


The GBR girls flew down the run and built up a 20 boat length lead followed by Gilbert with the Irishman Kearney in third with a pack following. 

The beat saw the Australian girls, Jessie Atherton and Katherine Maher sailing into second place behind the GBR girls with the Balladares, Gilbert and Kearney chasing. 

Both all girl boats maintained their positions to finish one-two with Kearney third. 

Race 13 followed after a lunch break with the breeze still consistent at 15 knots and the sun still providing ideal conditions.  The fleet got away under the Blue Peter with Balladares and Chavez reveling in the conditions with a chase group including Atherton, Newman, Robinson, Kearney and former Fireball hotshot, John Dransfield. 

Close to the finish of the reach the GBR's girls were called under Rule 42 for pumping by the Jury and did a penalty remaining with the pack. 

By the bottom gate the race order had settled with the Balladares and Chavez assuming a commanding lead with the GBR's Newman and Rust ahead of a tight pack which included Atherton, Robinson and Kearney and Australians Greg and Ben Field. 

The windward and return on the outer loop didn't see much change to the pecking order with Balladares and Chavez, followed by Atherton and Maher, Newman and Rust with Kearney and Odell fourth.

Is it cold in there!

However, just as it appeared that the British girls were marching towards a World Championship, drama unfolded as they were disqualified for not completing their penalty properly.  They only completed one circle out of a two-circle penalty and all their efforts resulted in a 62 DSQ.  This changed the race results and the complexion of the World Championship. 

With 13 races and 2 drops the results are:
  1. Ross Kearney and Max Odell (IRL) 34.8
  2. Millie Newman and Jessica Rust (GBR) 40
  3. Ridgely Balladares and Rommel Chavez (PHI) 43
  4. Ryan and Ricky Robinson (RSA) 46
  5. Paul and Austin Taylor (AUS) 66
Two races remain with the World Championship wide open.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Day 3 2011 Landcorp Mirror Worlds

When the competitors arrived today for the start of day three, there was little breeze and warm sunshine which bathed the competitors.  By the time the boats took to the water, the breeze had picked up from the north bringing a warm breeze to the middle of Princess Royal Harbour. 

The Philippinos at their favoured position on the boat

Race 8 took a while to get off, with 2 postponements and a Black Flag frustrating the fleet.  There was an even spread along the line and Paul and Austin Taylor rolled the dice and started on port tack with the young British pair, Matthew and Ben Lulham-Robinson following quickly behind.  Both boats were at the front in the top mark roundings. 

The Black Flag - seeing too much action

The British girls were back in the fleet at the top rounding but as they have demonstrated all regatta, their boat handling is second to none and their kite hoist and ability to get planing sooner than other boats had them reeling in the leaders. 

Kearney and Odell take the gun

The warm breeze was a delight to sail in and the competitors reveled in the superb conditions.  Kearney and Odell managed to work their way to the front for a solid win, whilst the British girls showed grit and determination to work up to second with the Tasmania girls Jessie Atherton and Katherine Maher in third.  The Taylors faded after leading early and finished seventh. 

Tight finishes under threatening skies

Race 9 was a clear start with the pin end starters seeming to do the better out of the first beat.  The temperature ashore was 41C and it was hot at the front of the fleet with Ireland's Ross Kearney and Max Odell first to the top mark followed by the young British brothers Matthew and Ben Lulham Robinson. 

The storm is brewing

By the time they got to the gate Kearney was leading with Lulham-Robinson second and Newman and Rust third.  But the story of the day was the 14 year old South African pocket rocket, Ricky Robinson with older brother Ryan as crew who took out the race.  There boat speed was great as they managed to fly downwind to meet the finishers at the gate following the shortened course.  Second was Australian Mark Phillips with son Hugh and third was mother/son pair Anita Scott-Murphy and Ben Cruse. 

Down wind finish to beat the weather

By the time the fleet got ashore, the weather changed with a sou-westerly blowing through with lightning and strong gusts by to 30 knots.  The timing of the return to shore was impeccable with the boats out of harms way.

After the squalls, the weather moderated and the sailors were sent afloat for Race 10 in rainy conditions with a light breeze.  With many boats over under the Blue Peter, the fleet were recalled to start under the Black Flag. The pin seemed to be the end to be and the Philippinos, weighing 139 kgs, beat many of their lighter competitors to the top mark and were away first on the reach followed by South Africa's Robinsons with triple Fireball World Champion, John Dransfield and son Jesse in third.  

Balladares and Chavez maintained their lead down the run and were pursued by Ireland's Ross Kearney and Max Odell with the South Africans in third.  The Irish boat managed to sail a clever race in the light breeze and by the bottom they were just trailing the Philippinos and managed to storm home in the fickle conditions to the finish line that was brought down to the bottom mark as a result of the breeze dropping right out.  Second were the Philippinos, Balladares and Chavel with John and Jesse Dransfield third.

Overall, there have been some major changes on the leader board which now stands after 10 races and one drop as follows:
  1. Millie Newman and Jessica Rust (GBR) 37
  2. Ross Kearney and Max Odell (IRL) 38
  3. Ridgely Balladares and Rommel Chavez (PHI) 46
  4. Ryan and Ricky Robinson (RSA) 47
  5. Paul and Austin Taylor (AUS) 49
  6. Great Sailing all day

Monday, January 3, 2011

Day 2 - 2011 LandCorp Mirror Worlds

Racing today started in ideal conditions with warm weather and an easterly of 15-18 knots.  Race 4 got underway with the Blue Peter and most of the fleet went to the left with current leader Paul Taylor going right.  By the top mark, the Team GBR's young sailors Millie Newman and Jessica Rust had rounded first in front of Ireland's Ross Kearney and Max Odell. 
Newman and Rust celebrate the win

With kites up on the reach, things were lively and the British teenagers battled to keep in front of the Irish boat.  They maintained their lead by the bottom gate a lead which they preserved for the rest of the race taking the bullet followed by Kearney and Odell with the South African pocket rocket Ricky Robinson and his brother Ryan. 

Race 5 got underway immediately with the easterly still blowing.  The Philippinos Ridgely Balladeras and Rommel Chavez were on the boat end with some of the other fancies mid-line.  They worked hard to beat 2007 Mirror World Champion Kearney and Odell to the line with Australians Lachlan and Finn Gilbert third.

A beautiful site on Princess Royal Harbour

Race 6 produced spectacular conditions as the breezed softened to 12-15 knots under the warm sunshine to the delight of the sailors.  The start resulted in a general recall and the restart enabled the fleet to get off in a clean start with Lachlan and Finn Gilbert finding form and taking a commanding lead followed by the Taylors and Newman and Rust.  The Gilberts got in the groove and were never headed and stormed home to take the bullet.   

Newman and Rust were second with Taylors slipping back with the Tasmanians, Jessie Atherton and Katherine Maher, in third followed by the South African Robinson brothers. 

Great Reaching

Given the magical conditions, the Race Officer, John McQueen decided to bank a race and got the fleet sailing for Race 7.  Many of the fleet were mid-line to pin boat and the

Race 7 was taken out by the pocket rocket, Ricky Robinson and brother Ryan.  They sailed faultlessly around the course trailled by the young Brit girls who came in second with Australian Mark Phillips and son in third. 

Taking out the Africa Trophy for the aggregate score for races 4, 5 and 6, were the young Brits, Millie Newman and Jessica Rust who sailed consistently all day and were the deserved winners.  

Overall rankings after 7 races with one drop are:
  1. Millie Newman and Jessica Rust - 14
  2. Ridgely Balladares and Rommel Chavez - 26
  3. Paul and Austrin Taylor - 26
    Sailing in Paradise

Tight Racing

Race 7 Winner, South Africa's Robinson Brothers

Tomorrow, 4 January, will be a lay day.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Day 1 - 2011 LandCorp Mirror Worlds

The Philippines Balladares and Chavez

Finally the 2011 Worlds began in a strong breeze of 18-22 knots with gusts up to 30 knots presenting challenges for the entire fleet. 

Race 1 was a great start, with the fleet not wanting to repeat the Black Flag Affair of the Australian Championships.  The Philippino pair of Balladares and Chavez got away boat end with great speed.  The new Australian Champions, Paul and Austin Taylor, threw immediately to port from their boat end start and were one of only 17 boats to go right as the rest of the fleet settled into charging out left to the first shift. 

By the top mark, Balladares and Chavez were around first followed by 2009 Australian Champs, Lachlan and Finn Gilbert with the Taylors third.  Many of the boats in the fleet, including some of the front runners, elected to sail the reach without their kites settling for a conservative approach. 

Paul and Austin Taylor

By the time the fleet got to the gate it was close between the Taylors and Balladares and Chavez with the local boat going left and the Philippinos going right and followed by most of the fleet.  It seems that left was the call and the Taylors had streaked to a 10 boat length lead by the top mark.  They were never headed with Balladares and Chavez and Team GBR's Millie Newman and Jessica Rust in third. 

Race 2 was another clean start with Ireland's 2007 Mirror World Champion Ross Kearney streaming off the middle of the line.  Kearney was really working hard and had his boat powering over the big chop.  Newman and Rust, however, made the top mark first with Kearney in close pursuit.  Cleaner kite work resulted in the Irish boat getting the fly and away on the reach.  The Taylors who seemed to be shadowed by the Committee Boat and appeared to be left in the starting blocks  but recovered to be 15th around the top mark.  But by the time they had done the outer loop they had plowed through the front runners and into third position. 

Kearney and Odell had a great tussle with the young British girls who had nudged in front as they went through the gate onto the final reach.  The final beat had the Irish and Brits playing cat and mouse and poor tack on the finish line saw Kearney and Odell squeeze through by the smallest of margins.  The Taylors came from 15 boat lengths at the start of the final beat to nearly pinch the race only a boatlength away in a blanket finish. 

Team GBR's Millie Newman Jessica Rust

The final race of the day resulted in the Philippinos again smoking off the start line with blistering speed.  An individual recall spooked a few boats with the Taylor and Kearney returning to restart, although they were not over.  Balladares and Chavez worked hard up the beat and eventually got the bullet with the Taylors second and triple Fireball World Champion in third. 

Great action all day on the race track

The day was very much a story of survival with capsizes aplenty, bent masts, broken rudder blades, and broken booms.  The lunch break was a break opportunity to repair boats and bruised egos.

The leader board shows:
  1. Paul and Austin Taylor 6
  2. Ridgely Balladares and Rommel Chavez 7
  3. Millie Newman and Jessica Rust

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2011 Worlds Opening Ceremony

The 14th International Mirror Class World Championships were officially opened last night on yet another beautiful night in Albany.  Event Director, Anthony Galante, on behalf of the Princess Royal Sailing Club and its members recognised the cultural and spiritual links that Noongar people have to the land and sea, and acknowledged the traditional owners of country know today as Albany or Kinjarling, or place of the rain. 

Mineng Elder, Alwyn Coyne, welcomed the competitors in a traditional welcome to country which was followed by traditional dances by the Kinjarling Yoorls, a group of Aboriginal dancers.  Backed by troup leader, Ryan Humphries on didgeridoo, the group of boys and men performed a number of dances including the "Wind Dance." 

Kinjarling Yoorls performing the Wind Dance

The Crowd entertained in perfect surroundings

Commodore Paul Terry and President of the International Mirror Class Association, Celia May, welcomed the sailors and wished them well in the Event. 

The mixing of the waters from the UK, Ireland and South Africa with water from Princess Royal Harbour was performed by Reverend David Hosking.  
The sailors were also anointed by the Reverend prior to the final address by the Member for Albany, Mr Peter Watson MLA who officially opened the Championships. 

The Mirror Class Flag which has travelled from Championship to Championship was raised by Alwyn Coyne and City of Albany Mayor Milton Evans, prior to the buffet dinner in the marquee. 

Aboriginal Elder. Alwyn Coyne and Albany Mayor Milton Evans
A large crowd partied into 2011 witnessing the spectacular fireworks that lit up the Albany sky.  

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Mark Pitt rewarded for Outstanding Contributions to Mirror Sailing In Australia

Bill Jaffray Memorial Winner and Commodore Paul Terry

Like so many in the Mirror Class, Mark Pitt started out sailing with his children.  Nearly 20 years ago he ventured down to Nedlands Yacht Club with his then 8 year old daughter Caroline to try a Mirror.  He immediately joined Hillarys yacht Club and started competing in his first Mirror, Darkstar.  He sailed with each of his three children over the next 15 years both as skipper and crew.  They all sailed to a high level and Caroline was National Ladies Champion on two occasions.

He travelled to Ireland, South Africa and Tasmania for the World Championships and has also been involved in National Championships in Canberra, Queensland and Victoria.

Mark held the position of Dinghy Captain for many years at Hillarys and championed the Mirror at the club throughout that time as well as right through to the present when he drives the promotion of Mirrors at the club.

He has served the Mirror Class Association of WA for the majority of the time he has been involved in Mirrors holding a number of Committee positions but most notably those of Vice President and the demanding role of Editor of the association’s quarterly newsletter for some 15 years.  He has also coordinated our travellers series and email communications with members and filled in as Secretary when that position has been left vacant.

Long after his children have left the class Mark has continued to show great passion for, and devotion to, the Mirror.  He currently owns four or five Mirrors including his original boat Darkstarwhich he recently found badly neglected at a local club.  He willingly loans his boats to others to encourage them to take up Mirror sailing.

Mark has travelled to the US in the last 12 months in an effort to have them compete in the 2011 Worlds as well as encouraging them to grow the class there.  The participation of two teams from the Philippines in the current Worlds is directly due to Mark’s efforts.  He developed a relationship with a Filipino club and then secured sponsorship for them.

The foregoing only touches on Mark’s contribution to the Mirror over the last 2 decades and there is no sign of him slowing down.  

Mark Pitt is a most worthy recipient of the Bill Jaffray Memorial Trophy.