International Mirror Class Association of Tasmania.
Cygnet has done it again !
Consider the odds of sailing a three-race regatta scheduled in the middle of the Tasmanian winter, and the likelihood of it being a total washout. A very strong possibility ?!
Therefore, it came as a very pleasant surprise to find last Sunday’s Mid-Winter Madness event blessed with a delightful winter’s day.
Twenty-two Mirror dinghy sailors rigged their 11 boats and prepared for some close racing around a triangular course set in the bay off the Port Cygnet Sailing Club’s new facilities.
Dads had handed the helm to their children, and in the company of three all-junior crews and some first-time veterans, set forth for the competition.
The first race turned out to be the only race.
A gentle southerly breeze was enough to see spinnakers set, and around 40 spectators on shore began to discuss the tactics and positioning of the boats as the diversified fleet completed the first triangle. But the fleet began to string out as the wind died away, and the final legs were frustratingly slow, with fickle breezes and an in-coming tide adding to the difficulty.
Racing was postponed in favour of an early lunch, and the second facet of the day’s activities was greeted with much enthusiasm. The Port Cygnet Sailing Club once again upheld its reputation for a good feed, and an hour or so passed as the assembled mob of around 70 folk ate, talked boats and socialised in the calm, sunny conditions.
By general agreement, further racing was abandoned, and by mid-afternoon awards were being handed out.
Line honours were easily taken by Jessie Atherton, helming her Dad’s “ Kamikaze”, with the fading breezes giving her a two-minute lead over Sebastian Gore with his father in “Fantasmic”, who just pipped “ The Edge” (Daniel Pullen & John Harvey).
It was a difficult job for those responsible to allot prizes on handicap after just one race, but the primary criterion was youngsters helming a Mirror, many for the first time.
The inaugural PCSC Mid-Winter Madness trophy, along with an arm-load of goodies, went to Stuart Roberts, with his father Andrew in the bow of “Pukeko”. Annaliese Hunt chauffeured Jenny Graney in “ Carpe Diem” into second spot on handicap, with Quentin Hunt being safely delivered by son Alex in “Magic” into third place.
Port Esperance duo Kylie Ashlin and Jemima Cameron (“Turnaround”) won the all-girl crew award, as the previously-mentioned Mrs Graney admitted to having turned 16 years of age “some time ago”.
Seb. Gore (“Fantasmic”) picked up the prize for best start in the race, with Daniel Pullen and crew John Harvey combining in “The Edge” to be selected as best all-junior crew on the day.
Richard McMinn and Jarred Kingston sailing “Bucket” entered into the spirit of the day by each taking home a useful addition to the family kitchen - a wooden spoon!
Three Cygnet keel-boat skippers ventured forth with junior crews in the club’s fleet of patchwork Mirrors, and all received encouragement awards for their efforts (not to mention their courage in setting forth in boats of dubious heritage). Well done Joel Morrison and Neil Keech; Jacob Smets and Ian Weist; Daniel Parry and Mike Staples.
Prizes and prize-money abounded, and the organisers acknowledge the generous support given by Clennett’s Mitre 10, Peter Johnston Ship Chandlers, The Wash Tub Laundrette, the Mirror Association of Tasmania, and PCSC.
The Kingston Beach Sailing Club provided necessary equipment and race personnel, and local boat owners patrolled in their vessels in case of emergency. Given the sunny and calm conditions, their main job was to tow boats back into the beach after the race. The skipper of one boat was seen to come ashore with a decent feed of sizeable flathead, which further underscored the relaxed atmosphere of the event.
Despite such a short time on the water, the red sails and multi-coloured kites of the Mirrors made a colourful display on Port Cygnet Bay, and there was much discussion about future events both here and at other attractive venues. The opportunity to compete with good-sized fleets on a variety of waters looks set to be a feature as we swell the ranks of this versatile international class.
So where’s the next event ? Maybe at a club somewhere on the northern reaches of the Derwent River ? Or a sunny spot on the Tamar ?
For photos see Mirror Images