The GBR team assembled in Albany for measurement over the 26th & 27th December at what initially looked like a bleak, cold and windy Albany skyline - a shock to many after the searing 40 degree heat of Perth some 4 hours north.
Measuring, opening ceremonies and briefings out of the way 64 registered boats from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa, Philippines, Ireland and of course the UK took to the water with an extremely high level of entrant; Lachlan Gilbert and Peter Taylor leading the Aussie charge again, Ridgely Balladares & Rommel Chaves from the Filipino Olympic 470 squad & 3 x world fireball champions on the water.
The GBR entrant is made up of 5 boats from Brightlingsea and five from around the UK plus Ross Kearney skippering with Max Odell for an eclectic mix of Shamrock and Rose - a mirror form of a Guiness Shandy perhaps.
The Aussie Nationals, serving as the Pre-Worlds, was held over 3 arduous days each with 4 races. Competitors awoke on day-1 (sunday 28th Dec) to strong winds, clearing skies and soaring temperatures. Things were looking up already.
e 45th Australian Championships kicked off with the Cliff Scott Memorial Invitational, the traditional warm up of the Mirror fleet. In fresh SSE conditions, the fleet got racing and all the nerves and anxiety are now gone.
The Cliff Scott was a close tussle between the Philippines team of Ridgely Balladares and Rommel Chavez and 2007 Mirror World Champion Ross Kearney and Max Odell from Ireland. They steamed up the first beat with the Philippinos getting a good break of 10 boat lengths that was bridged to a couple by the time the teams reached the bottom gate on the trapezoid course. The gap to the following pack was quiet substantial and the two front runners were never headed. Balladares and Chavez took the bullet followed by Kearney and Odell. the Cliff Scott Memorial Trophy for the first place Australian boat went to 2009 Australian Champions Lachlan and Finn Gilbert who edged in front of two other boats in a tight finish.
?Race 1 of the Aussie Champs eventually got underway under a Black Flag. The Gilberts took first place followed by local Albany sailors Paul and Austin Taylor with Myles and Rory Odell in third.
In Race 2, Kearney and Odell were steaming and got off to a great start and were never challenged with the Gilberts in hot pursuit with British teenagers Millie Newman and Jessica Rust in third.
The final race was taken by the Taylors who went right one the first beat. Local knowledge perhaps played a role in them splitting from most of the left travelling fleet and it paid off with a bullet and overall lead after three races. Second were Brits David Conlon and Charlotte Bond and third Anita Scott-Murphy with son Ben Cruse.