There is no doubt that the Mirror Class is struggling in Scotland. There are very few registered Class Association members and active groups in only a handful of clubs. That said, there are scattered boats throughout Scotland that could perhaps be mobilised and motivated.
The key problem is that the vast majority of Scottish junior sailors are in Optimist and Topper classes, which are thriving. Double-handed junior sailing is not popular. The RYAS is promoting the RS Feva, though this also is proving slow to take-off also.
The main centres actively supporting Mirrors for junior sailing seem to be Annandale, Loch Tummel and some of the clubs in Shetland. There is an active group of adult and parent/child Mirror sailors at St Marys Loch, and a number parent/child Mirror sailors at Aberdeen and Stonehaven YC. Most of the active Mirror sailors in Scotland outside of these centres are isolated parent/child teams or single handed veterans.
The aim in 2010/2011 has been to raise the profile of the Mirror class in Scotland and try to coordinate some interest in attending class events amongst the existing community. To this end, this website was created. Despite having built up an e-mail list of 21 people through enquiries to club secretaries, only 6 have registered as website forum users. But, the good news is that some of these are new, previously unknown individuals. Hits on the website have grown steadily since its inception and stand at around 250 visitors per month.
Events since the last UK Class Association AGM:
The Mirror class was represented at the Scottish Champion of Champions event at Dalgety Bay, for the first time in several years.
The first of the 2011 UK Nationwide series was held at Annandale in April. It was very good to see a local Scottish boat victorious out of the fleet of 23, but less good that only one Scottish boat travelled to the event. All the other visiting boats were from south of the border, some having travelled considerable distances.
Scottish Nationals, Lerwick, 6-7 August. It is always difficult to persuade people to make the effort to travel to Shetland from the mainland for a regatta. This year, despite much cajoling and pleading, resulting in several promises, only one boat made the journey. So, in the end there were only 5 boats – but they were treated to some great sailing conditions, good courses, and superb organisation.
Loch Tummel, September 2011. After trying several clubs, Loch Tummel Sailing Club agreed to offer a Mirror Class start at their September one-day regatta. A fair number of correspondents expressed interest in attending, but in the end only two visiting boats turned up, and no local boats. Unfortunately, the weather conditions were also unfavourable with insufficient wind to complete even one race.
Venue for the Scottish Nationals in 2012. The venue for the 2012 Scottish Nationals has been agreed as St Marys Loch near Peebles. The sequence in recent years has been: 2008 Annandale, 2009 Loch Ard, 2010 Newburgh, 2011 Lerwick, so a location in southern Scotland is appropriate and will hopefully attract new competitors.
Mike Heath, October 2011