WRITING articles for publication is not really my scene, and I would much rather be arguing with someone as to whether I had an overlap at the mark or not, but having been on the Association Committee for three years, and having been cajoled, pleaded with and threatened by Sally for that period of time to write something for Reflections, herewith my first and last epistle according to Don.
It will not be about how to sail your Mirror into first place at the Nationals, or even how to supertune it because I do not sail my Mirror very fast, and never do very well in the open events, so that anything I could say on these matters would be of no consequence. However I do enjoy my sailing and that, to me, is all that matters, and coupled with the very many good friends I have acquired through sailing, is what life is all about.
I got on to the Committee at Looe, and at the time I was not very much enamoured about it, but, being a sucker for committees of any type, I thought I should do my best to make a mark, however small, in the Association affairs. The longer I remained on, the more enthusiastic I became, as I noted the extreme dedication with which the other Committee members undertook their duties. If there were not so many of you in the Association it would do you all good to take a spell on the Committee, and I guarantee it would open a few eyes as to the enormous amount of work which has to be done to enable the Class to function efficiently and to progress in the manner it has done.
We have our difficulties however, but these usually get sorted out rapidly. Recently, as you all know we have had problems with some people bending the rules slightly, but with the new Measurement Sub-Committee in full swing, these problems should be ironed out quickly. The thing that worried me was the fact that some of the rule benders were people who should have known better, and who really didn’t need to anyway, as they were usually up amongst the leaders of the fleet. However, I am sure that the usual Mirror sportsmanship and commonsense will prevail, and such problems will cease to exist in the near future.
Needless to say, in the two previous classes in which I sailed (Enterprise and Scorpion) similar problems occurred, so possibly this is a universal problem, or is it the rule makers who are at fault? I don’t know. . . do you?
My interest in boats has always been racing and never pottering but I think that one of my most interesting reminiscenses had nothing to do with racing at all, and concerned our setting out from Lymington to be the first Mirror to welcome Chay Blyth on his return from his wrong way round world circumnavigation. We set a course which should have brought us close to him off Yarmouth I.O.W. as he sailcd down the Solent for Southampton Water and the end of his voyage. All was going well with our objective well in sight, when we were thwarted to say the least, by an enormous cruise liner, whose captain, despite being screamed at by me that sail had right of way over power, didn’t seem to hear me, and sailed his floating block of flats between me and Chay causing me to alter course to avoid ramming him, and I didn’t want to damage his liner anyway, as I was a bit worried about the insurance he might claim if I sank his ship. Having gone astern of the liner I found that I had lost about a quarter of a mile and so finished up exactly that distance behind ‘British Steel’. I stood up and waved to Chay, but he was surrounded by a flotilla of about 50 boats of various sizes who had all had the same object in mind as me, so I don’t think he saw me. About that time I noticed that we were approaching a patch of water that looked as if it had been affected by a Force 10 gale, and as the wind was only about Force 2 1 was a bit puzzled until I realised that it was the wake created by the flotilla ahead of me. Life suddenly became a bit hectic as the waves were suddenly about 10 feet high, so I said to my crew, “we had better go about or we could be swimming.” So we returned to Lymington and that was the end of my own epic voyage. I suppose the moral is not to go too close behind larger boats who will inevitably be too busy to notice your tiny cockleshell even though it has red sails. But never mind we probably have more fun than they do anyway.
I shall be going to Holland for the Worlds, but I shan’t be sailing, merely cheering on the English Team. I hope I shall see some of you there. 1 shall not be going to the Nationals at Newquay and so shall miss the A.G.M. when my tour of duty finishes. May I wish my successor as the new North East Area Rep. good luck and hope that he or she will have the same good co-operation from members as I have had.
Finally I must pay a tribute to my friend Ron Harding for the excellent way in which he organizes our own Yorkshire Mirror Travellers Trophy events, which are always a great success, and I’m sure that all Yorkshire Mirrormen will join me in saying thank you to Ron for all the hard work he does in running this series.
Don Sharp, M26811, Association Representative, North East Area.
Editors Note: This article is from Reflections No. 26 October 1976, page 8. It has been captured by OCR, so typos & errors are possible.