NeilPryde National Junior Championships Northampton SC 11th/12th May 2013

Well the Mirror class’s first big event this year was held at Northampton where we were welcomed by a lovely club and co-operative members. This event was our equivalent of the Eric Twiname Championships and was very well-represented by the whole of the Mirror Class with people competing from all ends of the country.

The wind was quite strong in the morning of the first day and that pretty much lasted throughout the whole of Saturday, with a few alterations as the day went on. The first race started as scheduled at 12 but we only had 3 races instead of four and then three on Sunday as well.

Race 1 was dominated by Mirror National Squad member Jo Kalderon and Immy Bellfield who led from the beginning followed by another National Squad boat - Midge and Harriet Watkins. Following in third was Rory Odell and Lewis Bowen who were showing everyone how to do it and where to go - which was only right considering it is their own club! The wind remained pretty much the same in the second race being quite fresh with ample of planing opportunity for everybody. Emma and Ben led first around the windward mark, however this time followed by Aran Holman and Tom Smith - who’s Dad is only an ex Mirror World Champion! Aran is well known for competing in Optimists and Cadets and he was quite new to the Mirror this weekend but sailed very well coming second overall. Max Odell and Finley Boon used the heavy conditions to their advantage to secure a third in that race, with Emma and Ben 1st and Aran and Tom 2nd.

The third and final race of the day saw a huge variation in wind conditions with the wind being quite strong at the beginning meaning that the heavier combinations led the fleet however it did drop off throughout the race, meaning the lighter teams excelled putting pressure on the leaders. Ten minutes before the end of the race just as everyone had near enough secured their positions after an arduous race- a huge squall came through causing at least half of the fleet to capsize or death roll which was extremely dramatic! Luckily, Emma and Ben and Aran and Tom were on the finishing leg just as it hit but were sailing towards all of the upright Mirrors that were screaming down the final run. It was safe to say that adrenaline most certainly kicked in on that final leg. Third was Midge and Harriet, fourth and fifth were Rory and Lewis followed by Reg and George, two of the lightest teams out there yet defied the huge squall and powered over the finishing line with fantastic results!

Sunday came with a little less wind which was reassuring for the smaller and lighter people who struggled on Saturday. With Emma and Ben being the overnight leaders it was all to play for as we entered the second half of the competition. Race 4 began with Katie Davies and Gemma Keers storming up the first beat being first to the windward mark followed by Emma and Ben and Aran and Tom who were all fighting it out for top spot. The wind proved rather shifty up the second beat resulting in Emma and Ben taking top spot, with Aran second and Katie third. The 5th race again was very tight competition at the top with a big clump of boats rounding the windward mark together however, Aran and Tom managed to pull away as everyone was fighting it out on the spinnaker leg. Katie and Gemma still had a fire inside of them challenging the whole fleet and taking second with Midge and Harriet coming third.

And finally the sixth race and final one of the competition was very tense as the top two boats were tied on 7 points going into the race. Emma had to beat Aran to win and vice versa for them. Jo Kalderon was having none of this though and she showed everyone that she was winning this race however Emma and Ben were second and were not giving in! Aran and Tom followed behind in third having advanced slightly putting the pressure on. Luckily a good mark rounding and final stretch to the finish line meant that Emma and Ben got a second securing the title and Aran and Tom came third securing second place overall. This last race however proved good for the lighter crews as Esme and Scarlett Shepherd were storming up the beat to take fourth convincingly.

Overall results (both Youths & Juniors).

Again, I would like to say a massive thank you to Northampton for holding the event and of course to NeilPryde our generous sponsors of all the Nationwide series and this event. I hope to see some of you In Annandale for the next Nationwide at the end of June.

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