Smiths take the lead

On the penultimate day at the Mirror Worlds

Friday July 31st 2009, Author: Justin Chisholm, Location: United Kingdom
Day four was always going to be a critical one at the 2009 Mirror World Championship and all those sailors who harboured serious aspirations of being crowned World Champion were painfully aware that today could be make or break. Happily the weather played its part and competitors were treated to four spectacular races sailed in perfect conditions. Despite some huge waves and winds which built to over 20 knots during the day, the overall quality of the racing was top flight and fully demonstrated the high skill levels of all the competitors at this championship.

Today’s four races produced four different winners. In the first race of the day, Chris and Jessica Rust won a close three way battle at the front of the fleet, finally edging out both the current UK National Champions Ross Kearney & Katy Jones and Andy & Tom Smith. Tom Lovesey and Millie Pugh absolutely dominated the second race. Leading from the off they showed some blistering speed both up and downwind to pull out a massive and unassailable lead by the finish. Behind them the scrap for second place was resolved in favour of Andy & Tom Smith with David Conlon and Charlotte Bond clocking up their first top three result of the regatta. In the third race Emma & Martina Barry found their heavy weather form to take the win, after holding off a sustained challenge from Izy Fitzgerald and Emily Peters. Ed & Beth Grey dug deep to break a short string of poor results to take a well-earned third place.

By the start of race four the wind was consistently in the high teens with gusts above twenty knots. Ross Kearney & Katy Jones clearly had the bit between their teeth in this one and had already established a healthy lead by the first mark. They rocketed down the first reach in a cloud of spray, extending their lead to around two hundred yards by the wing mark. From then on they sailed a composed race to take the winning gun by a huge margin. The tussle for second place between overnight leaders Charlotte Fitzgerald & Annie Sibthorp, Chris & Jessica Rust and Andy & Tom Smith developed into a full on dogfight on the approach to the last mark. Fitzgerald & Sibthorp came out on top to take second and keep their overall title hopes alive. Third were the Rusts with the Smiths rounding off a solid day with a fourth.

With nine of the twelve scheduled races completed and the single discard now in play, the main Championship leaderboard looks quite different tonight. Having started the day in fourth place Andy & Tom Smith’s impressively consistent performance has leapfrogged them into the overall lead. Twelve points behind them in second place lies Chris and Jessica Rust with Izy Fitzgerald & Emily Peters a further one point behind in third. Yesterday’s overnight leader Charlotte Fitzgerald & Annie Sibthorp sit five points behind in fourth.

Despite the Smith’s twelve point lead, with the potential for three more races tomorrow the 2009 Mirror World Championship is far from over and any one of the top six boats have a realistic chance of making a late charge.

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