Itchenor can look at the Mirror and be proud

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Itchenor Sailing Club hosted more than 125 sailors from all over the country for the Mirror national championships.

Sailors ranged from the age of eight to 50-plus. Sailors from harbour clubs including Bosham, Dell Quay, Chichester and Hayling Island were among those taking part.

The Mirror class is the world’s most popular double-handed sailing dinghy. It can be sailed by two children or an adult and child. From beginners to expert racers, it is probably responsible for introducing more people to the delights of sailing than any other boat; some have even gone on to win Olympic medals.

The racing was organised by more than 30 volunteer members of Itchenor SC, including Peter Taylor, who has just returned from being a key member of the race management team at the Olympics sailing in Weymouth.

Over four days, seven races were held in Chichester Harbour and produced four different winners.

The winners were Ian Walker sailing with his 11-year-old daughter Zoë. Walker won silver medals at two Olympic Games and recently skippered Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing in the Volvo Round the World race.

He last sailed a Mirror 26 years ago when he won these same championships. Walker said he entered the event not to win, but to enjoy sailing with his daughter at one of his favourite sailing clubs in the world.

Walker praised the quality of sailing by the younger competitors and noted that most were not born when he lasted sailed a Mirror.

Second overall came the brother and sister team of Milly and Nick Pugh from Poole Yacht Club - both under 15.

Third were national youth squad sailors Isabel Davis and Milly Moss from Itchenor followed by the first all-boys team of Max Odell and Finley Boon from the Northampton and Hayling Island clubs.

Fifth were Bruce Grant, one of the oldest competitors at over 50, crewed by his eight-year-old son William, one of the youngest competitors.

Tom Trevelyan, vice-commodore of Itchenor SC and event chairman, said: “The club and the event team put on a great championships and we got our reward in seeing the smiles on the competitors’ faces”

A number of local companies sponsored the event including Brighton based Navigators & General, the UK’s leading pleasure craft insurer.