by Polly Changuion (aged 10)

I had an awesome time in England sailing the British Mirror Nationals and the Mirror World Championships.

I enjoyed walking along the beach from the car park to the yacht club and my daddy let me drive along the beach site to the yacht club. I liked stopping at the ice cream shop on the way home from sailing.

We had to dress up very warmly when we went out sailing. Every day, I wore a wetsuit, a long-sleeved rash vest under my wetsuit, a fleece, a splash top, a life jacket, boots, wetsuit gloves, a balaclava and a buff. The weather was very rough and we only capsized once and we didn’t lose our sweets out of the boat as we got upright quickly. There were lots of boats and it was sometimes quite chaotic at the start of the races and I sometimes felt quite seasick. We took a drink and sweets on the boat if we were hungry and I liked reaching to the finish line – this is when you fly perpendicular to the wind and hang your whole body over the side of the boat, holding on by a toe strap. My job on the boat, was to hoist, fly and drop the spinnaker and to jibe and tack the jib. The spinnaker is the colourful sail at the front of the boat which you sail on a run to a reach. We sailed different courses: triangle, sausage, triangle; sausage, sausage, sausage; or triangle sausage.

There were twelve races and there was professional photographer who sometimes got in the water to take photos of us. I had lots of fun times and we stayed up till after 9 o’clock and it was still sunny. It was fun when we hiked and went around the buoy and sometimes we had to turn 720˚ because we hit the buoy. We won a beautiful wooden trophy for being the first classic boat.

Four disadvantaged sailors from Cape Town from the Izivungo Sailing Club were with us: Howard and Shane are the SA champions; and Marlyn and Lebo. They got lots of freebies from the kind English sponsors – Gul – and they got interviewed by the news people.

I was very happy to be in England as my grandpa and my auntie and my cousin and his dog came to support us.
We went to the Pandora Inn, which was built in the 13th century and I had sausages and mash. I also visited Pendennis Castle, a mediaeval castle and the Eden Project on the two free days we had. We also had a ferry ride to St Mawes, a hog roast, a treasure hunt and there were things to do every evening when we had finished sailing.
I am very excited to be an international mirror sailor and I hope to be at the Sydney World Championships in two years.

Interested in Sailing?
The Mirror class is one of the world’s oldest sailing classes and is unique in that any two crew can compete, as long as their combined weight is between 105 and 130 kg. It is an ideal class for parents and younger children, or for siblings to sail together. Mirror sailing is a great way to introduce children to the thrill of competition as it is geared towards families. Experienced parents can easily and happily sail with a less experienced child and pass on their knowledge seamlessly through having fun.
The next Mirror regatta will be held at Henley Midmar Yacht Club in the Natal Midlands at the start of the December holidays. If anyone is interested in introducing their children to sailing, please feel to contact Polly’s father, Paul –

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