The Lost Fleets

Mirrors in Trinidad - 1979

20 Mirrors listed in the 1977-78 TTYA yearbook – where are they now?
When I was in my salad days (that's a long time ago) and crewed on Flying Dutchmen and Shearwater catamarans in the 1960s in Trinidad, a schoolmate told me about this odd little dinghy called a "Mirror" which I found a little odd, but, without ever having seen one, dimissed it as not being a "real" sailing boat. Not long after I left the island, Trinidad and Tobago's leading Flying Dutchman skipper and 1964 Olympic games competitor started importing and asembling Mirror dinghy kits to encourage people with a bit less money to start sailing. Quite a large fleet (by Trinidadian standards) was established and raced enthusiastically.
When I bought #62816 "Puffin" about 30 years ago because I needed a family boat I could afford and car-top, remembering what my schoolmate had told me about Mirror dinghies, I was totally unaware of this development. The Internet, however, gave me the opportunity to research what had become of my first sailing contacts and led me to the website of the Trinidad and Tobago Sailing Association where I found an account on the history of the club that mentioned the Mirrors. Now converted from Saul to Paul with regard to the dinghy class, I wrote to the association and asked about the what had happened to the class there, as there is no mention of it in recent race results. I received a friendly answer and some more historical information and learned that (perhaps - it has not been confirmed) one boat is still actively being sailed. The others have been given up because most people are no longer prepared to put the effort into maintaining a plywood hull in the humid tropical climate in the age of plastic boats.

Ten years later, the class was still going strong
But a look at the results lists of world and European championships has made me aware that the Mirror's popularity has waned in most countries. The Netherlands, France and the Scandinavian countries no longer appear regularly. A look for national class association websites shows that they do exist and there are fleets in some of these countries, but some sites have not been updated for quite a while.

April 2017

Thanks to James Arrindell and his club, the Trinidad and Tobago Sailing Academy, for the scanned pictures and the associated information !