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Mirror Dinghy?

Printed From: Yachts and Yachting Online
Category: General
Forum Name: Beginner questions
Forum Discription: Advice for those who are new to sailing
Printed Date: 20 May 22 at 4:53am
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 9.665y -

Topic: Mirror Dinghy?
Posted By: roughcollie
Subject: Mirror Dinghy?
Date Posted: 15 Sep 14 at 6:43pm
Please can somebody advise me on whether or not a Mirror sailing dinghy would be suitable for me,I am 66 years old and 6ft tall and weigh 80kg.
I have only just started sailing,and have just completed my RYA level 1 course,and I would like to get a 
dinghy so that I can get some more solo practise in,the Mirror seems quite a good small dinghy to do this,
but having not been out in one I am a bit concerned about ducking under the boom as I am not so flexible as I use to be.
Any thoughts as I would welcome your comments on this matter.Confused

Posted By: Rupert
Date Posted: 15 Sep 14 at 8:58pm
I don't see why not. They can be sailed without the jib, they are stable and forgiving and you "sit in" rather than "sit on", so there is actually a fair amount of room under the boom. Best bet is to go somewhere where they are sailed and see if you can get a test sail. If you are anywhere near Swindon, you are welcome to have a go in ours, old and tatty as it is, at least until mid October, when I plan to bring her home for a tart-up.

Firefly 2324, Lightning 130, Puffin 229, Minisail 3446 Mirror 70686

Posted By: JimC
Date Posted: 15 Sep 14 at 9:12pm
Yeah, I see plenty of more mature sailors in Mirrors. Certainly should be on your short list.

Posted By: roughcollie
Date Posted: 16 Sep 14 at 6:48am
Which is best to go for a wooden hull or a GRP?
There is one for sale near where I live 1969 model in good condition with everything including road trailer they want 375 for it,I have had a good look at it it seems ok,hull has recently been all rubbed down and repainted, so pretty tidy.

Posted By: about a boat
Date Posted: 16 Sep 14 at 9:44am
I'm six foot tall and about 90-95kgs. I sail one with my youngster - sometimes three up. You will not have any problem with the boom. At 375 you will not loose out but will want to make sure the hull is sound. you can pick up the Bell plastic boats quite cheaply when they come up but these are very heavy and probably start around 600. If you go for wooden make sure it is not painted inside as this can hide rot. If you go for one try and get a center mainsheet as this will make it a far better boat to sail. You can get an up grade kit but this with the epoxy will probably set you back around 250.

Try to think about what you will be using for next year. You can add spinnaker and better rig set ups as you go along but this is expensive. If you think you will want a flyaway pole, spinnaker, lines led to the thrawt then it will be cheaper buying a boat already set up with these rather than upgrading a cheap basic boat.

Do not be put of my a boat that is "raced rigged". All what this means is the rig and rigging will work and run better and more efficiently making the boat nicer and easier to sail - some thing that a beginner will appreciate.

Posted By: Lukepiewalker
Date Posted: 16 Sep 14 at 6:44pm
I would counsel against a centre main, as it precludes sliding across on the thwart.

Ex-Finn GBR533 "Pie Hard"
Ex-National 12 3253 "Seawitch"
Ex-National 12 2961 "Curved Air"
Ex-Mirror 59096 "Voodoo Chile"

Posted By: Rupert
Date Posted: 16 Sep 14 at 7:36pm
Places to look for rot in a wooden Mirror: inside the cuddy bit under the foredeck, up against the front bulkhead (so betwen the centreboard case and the plywood. Round the case. Under the stringers (the strips of wood in the bottom of the boat). At the back of the cockpit, at the aft bulkhead. Along the edges of the plywood where they are exposed on the gunwales, especially towards the stern. Along the back edge of the tank where it meets the transom - same at the bows. Round the rudder fixings, especially the bottom one.
If you poke areas and they seem soft, best to walk away. There are so many out there, it isn't worth buying a project unless the aim is the boat work, not the sailing!

I too like aft main on a Mirror, as it makes the boat more comfortable. However, it does depend upon what you learned in, at least partly. Doesn't take much to get used to taking an aft main boat, mind.

Firefly 2324, Lightning 130, Puffin 229, Minisail 3446 Mirror 70686

Posted By: roughcollie
Date Posted: 16 Sep 14 at 8:14pm
Hi I have had a good look inside it has all been re varnished,checked the best I could all looks ok, and the hull has been completely rubbed down and re painted,trying to buy it for 350,the road trailer looks ok too,I will see how thing turn out with the seller,there are quite a few about,but how good they are mains to be seen.
Thanks for all the info it is a great help to me.I let you know how I get on.

Posted By: about a boat
Date Posted: 17 Sep 14 at 4:08pm
Originally posted by Lukepiewalker

I would counsel against a centre main, as it precludes sliding across on the thwart.

Flip side is with the centre mainsheet you can take the jib sheet in your hand throughout the whole of the tack and pull it in as you cross the boat.

But yes the aft main does give more room in the boat if that is what is wanted. Also I guess it will allow you to have a longer tiller extension if sailing solo and you need to get "up front". But nothing is that far away in a Mirror anyway.

Good luck on your search.

Posted By: sawman
Date Posted: 26 Sep 14 at 6:33pm
a few years ago I spent several weeks looking for a reasonable condition but cheap mirror to teach the kids to sail. The good ones seem to sell like hot cakes and the rest were overpriced wrecks. I ended up getting a Miracle, which turned out to be a much better all around proposition

Posted By: MerlinMags
Date Posted: 26 Sep 14 at 6:47pm
Looking at the usual weights of dinghy classes, I see there are not many that are significantly lighter than a Mirror (because it is short I suppose).

A lighter boat will be nicer to pull up the slipway, all on your own. Older boats will have gained weight though. And some trailers/trollies are heavier than others!

I've seen several people recommend the Mirror for cruising, so it could well be a good idea.

Posted By: ronvass
Date Posted: 04 Oct 19 at 9:10am
The Mirror is an incredibly versatile boat and great for beginners. I am 18 stone and 5ft 11in and can sail it competitively at my club single handed recently winning a pursuit series. It can be used with 1, 2 or 3 sails. You can row it or put an outboard on it!
There is big price difference between the wooden and FRP/GRP Mirrors.
The top helms are now mostly racing the new Winder FRP Mirrors.
You have to ensure the wooden boats are well protected and checked regularly if left outside in the Winter. I don't agree about a centre mainsheet being better. I have used both and as a single handed sailor much prefer the aft mainsheet which gives you more mobility to balance the boat in lighter winds. It will cost about 300 to fit out a self launching spinnaker pole so go for a boat with it already fitted!

Posted By: Late starter
Date Posted: 04 Oct 19 at 12:03pm
Like many of my generation who started to sail back in the 60s/70s I started in a Mirror. What a great, flexible little boat. 50 years on I still don't think there is a better boat to put on the roof of a car and take on holiday or to learn in. As others have said, most of the top racers sail the latest FRP Winder boats. and it seems to have become a young persons boat at the the top level. Having said that. the Mirror also seems to have become the de facto boat for most of our older members to sail at my club. So if you were to look at dinghy classes with the widest active age range of sailors I think the Mirror would be well up the list. I personally don't think centre mainsheets suit the boat but each to their own. Nice boats are out there but can be hard to find, as others have said there are a lot of tatty poorly maintained Mirrors in the back of boat parks. But I think it's worth a bit of effort to try and find a decent one, if you keep it maintained well you won't lose any money on it.

Posted By: ColPrice2002
Date Posted: 07 Oct 19 at 9:26pm
One thought - on a wooden hull, look for 4 floor battens. Original design had 2, one on each side. After some time it was apparent that this wasn't quite strong enough! (Foot through the floor).
The other feature is that the cockpit well has all 4 buoyancy tanks draining into it. It's difficult to drain it, so check carefully for water damage.
Last tip
Mirror dinghies have lots of buoyancy - recovering from a capsize is easy enough, but if you're in the water it's a long way up. Fit fighting lines which you can use to pull yourself a k in!


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