Otter Chris attends the Mirror Dinghy Worlds

»«December - January 2007

"On the 29th of December we set of from Heathrow bound for South Africa for the Mirror World Championships in Port Elizabeth. As soon as I stepped onto the stairs off the plane, a huge gust of wind hit me. I looked at my mum and said, 'This is going to be fun!'. We had a brilliant week's holiday before the event started in which we went on safari, learnt to surf and generally got to know what South Africa is really like.

Things really started to hit home when we went for a sail with the RYA coaches. The sailing club is situated in the container port so, when given clearance, we quickly threw our boats into the water, sailed out of the harbour and round the corner to the race course.When underway, we saw a group of dolphins and a small shark.

Pre-worlds racing started on Monday and finished on Wednesday. We were very pleased with our new one piece mast which we were testing for the Worlds. We finished the pre worlds 22nd and our best result was 14th. Following a great day's surfing, the Worlds got under away.

It was a 12 race series with one discard and consistency won. Of course adults and juniors (like me) sail together, making it very competitive. Our discard race resulted from my toe strap breaking 500m away from the finish line when we were in 23rd place. We capsized and I swam back to the boat in record time, because we had seen sharks that day. It was just as well really as it was reported that a large shark was feeding on the finish line!

We are very pleased with our result, 30th overall and 8th U16 - our best race being a 14th. Over all the experience of a life time!

Chris Matthews