Here is a layman's description of the boat. It is a wooden boat, that is available as a kit and can be put together by a modestly skilled craftsperson. The instructions are explicit and no fancy tools are required. The kit comes with all the basic essentials for sailing. But those interested in racing should be prepared to add quite a few extra doodads.
When properly constructed, the boat will not sink, because under the foredeck, the side decks and the rear deck are air tanks. So even if the cockpit fills with water the boat will continue to float, albeit rather low in the water.
The kit comes with two sails: a main sail and a jib. Many racers will add a spinnaker. So you can see that the Mirror is a safe boat and one that affords the opportunity to use three of the main types of sails.
Some may argue that a wooden boat requires a lot of maintenance. That is true. However, if properly maintained it will last for many years. In OMDA there are Mirrors still active that are more than 30 years old. As a matter of fact, OMDA recently celebrated its 30th birthday. A few of the original members are still active and are sailing the boats they used when OMDA was formed.
One of the advantages of a wooden boat is that they are relatively easy to fix. Unfortunately, boats just like cars, sometimes are involved in collisions and then require repair. I think that wooden boats may be easier to fix, especially at a campsite or a cottage, than are fiberglass boats.
There are many people active in sailing around the world who got their sailing starts in a Mirror. It is an excellent boat in which to learn basic sailing skills. While you can get your sailing start in simpler boats one can quickly out grow them. Mirrors on the other hand can continue to be a sailing challenge for many years as evidenced by the many adults who still use them. They are not as fast as catamarans or Lasers. Yes, if high speed is what you crave the Mirror may disappoint. But if it is a true sailing challenge that excites you the Mirror definitely passes that test.
© 2006 Ontario Mirror Dinghy Association