Taking on the Aussies

In Sydney, Andy Budgen talks to thedailysail about his 18ft skiff campaign
While 18ft skiff sailing is still predominantly a Sydney Harbour activity for Australian sailors, one team this year is representing the UK at the class’ effective world championship, the JJ Giltinan - that of ex-Olympic 49er sailor Andy Budgen. Budgen is sailing with two 49er sailors he usually coaches, Matt McGovern and James Barker, on board his Project Racing. There are other Brits doing particularly well in Sydney this week in the form of 14 sailors Archie Massey and Matt Searle, who are competing on board a boat borrowed from the League, Activeair-2UE, and are holding an impressive second overall, two points off the lead). Today it has been a lay day at the JJ, but yesterday saw Project Racing take a second and this has dragged Budgen’s team back up to sixth after a disastrous first race. “We went around one of the marks the wrong way when we were in the lead, which we had to retire from because we didn’t unwind ourselves properly, so that was a bit of a nightmare,” recounts Budgen. Budgen and his crew have done their campaign properly, and have set themselves up to spend six months in Australia with the JJ as their main focus. Budgen will return to his property and Project Racing business (they charter out a Sigma 38 and a Volvo 60 in the Solent) in April. Originally the plan was to buy a new boat in Australia, but to get some training in the UK beforehand, they bought a secondhand boat and ended up spending so much money on that that there wasn’t enough left in the pot to get the new gear. Their originally plan was to ship the UK boat out to have it as a back-up for their new one, but they have ended up competing in