Andy Budgen claims season opener

Project Racing wins the 18ft skiff's Alf Beashel Memorial Trophy

Sunday October 10th 2010, Author: Frank Quealey, Location: Australia

The Australian 18 Footers League opened its 2010-2011 Season with the traditional Alf Beashel Memorial Trophy race on Sydney Harbour today. The race, which was sailed over the club’s easterly wind three buoy course, resulted in a win for Project Racing, skippered by Andy Budgen.

Budgen, along with crewmen Cameron McDonald and Dan Wilsdon, sailed faultlessly in the 15-18 knot wind to defeat TF Collect, sailed by Mark Kennedy, Tom Anderson and Ryan Houston, by 1m13s. Third place went to the brand new Yandoo skiff sailed by John Winning, Andrew Hay and Dave Gibson, which finished a further 3m25s back.

It was a timely win for the team which is currently self funded by Andy Budgen, who is looking for a sponsor to help support the campaign. With some teams still waiting for their skiffs to return from international competition and others still waiting for their new skiffs, there were four teams sailing in borrowed boats or with borrowed sails.

TF Collect grabbed the early lead at the Rose Bay windward mark when the team went to the red buoy while Project Racing had to go to the further blue buoy. Red Claw (Matthew Searle) went into second place through also going to the red buoy.

Several teams were showing that the rust was still present after the winter layoff and capsized at various stages along the downwind legs. TF continued to hold the lead over the first triangle but a poor mark rounding at the bottom mark saw the Project Racing and Yandoo boats move ahead.

The 3-buoys placement allowed TF Collect to move back ahead of Yandoo at the second set of windward buoys, but Project Racing’s crew were handling their big gear to perfection as they increased their lead. Positions remained unchanged over the final lap of the course but further down the fleet there were still some thrills and spills.

Three boats capsized just before or just after the finishing line but generally it was a good start to what promises to be a competitive season.

Full results here

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