18ft Skiffs- AEG 3-Buoys Challenge series – Pure Blonde guns for title
by Frank Quealey on 7 Dec 2012
The 18ft Skiffs: AEG 3-Bouys Challenge series has finally come to its final race as pace-setter Pure Blonde and its skipper Tom Clout go all out for the crown on Sunday off Sydney Harbour. Clout’s 18ft Skiff team collected 28 points after seven races, giving them a five-point advantage over Asko Appliances (33 points) going into the finale.
Upwind action from Smeg in the challenge Frank Quealey © /Australian 18 Footers League http://www.18footers.com.au
The Pure Blonde 18ft Skiff team is set to take out the major prize as the last race of the AEG 3-Buoys Challenge series will be sailed on Sydney Harbour this Sunday.
While the series has produced seven different winners from the seven races sailed so far, Tom Clout’s Pure Blonde holds a five points lead for the title.
Clout, Rob Bell and Matt Wark have been consistently good throughout since winning Race 1 of the Challenge on 14 October.
After discarding their worst performance to date, Pure Blonde has a score of 28 points, with nearest rival Asko Appliances (Marcus Ashley-Jones, Ash Rooklyn and Geronimo Harrison) on 33 points.
An incident-packed race in Race 5, when only five skiffs completed the course, has all leading teams carrying a maximum 20 points discard, and can’t afford another bad score.
Australian champion Thurlow Fisher Lawyers (Michael Coxon) is third on 34 points, followed by former Australian 16 Footer Champion James Dorron (Mojo Wine) on 37 and Andrew Chapman’s Fisher & Paykel on 40.
Along with their Race 1 victory, the Pure Blonde team have recorded a third placing, second, fourths and a fifth but still can’t be complacent.
Clout said: 'With a five points buffer, we are in a good position, but we will certainly not be taking anything for granted'.
'Our crew work and boat speed have been good since the start of the season so we just have to make sure we keep it upright'.
The racing action and competitiveness of the Challenge has seen large crowds following the events and a spectator ferry will again follow the skiffs, leaving Double Bay Wharf at 2.15pm.
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