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Historic day for Colin Beashel and Alruth

by Peter Campbell on 22 Apr 2007
2007 Old 18 Footer racing Alruth Bo Ernfridsson.
Commodore of the Centenary Pittwater Regatta, Olympic sailor Colin Beashel, today saw a Alruth, a replica of the 18-footer his grandfather Alf Beashel sailed some 70 years ago, win the Historical Skiffs Race of the regatta.

'I think it was one of the last of several 18-foot skiffs raced by my grandfather raced in the 1920s and 1930s,' said Colin Beashel as he watch Alruth power up Pittwater to take line honours in the race around Lion Island for a fleet of eight Historical Skiffs, all replicas of the famous 18-footers of that era.

After retiring from racing, Alf Beashel became Secretary of the 18-foot Sailing League and for many years was the driving force of 18-footer sailing on Sydney Harbour, with the Beashel Buoy near the Sow and Pigs Reef named after him.

His son Ken and grandson Colin followed in his wake as great sailors, with Ken a champion 16-foot skiff and Soling sailor and Colin representing Australia six times in the Star class at the Olympics Games, winning a bronze medal at the Atlanta Games.

Colin was also a member of the winning crew of Australia II in the America’s Cup in 1983 and a World champion in other classes.

'I don’t remember grandfather sailing 18-footers, but I do remember many times going into his office at the 18-footer Club at Double and being shown all the wonderful models of boats he had made,' Colin recalled today.

'There was added family history today as my cousin Shane Beashel was a member of the crew of Alruth,' Colin added, explaining that the boat’s name Alruth was a combination of his grandparent’s first names – Alf and Ruth.

Alruth, owned by John Winning, avoided a scrimmage at the start and got away to clear air start to leeward, moving steadily into the lead and consolidating its position on the tight spinnaker/two-sail reach back up Pittwater.

Two skiffs, including yesterday’s winning Scot, became entangled briefly after the start but eventually cleared and continued in hot pursuit of the leaders.

With the light south-easterly breeze easing near the finish line of Scotland Island, Alruth held on to take honours by 27 seconds from Australia IV with another 30 seconds back to Yendys, followed by Mistake, Scot, Topweight and Aberdare.

Provisional overall placings for the Historical Skiffs were Australia IV on 4 points from Alruth on 5 points and Scot 7 points.
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