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Panoramic view of Budworth

The weather forecast for the yearly two day open event showed a variable F2 to F3 on Saturday and a bit less on Sunday. The last few years the Budworth Open suffered from lack of wind so everyone was looking forward to the competition. For Budworth Mere a Southerly wind promised plenty of tricky windshifts and a nightmare for the OD to set a fair course. Luckily the race management team have more than a century worth of experience between them sailing the lake so marks were moved to try to avoid the dreaded wind shadows created by the trees in Marbury Park.


The racing was delayed for an hour to give the travelers from the South a chance to arrive in time. All visitors arrived and an army of Snipe ‘ants’ helped out to put the Snipes together as soon as possible. Start line was set and, 5,4,1 go. Two lanes formed, a Port lane and Starboard lane. The ones that got clear air on starboard on the pin end did best and Mark Antonelli crewed by Anita McSorley together with Will Williams crewed by dad Stephen got away from the fighting pack. During the race many windshifts ensured most people were changing places all the time. One leg you gained 5 places but could lose these quite easily to no fault of your own. The length of the races, about 50 minutes, ensured that people had every opportunity to make their way to the front. Mark won the first race, Will 2nd and Eric and Lynn Paalman 3rd. The second race saw Phil and Emma Hackney coming 1st, Will 2nd and David and Jane Whitaker coming 3rd. The third and last race of the day suffered from 30 degree windshifts and the OD trying to take account of these by moving the start line. At ‘go’ the wind had shifted a huge amount and it was almost impossible to cross the line on starboard. Those who tacked onto Port were encountered by shouting from the few Starboard boats. To avoid a big pile up and enforce their starboard rights the main fleet left on Port. Those who spotted the shifts and found the wind lanes did well and Phil Hackney sailed right through the fleet to finish 1st (again). Mark took second and Eric 3rd.

The evening started off by Mark’s organised Barbeque followed by an AGM. A few drinks and many stories later everyone packed up for a good night’s sleep dreaming about what could, or should, have been.


A fresh south westerly breeze filled the morning and flapping of sails encouraged everyone to be on the start line on time. The sun was shining and all looked good. Except for Mark’s crew; Anita had rang in sick so Mark decided to bring in star crew Tracy Antonelli. This paid dividend and race 1 saw Mark and replacement crew Tracy finishing 1st, Class captain James Prestwich crewed by Miles Buckley 2nd and Will 3rd. The moment of the day goes to David Whitaker who was 2nd in the first lap but sailed in a massive void. Being stuck in irons the wind filled in around him and most of the fleet sailed past for all to hear Davids’ cry: ‘Help…, Help……, Help….; everyone understood why he decided to retire from that race. The fifth race saw visitors Sue and Steve Roberts coming to the front of the pack. But Mark and James had the upperhand. Mark 1st, James 2nd, Sue 3rd. The last race saw tension mounting on the startline. Mark had most certainly won but 2nd, 3rd, 4th were still up for grabs. The start line was close to the reed bed to utilise the lake width most. The first start was recalled and a Black flag flown. Second start saw about 10 people over the line within a minute before the start. Unable to work out who was over another recall was made leading to much confusion. Third time lucky saw Eric finally making a perfect start. Leading the fleet all the way round the course for the next 45 minutes resulted in him coming 1st. Mark 2nd and Phil 3rd. Marco Ballatore crewed by Robin Mister were the victims of the black flag and had to retire from that race. Roger Gardner and Paul Gillmour felt the need to inspect the underside of their hull, again, at the same mark. Special mention should also go to Laura Glover crewed by Catherine Kelham. Laura sailed extremely well considering it was her first time in the Snipe.

The end result saw Mark finishing 1st and a tie between Phil and Eric. The ISAF rules worked in favour of Phil who came 2nd and Eric 3rd.

The price giving followed and all agreed it was great event with decent wind, even though it was shifty. Everyone had moments of triumph and disaster and the optimist remembers the good starts and the amount of people they overtook whilst the pessimists remember the wrong tacks and the amount of time they were overtaken. I am glad I am an optimist and realise that I am also really good at one thing: rubbish starts.

With the Ladies Snipe Nationals coming up hopefully Budworth will provide another good day’s racing with plenty entertainment for sailors and spectators.

Images of the event courtesy of Peter Cull.

Sail No.HelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4R5R6TotalDiscardTotal PointsPosition
30226 Mark Antonelli Anita/Tracy BSC 1 4 2 1 1 2 11 4 7 1
30617 Phil Hackney Emma Hackney BSC 5 1 1 8 5 3 23 8 15 2
30834 Eric Paalman Lynn Paalman BSC 3 5 3 4 4 1 20 5 15 3
28276 Will Williams Steve Williams BSC 2 2 4 3 7 5 23 7 16 4
30227 James Prestwich Miles Buckley BSC 4 6 13 2 2 4 31 13 18 5
28451 Ian Gregory Richard Marshall Blue Circle 12 12 7 5 6 6 48 12 36 6
29611 Sue Roberts Steve Roberts Blue Circle 7 9 12 9 3 19 59 19 40 7
29367 Laura Glover Catherine Kelham BSC 6 10 6 14 8 14 58 14 44 8
30315 Brian Gregory  Andy Robinson Blue Circle 16 7 8 11 13 8 63 16 47 9
29906 Mark Philpott Carole Philpott BSC 8 13 5 10 11 13 60 13 47 10
29538 Marco Ballatore Robin Mister BSC 15 8 9 6 14 20 72 20 52 11
80226 Roland Antonelli Susan Robertson BSC 10 14 10 12 12 9 67 14 53 12
26734 Nigel Harrison Andrew Fullard BSC 11 11 11 15 15 10 73 15 58 13
30441 David Whittaker Jane/ Charlie/James Hughes BSC 19 3 17 19 10 11 79 19 60 14
26671 Steve Hubbard Angus Reilly BSC 19 19 19 7 9 7 80 19 61 15
20023 Mike Andrews Giles Andrews BSC 14 15 14 17 17 15 92 17 75 16
29408 Roger Gardner Paul Gilmour BSC 13 17 19 13 16 19 97 19 78 17
29834 John Love Kate Fox BSC 9 16 16 19 19 19 98 19 79 18
29677 Katherine Alexander David Alexander BSC 19 19 19 16 18 12 103 19 84 19

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