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Big winds arrive for Endeavour Trophy training day

by Sue Pelling 12 Oct 2018 10:43 PDT 12-14 October 2018
Fresh conditions on the Endeavour Trophy training day © Roger Mant

The effect of Storm Callum currently sweeping across the country has done little to affect proceedings at the opening day of the Endeavour Trophy weekend (12-14 October) writes Sue Pelling.

Although gusts reached well over 25kts, the on-the-water session of the Calltracks-sponsored training day continued as scheduled with most of the 30 super-tuned national champions and their crew reveling in the conditions and enjoying the extra valuable time on the water before tomorrow's opening races. Back on shore this afternoon the champions sat though a highly interesting video de-brief headed by Steve Irish, former champion/Endeavour competitor, and coach.

In a bid to ensure racing is based on a level playing field, competitors use equally matched one-design RS200s, and are loaned brand-new sails courtesy of RS Sailing and Hyde Sails.

By dint of their achievements, the champions at this high profile event to establish the champion of champions' tend to be experts with transferable skills, which means they are able to adapt to different classes without too much trouble. However, the Endeavour Training session on the Friday is always useful for teams, particularly those unfamiliar with the boat.

Irish commented: "One of my main objects today is to help those new to the Endeavour Trophy and those new to the RS200 class in particular because they have to learn about the boat quickly. The weekend is going to be generally windy, it is therefore it is important the crew ensure they have the correct rig setting, so they can actually sail the boat efficiently."

Back at one of his favourite events, Ben Saxton – three-time/reigning champion with Toby Lewis – chatting in the dinghy park today said he was delighted to be at the event once again: "I am really looking forward to it but is is going to be tougher than ever, and I love the fact it is going to be windy. It's the best weekend of racing, and also such great fun. The Endeavour Trophy is a true celebration of every champion taking part, and a great battle on the water. I can't wait to celebrate and enjoy the weekend with every single competitor and volunteer!"

Another serial Endeavour champion winner (record holder with six Endeavour wins) – Nick Craig – is also primed and ready to race/win, this time with Emma Clarke (former Endeavour winning crew) representing the D-One class. Craig chatting about the profile of the event said: "We are very much looking forward to the Endeavour as it is still so prestigious and attracts the top talent in the UK. The event is so well run on and off the water. With eight tough races, it feels like a weeklong championship in a weekend. I only wish racing was like this every weekend!"

Christian Birrell – former Endeavour Trophy winning crew – is also back, this time as the winning helmsman of the highly competitive Merlin Rocket class national championship, with Sam Brearey at the front end.

Other former Endeavour Trophy winners racing this weekend include Fireball champions Matt Burge and Tom Pygall, and Alan Roberts – double Endeavour winning crew – this time sailing with Maria Stanley representing the RS200 class.

The number of youngsters competing this weekend is impressive with the likes of local hot-shots Ben and James Hutton-Penman (RS Aero 5), racing the Endeavour for the second year running. Other youngsters to watch out for include Emily Mueller and Florence Brellisford (Optimist), Angus and Hattie Collingridge (Cadet), and the 420 boys – Rhys Lewis and Drew Wright from Penarth, Wales. Lewis commenting on the prospects of big winds said: "We are definitely a bit heavy in general for the RS200 so we are delighted there is going to be a good breeze. We are absolutely ready for it."

Edwin Buckley – event director and race officer said he had concerns about the strength of the wind today and whether it would be possible to send the fleet out "Thankfully the wind abated enough for the competitors to enjoy some valuable time on the water. Having Steve Irish as our Trainer is a real benefit because he has an absolute wealth of information to impart to all our national champions and the video de-brief session this afternoon went exceptionally well."

Commenting on the prospects of racing tomorrow, Buckley concluded: "The Met Office is indicating a decrease in wind. Yes the gusts are still 25kts but we'll have low tide first thing in the morning, so hopefully the launching will be easier for the crews and they can sail up to the race area out to the east, in the lee of the south bank and we should get some good racing up and down the River Roach. The wind is predicted to be more southerly, so it will be a fast reach down there and then we can crack on with some good racing."

Confirmed 2018 Endeavour Trophy entries:

  • 2017 Champions - Ben Saxton and Toby Lewis
  • 420 - Rhys Lewis and Drew Wright
  • 470 - Jonny and Sarah McGovern
  • 2000 - Simon Horsfield and Katie Burridge
  • 29er - Ewan Wilson and Fin Armstrong
  • Blaze - Charlie Chandler and Owain Hughes
  • Byte - Tom Lonsdale and Emma Peason
  • Cadet - Angus and Hattie Collingridge
  • Comet - Chris Hatton and Charlie Sansom
  • D One - Nick Craig and Emma Clarke
  • D Zero - Steve Bolland and Alistair Norris
  • Fireball - Matt Burge and Tom Pygall
  • K1 - Paul Smalley and Mari Shepherd
  • Lark - Chris and Nicola White
  • Moth - Jim McMillan and Paul Gliddon
  • Merlin Rocket - Christian Birrell and Sam Brearey
  • National 12 - Graham Camm and Zoe Ballantyne
  • National 18 - Oliver Houseman and Doug Nestor
  • Optimist - Emily Mueller and Florence Brellisford
  • Laser 4.7 - Lorcan Knowles and Annabel Page
  • RS Aero 5 - Ben and James Hutton-Penman
  • RS Aero 9 - Steve and Sarah Cockerill
  • RS Feva - William Pank and Seb Gotto
  • RS200 - Maria Stanley and Alan Roberts
  • RS400 - Stewart and Sarah Robertson
  • RS600 - Richard Smith and Lynne Ratcliffe
  • RS800 - Tom Morris and Guy Fillmore
  • Scorpion - Alan Krailing and Simon Forbes
  • Supernova - Sam Knight and Steve Hawley
  • Thames A Rater - Simon Blake and James Warren

Supporting partners

  • RS Sailing - Produce a wide range of award winning sailboats including the RS200 used for the Endeavour Championship for the last two years. The company is based in Hampshire and is supported by a worldwide dealer network, and active class associations throughout the world.

  • Allen Brothers - Allen Sailboat Performance Hardware – designers, manufacturers and distributors of performance dinghy and keelboat fittings.

  • Calltracks - The Calltracks tracking solution is a comprehensive and easy-to-use web-based system, which enables businesses to take better control of their sales and marketing activities.

  • Hyde Sails - UK managed and owned company, producing performance sails worldwide for dinghies and yachts for over 40 years.

  • The Old Salt loft - Specialists in bespoke recycled sailcloth products including personalised canvas bags, home ware and accessories.

Live streams of the event will be available from

Brief history of the Endeavour Trophy

The Endeavour Trophy is a solid silver scale model of the J Class yacht Endeavour presented annually to the Champion of Champions at the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club, Burnham-on-Crouch.

The origin of the trophy stems from Tom Sopwith's J Class yacht Endeavour, America's Cup Challenge in 1934. Following a pay dispute and dismissal of his east coast-based professional crew, Sopwith teamed up with 'Tiny' Mitchell, the Commodore of the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club at the time, to recruit amateur members of the club to form a crew.

Although Endeavour won the first two races against Rainbow, and lost the series, this was the closest England ever came to winning the coveted America's Cup.

In recognition of this achievement, Robin Judah – respected member of the RCYC – established a series of races for dinghy sailors in order to determine the overall dinghy champion of champions from the UK's most popular dinghy racing classes. Beecher Moore, former Endeavour crew, and marketing man behind the successful dinghy designer Jack Holt, joined Judah in his quest to run this event and presented for the overall winner, his solid silver scale model of the yacht.

The first invitation-only race took place in 1961 and the winners were Peter Bateman and Keith Musto, representing the International Cadet class. The event is now recognised as one of the ultimate achievements in British dinghy racing.

The competition is exceptionally challenging and those who qualify through winning their own class championship, are given the opportunity to race equally talented sailors in this unique, highly demanding two-day event on the River Crouch.

Given the diverse entry, which includes singlehanded, doublehanded, heavy and lightweight crews, and to ensure the racing is as fair as possible, carefully selected, strict one-designs are chosen for the event. The original idea back in 1961 was to use the club's own fleet of 15 Royal Corinthian One-Designs but they were considered too specialist and would have placed a perpetual limit on the number of entries. The first event was, therefore, sailed in Enterprises.

Since then numerous one-design classes have been used for the event including the GP14, Laser 2, Lark, Enterprise, RS400, Topper Xenon, and the Topper Argo. The 13ft (4m) Phil Morrison-designed RS200 – a smaller version of the RS400 – has been the chosen class for the Endeavour Championship since 2015. It weighs in at 78kg and is an ideal choice to suit a wide crew-weight range.

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