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Saxton and Lewis annihilate Endeavour fleet: 4 straight wins for reigning champions at opening day

by Sue Pelling 13 Oct 2018 11:47 PDT 12-14 October 2018
Start line action on day 1 of the Endeavour Trophy © Sue Pelling

On the breezy opening day of the 58th Endeavour Trophy, Ben Saxton and Toby Lewis managed to lead at the top mark and win all four races by a considerable margin writes Sue Pelling.

In a case of continuing where they left off last year, the reigning champs Saxton and Lewis sailed smart and never once faltered in the challenging windy conditions the 30-strong fleet had to face today. With consistently strong winds that shifted through 10-15 degrees, the super-fast sailors appeared to race in a league of their own and were never once seriously challenged. In fact most races they won by over two minutes.

Chatting on the way in after four intense windward/leeward races in the River Roach, a content Saxton commented: "That was a good day and we are really happy with how it went, and it is great to be back in the boat with Toby. We had some good starts, which is always good and starting at the pin end in the last one was a good move. I do however, put today's success down to Toby who always manages to keep the boat dead flat, both upwind and downwind."

Closest rivals today included Christian BIrrell and Sam Brearey (Merlin Rocket) as well as Nick Craig and Emma Clarke (D-One). BIrrell and Brearey sailed consistently well at the top of the fleet throughout the four races and finished the day in second place, seven points behind the leaders.

Brearey who has raced twice before at the Endeavour chatting about tactics said: "It is always close racing at the Endeavour and, to be honest, it doesn't get any easier. Today the gains and losses were on the downwind legs. If you could stay in the pressure and continue going fast downwind, then that was the key, for sure."

Birrell added: "We had a good time but we'd like to be a bit closer to Ben [Saxton] if we could. Downwind, in particular, he is on a different level."

With six Endeavour wins under his belt, Craig was not going to let Saxton off lightly but today he was unable to match the speed no matter what he did and eventually had to settle for third place, 10 points behind the leader.

A notable impressive performance came from the sole female helmsman, Maria Stanley (RS200) who had Alan Roberts – double Endeavour winning crew – at the front end.

This pair was consistently fast and was always in contention, finishing the first race of the day in second place to Saxton/Lewis. Stanley commented on her first Endeavour experience: "So far it has been a great experience but I have to confess that I am shattered now. I am looking forward to a fun evening but also looking forward to getting out there again tomorrow, to build on what we achieved today, particularly as it is forecast to be slightly lighter airs, which will suit us more."

Alan Roberts said being light in these conditions is challenging. "We are less than optimum weight at about 118-120kg, so we are really happy to be there with the big boys. Our aim was to sail into clear air and keep away from others as much as we could and sail our own race. Thankfully it seemed to work."

Stanley and Roberts with 15pts are one place behind Craig/Clarke, which means there is everything to play for tomorrow.

Tom Morris and Guy Fillmore (RS800) sailed well today and finished a respectable fifth overall. Their best result of the day was the final race where they finished second to the winning duo.

Among the young sailors taking part, the local Hutton-Penman brothers, Ben and James (RS Aero 5) should be pleased with their 12th place, with individual results that included a ninth in the first race of the day.

Back on shore competitors are now enjoying the full Endeavour experience at the annual dinner at the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club where the solid silver Endeavour Trophy is on display.

Results after Day 1:

PosSail NoHelmCrewR1R2R3R4Pts
12017 ChampionBen SaxtonToby Lewis11114
2Merlin RocketChristian BirrellSam Brearey422311
3D‑ONENick CraigEmma Clarke334414
4RS200Maria StanleyAlan Roberts253515
5RS800Tom MorrisGuy Fillmore667221
6470Jonny McGovernSarah McGovern5417632
72000Simon HorsfieldKatie Burridge1295733
8ScorpionAlan KrailingSimon Forbes14881040
9BlazeCharlie ChandlerOwain Hughes1010111142
10FireballMatt BurgeTom Pygall16176948
1129erEwan WilsonFin Armstrong1112101649
12RS Aero 5Ben Hutton‑PenmanJames Hutton‑Penman914131450
13D‑ZEROSteve BollandAlistair Norris7319855
14K1Paul SmalleyMari Shepherd1313121755
15LarkChris WhiteNicola White1516161865
16Thames A RaterSimon BlakeJames Warren2022151370
17RS600Richard SmithLynne Ratcliffe1715311275
18420Rhys LewisDrew Wright2319141975
19RS FevaWilliam PankSeb Getto2220201577
20SupernovaSam KnightSteve Hawley2418182080
21RS400Stewart RobertsonSarah Robertson217312281
22National 12Graham CammZoe Ballantyne1911313192
23BYTETom LonsdaleEmma Peason3121192192
24RS Aero 9Steve CockerillSarah Cockerill8313131101
25CadetAngus CollingridgeHattie Collingridge31312125108
26OptimistEmily MuellerFlorence Brellisford31312224108
27MothJim McMillanPaul Gliddon18313131111
28CometChris HattonCharlie Sansom31313123116
29Laser 4.7Lorcan KnowlesAnnabel Page31313126119
30National 18Oliver HousemanDoug Nestor31313131124

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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