New one-design makes Endeavour Championship debut

Published on October 31st, 2014

Essex, Great Britain (October 31, 2014) – A total of 20 dinghy champion teams arrived at the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club this morning for the opening of the 2014 three-day Topper Sailboats-supported Endeavour Championship (October 31 – November 2).

Sparkling sunshine with temperatures up to 20 degrees, and a pleasant warm breeze couldn’t have been more ideal for the Calltracks-sponsored pre-event training, run by ABC for Winning coach Adam Bowers. Competitors, eager to familiarise themselves with the new ‘Endeavour’ dinghy – the Rob White-designed Topper Argo, which replaces the Topper Xenon used for the last nine years, enjoyed an enjoyable and useful day on the water.

Although similar in looks to the Xenon with its high freeboard and racy asymmetric spinnaker, the Argo is 40kg lighter and carries less sail area, which means this new ‘Endeavour design’ should lower the overall crew-weight range and provide more appeal to lighter teams who struggle in windy conditions.

Given the diverse entry of the Topper Endeavour Championship, which includes singlehanded, doublehanded, heavy and lightweight crews from a range of different dinghy classes, finding a suitable strict one-design to ensure the racing is as fair as possible is always a challenge.

Thankfully, as the teams arrived back on shore at sunset this afternoon, the vibe around the dinghy park about the new ‘Endeavour design’ was a positive one.

Commenting on the Argo after today’s training session, Toby Lewis (33) from Dorset – former three times Endeavour Champion crew – this year representing the Osprey class, said: “Like the Xenon, the Argo provides a great level playing field, but because it is a new boat, no one is quite sure what the correct settings are, so it is interesting. It is fairly similar in layout, however. It is generally a smaller boat so lighter weight crews won’t be so penalized in a breeze, plus the kite is more manageable because it is smaller. Thumbs up all round.”

Simon HIscocks (41) double Olympic medalist (bronze and silver), representing the 18ft Skiff class, added: “Because they new, these boats are a great leveler. No one has an advantage. They are actually nice boats to sail because they produced good, tight racing over short training courses. Really looking forward to tomorrow. The Endeavour is a great opportunity to race against so many different class sailors. It is unique and carries a lot of prestige. There is also a great atmosphere and, for me, it is good to see dinghy sailing in a slightly different light rather than what I am used to, living in a bubble around Portland in Weymouth with Olympic sailing. It is a refreshing change and I am really enjoying it.”

Adam Bowers ABC for Winning coach, concluded: “It seems like a great boat for the job and a real step forward from the Xenon. It’s a lot stiffer for a start. The Xenon was really more suited to larger crews, but the Argo is more of a lighter, subtle machine, so it will be interesting to see what happens tomorrow.”

The eight-race, seven to count Topper Endeavour Trophy series starts at 1030 tomorrow (Saturday, November 1) with the plan to run up to five, 45-minute races back-to-back on windward/leeward courses. The remaining races are scheduled to take place on Sunday morning (2 November). This is however, subject to change depending on the weather situation.

The current forecast for tomorrow indicates more breeze – 15kts from the south/south-west with gusts up to 19-20kts – which should make for classic, exciting, Endeavour racing.

Confirmed entries
29 – Matt Venables and Curtis Meams
Firefly – Paul Kameen and Caroline Edwards
2000 – Rob and Katie Burridge
Mirror – Rachel Grayson and Nigel Wakefield
Musto Skiff – Bruce Keen and Lucy Terkelson
Osprey – Matt Burge and Toby Lewis
RS800 – Roger Phillips and Will Crocker
Graduate – Tony Cooper and Dave Appleton
GP14 – Ian Dobson and Holly Scott
Cadet – Alex Page and Aaron Chadwick
18ft Skiff – Simon Hiscocks and Nick Murray
RS300 – Steve Bolland and Tim Keen
Hornet – Will McGrath and Sam Woolner
Lark – Charlie Roome and Jeremy Stephens
RS Feva – Bobby Hewitt and Harvey Martin
4000 – Jason Kirk and Scott Dawson
Merlin Rocket – Matt Mee and Tom Pygall
Blaze – Ben Pickering Sam and Knight
National 12 – Tom Stewart and Andrea Downham
Streakr – Tom Gillard and Sam Brearey

Report by Sue Pelling

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 achievement 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 classes have been used for the event including GP14s, Laser 2s, Larks, Enterprises, RS400s and the Ian Howlett-designed Topper Xenon. The Xenon, which offered an ideal all-up crew weight range of between 18-24 stone (114-152 kilos), is now replaced by the Topper Argo, a class which also offers a wide all-up crew weight range. Also, like the Xenon, the Argo has no class championship/class champion, which means all competitors are on an equal footing.

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