British sailors gather for championship of champions

Published on October 9th, 2015

Burnham-on-Crouch, England (October 9, 2015) – The three-day Endeavour Championship to establish the UK’s dinghy champion of champions kicked off earlier today with the Calltracks-sponsored training session at the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club, Burnham-on-Crouch.

The RS200, making its debut as the new Endeavour class appears to be favourable among the 23 the British national champions and crews competing this weekend. Although the class, designed by Phil Morrison, has been on the racing circuit since 1995, it is a strict one-design which helps to keep the racing as fair as possible. For the event, RS Sailing has also supplied each boat with brand-new Hyde sails and spinnakers.

Nick Craig, six-time Endeavour champion, representing the B14 class said although he and his crew Tom Pygall who weigh in at 151kg all up are pretty heavy, he thinks the RS200 is a good choice. “If it blows big time and the tide is with the wind we may have a bit of a nibble but if it’s light, it could be embarrassing. They are great boats though, and the good thing about it however, is the fact that has clearly opened it up to a lot more youth and youngsters, which is great to see.”

In sparkling sunshine and a pleasant light, easterly breeze conditions on the River Crouch couldn’t have been more ideal for the opening RS200 training session headed by Pete Vincent – RS class association guru. On shore RS technicians Ben Wallis and Andy Taphouse were on hand to provide support.

Vincent commenting on the training day said: “There are a lot of teams here today unfamiliar with the class so the idea is to give them some real guidance on how to set up the boats, and the essential skills on how to sail them. My aim is to get them up to speed quickly so by tomorrow, for the first races of the series, it’s more about how good the teams are at racing rather than them having to learn about the boats.”

Looking ahead at the conditions for the start of the eight-race Endeavour Championship series in the morning, Edwin Buckley, event director and race officer commented: “It is looking good with 13kts of north-north-east breeze forecast. That will give us the opportunity to set the course just to the east of the moorings, in the river or, if there is more northerly in it, we’ll be slightly further downriver on the junction of the River Roach and Crouch to allow us to set a good windward/leeward course.”

Event website:

Confirmed entries
B14 – Nick Craig and Tom Pygall
Cadet – Jamie and Bettine Harris
Devon Yawl – Dan and James Ellis
Firefly – Stuart Hudson and Hamish Walker
Graduate – John and Jamie Clementson
Hornet – Rob Larke and Sally Wakefield
K1 – Matthew French and Charles Chandler
Lark – Alan Kraling and Joe Hunt
Merlin Rocket – Ben Saxton and Toby Lewis
Miracle – Hannah and Nick Smith
National 12 – Tom Stewart and Andrea Ralph
RS Aero 5 – Will Taylor and Fiona Mulcahy
RS Feva – Fin and Dan Armstrong
RS300 – Dave Acres and Hugh Watson
RS400 – Michael Sims and Richard Brown
RS800 – Tim Saxton and Fiona Hampshire
Scorpion – Andy McKee and Chris Massey
Supernova – Cliff Milliner and Gavin Young
Topper – Eleanor Pole and Scarlett Anderson
Topper 4.2 – Lorcan Knowles and Harry Pulford
Wayfarer – Guy and Tom Marks
2000 – Fergus Barnham and Serena De Nahlik
29er – James Grummett and Daniel Budden

Report written 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 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 last year the Topper Argo. The 13ft (4m) Phil Morrison-designed RS200 is a smaller version of the RS400. It weighs in at 78kg and is an ideal choice to suit a wide crew-weight range.

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