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Defending Champs hold early lead at Endeavour Championship

Published on October 8th, 2016

Burnham-on-Crouch, Essex (October 8, 2016) – Ben Saxton and Toby Lewis, the wild card Olympian entry representing the Nacra 17 class, fought hard to be the overnight leader after four races (two firsts, a second and a seventh place) of the planned eight races for the Endeavour Trophy.

Ben and Toby won the Endeavour Trophy in 2015 and are keen to keep it. When asked about their progress today, Ben said: “We had a good day even though it was massively tricky and unstable. Our discussions were dominated by decisions about which side of the course to choose, even more so than discussions about making the boat go faster.

“It is still an absolute pleasure sailing against all these capable sailors and a very well done to William and Finley for beating us in the final race.”

It wasn’t all plain sailing for Ben as he was beaten in the final race by the RS Feva champion William Prank and crew member Finley Dickenson, both only aged 13. The youngsters led the race from beginning to end, at times looking nervously over their shoulders at an attacking Ben Saxton. Commenting on the day’s racing and in particular their last race win, William said: “The wind was favourable for us and we kept close to the bank to stay out of the tides – that bit of local knowledge from previous sailing experience here was useful and helped us win that last race. Tomorrow we plan on staying upright and doing as well as possible.”

The fight for second place was fiercely contended between three classes – D One, Cadet and Merlin Rocket. Nick Craig, representing the D One Class this year, is just one point ahead of Jamie Harris of the Cadet Class, who in turn is just one point ahead of Roger Gilbert representing the Merlin Rockets. Nick commented on the day’s racing: “The conditions were very tough, some difficult tactical decisions needed to be made. The boat behaved very well and we managed to turn some good speed even in light winds. I am definitely looking forward to tomorrow and the predicted heavier breeze, that said though, we managed to win one race today in the light winds so there is everything to sail for tomorrow.”

The tricky wind and tide conditions on the River Crouch could almost be felt by spectators as the RS200s worked their way up and down the course, the fleet splitting to windward and leeward sides of the course only to be beaten back by tide or in some cases even catching favourable lifts right in the middle of the course. The wind shifted through 40 degrees during the day, starting off almost a direct northerly blowing a light 8 knots and then slowly swinging more east until the final race when it was blowing about 12 – 14 knots north-east. The tide had been flooding for all of the races making local knowledge about banks, wind shifts and tidal conditions vital in the tactical decisions.

Jamie Harris, the Cadet national champion, was very excited about the sailing and expressed his joy when asked about the conditions: “This is such a great experience and we did really well today. We have managed this boat much better than we expected and the power seems to be just perfect for us today. The conditions were very tidal and shifty but if we can manage the boat in similar conditions tomorrow we hope to do well.”

The wind is predicted to be a slightly stronger northerly tomorrow and there should be more sunshine around ensuring a dryer day on the river for the competitors and spectators alike. The racing is expected to be close once again and the sailors are going to be concentrating on their tactics to ensure they don’t give away any advantage to their rivals.

Racing continues tomorrow morning with the first warning signal at 10:25. This evening competitors and guests are at the annual, grand Endeavour dinner at the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club where the solid silver Endeavour Trophy will be on display.

Day One Results (Top 7 of 26; 4 races)
1st Nacra 17 – Ben Saxton and Toby Lewis (11pts)
2nd D One – Nick Craig and Holly Scott (27pts)
3rd Cadet – Jamie Harris and Bettine Harris (28pts)
4th Merlin Rocket – Roger Gilbert and James Stewart (29pts)
5th RS200 – Matt Mee and Joanna Wright (30pts)
6th Enterprise – Tim Saddler and Jeremy Stevens (35pts)
6th RS Aero 7 – David Ellis and Chloe Martin (35pts)

Event detailsScoreboardFacebookPast winners

Competing in equally matched RS200s, the record number of 26 entries this year has competitors aged between 13 and 59 years old and subsequently their varying skills and approaches will ensure some interesting results. Confirmed Entries:

2000 Class – Fergus Barnham and Serena De Nahlik
29er – Crispin Beaumont and Tom Darling
420 – Robbie King and Marcus Tressler
505 – Andy Smith and Alex Barry
Cadet – Jamie Harris and Bettine Harris
D One – Nick Craig and Holly Scott
Enterprise – Tim Sadler and Jeremy Stevens
Fireball – Christian Birrell and Emma Norris
Graduate – John Clementson and Jamie Clementson
Lark – Stuart Hydon and Rachel Rhodes
Merlin Rocket – Roger Gilbert and James Stewart
Miracle – Hannah Smith and Nick Smith
Musto Skiff – Alex Knight and Megan Pascoe
Nacra 17 – Ben Saxton and Toby Lewis
RS 200 – Mat Mee and Joanna Wright
RS 400 – Paul Oakey and Mark Oakey
RS 500 – Edd Whitehead and Karen Oldale
RS 800 – Luke McEwen and Emma McEwen
RS Aero 5 – Archie Hainsworth and Freddie Wootton
RS Aero 7 – David Ellis and Chloe Martin
RS Feva – William Pank and Finley Dickinson
RS Vareo – David Jarrett and Emma Hivey
Scorpion – Chris Turner and Alex Hayman
Skud 18 – Niki Birrell and Jonny McGovern
Supernova – Iain Horlock and Victoria Upton
Topper 5.3 – Samuel Cooper and Alistair Rimmer

Source: Sue Pelling

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 – was used for the first time in 2015 and will be used once again this year. It weighs in at 78kg and is an ideal choice to suit a wide crew-weight range.

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