Best of the best of UK Dinghy Champs
Published on October 10th, 2021
The best of the best champions in the UK’s most popular dinghy racing classes gathered for the
60th anniversary Endeavour Trophy to race in RS200s on October 9-10 and determine the best of them all in Burnham-on-Crouch, England. After starting the event with an OCS, 470 Olympian Luke Patience and Mary Henderson took control by winning four of the next five races to take the title.
For Patience and Henderson winning the 2021 Endeavour Trophy was a case of completing some unfinished business from the last Endeavour in 2019. Patience recalls it well: “Indeed, it almost feels like a bit of redemption from when we almost won two years ago but mucked up on a gybe on the last run.
“In a way it makes it even more special to have finally won the Endeavour. It was really great racing.”
Commenting on today’s game plan, Patience added: “In both races we managed to get free of the fray early and that was very important today. We spent a lot of time before the racing chatting about our options and did a ton of transits on the line before the start so we could be accurate enough to get on port early.”
A delighted Henderson added: “Winning the Endeavour is a real life achievement and to become the champion of champions, helm or crew, is very special. Also, my dad [Will Henderson] will be delighted because this is his 21-year-old boat!”
Overall Results (6 races, 5 to count)
1. Olympian 470 – Luke Patience and Mary Henderson (7pts)
2. Thames A Rater – Ben Palmer and Amy Seabright (11pts)
3. RS400 – Nick Craig and Katie Burridge (22pts)
4. RS200 – Arran Holman and Toby Lewis (26pts)
5. Solo – Andy Davis and Pippa Kilsby (38pts)
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 recognized 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 172 pounds and is an ideal choice to suit a wide crew-weight range.
Source: Sue Pelling