Ireland's Ross Kearney from Belfast Lough joins a total of 29 champions from some of the most highly competitive dinghy classes in the UK who have signed up for this year’s Endeavour Trophy which is taking place at Burnham-on-Crouch this weekend.
This historic annual event, which was first held in 1961, is invitation only to determine the overall dinghy champion of champions from the UK’s most popular dinghy racing classes. Hosted annually by the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club, it is a highly acclaimed regatta and recognised as the pinnacle of the year’s dinghy sailing achievements.
This year’s competitor line up is one of the most competitive yet with the likes of Nick Craig/Toby Lewis representing the Enterprise class looking to defend their title from last year. But Craig knows it definitely won’t be all plain sailing particularly with former Champion of Champion Geoff Carveth (representing the RS200 with crew Emma Clarke) back after a seven-year gap. Both Carveth and Craig each have four Endeavour wins under their belts so it will be interesting to see if either of them can clinch a fifth win. The only other person to have achieved this in the history of the event is Mike Holmes who won it in 1978, 1980, 1982, 1990 and 1995.
To ensure the event is made as fair as possible – to cater for the diverse entry including solo, double-handed, heavy and lightweight crews – racing takes place in carefully selected, strict one-designs. Owing to the success of the last four years, the Ian Howlett-designed Topper Xenon is the chosen class once again. Not only does this particular design offer an ideal all-up crew weight range of between 18-24 stone (114-152 kilos), but also because it’s a relatively new design and has no class championship, there is no class champion to gain an unfair advantage.
Topper, who have specifically built and kindly loaned the fleet of 29 brand-new Xenons for the event, have been working closely with Selden who supplied the masts, Hyde who supplied sails, and Holt the fittings. Together they have been able to produce an ‘Endeavour boat’ that is arguably the most fair choice of class in the history of the event.
The three-day champions’ spectacular on the tidal waters of the River Crouch and Roach, kicked off earlier today. Following a briefing and boat allocation, crews, particularly those who had not raced on the tidal waters of the Crouch, or sailed a Xenon before, were treated to a valuable session on the water with a practice coaching session run by Adam Bowers – RYA Olympic Development Squad Coach and former member of the GBR Olympic Sailing Team.
There was no escape from the typical early October autumnal Endeavour weather with the biting cold, brisk easterly breeze providing competitors with a demanding introduction to this highly competitive six-race, windward/leeward series.
Class Helmsman and crew
Albacore Will Gulliver and Steve Graham
B14 Tim Harrison and Jonny Ratcliffe
Buzz Simon Cory and Claire Hansell
Cadet Arthur Henderson and Sophie Dingwell
Enterprise Nick Craig and Toby Lewis
Europe Chris and John Gill
Fireball Matt Burge and Richard Wagstaff
Firefly Nigel Wakefield
420 Rebecca Kalderon and Piers Strong
GP14 Matt Mee and Chris Robinson
Lark Alan Krailing and Edd McArdle
Laser 2000 Mike Hart and Sally Kilpatrick
Laser 4000 Huw Powell and Kevin Bernard
Laser EPS Matthew and Andrew Jones
Merlin Rocket Glen Truswell and Olli Turner
Miracle Sam Mettan and Geoff Phillips
Mirror Ross Kearney
Musto Skiff Richard Stenhouse and Penny Clarke
OK Terry Curtis
Pico Alex Sarrall and Chris Clarke
RS 200 Geoff Carveth and Emma Clarke
RS Vareo Matt Yallop and Rob Ashman
RS300 Steve Bolland and Pete Crukshank
RS400 David Hivey and James Stuart
RS500 Alex Taylor and Tom Halhead
RS700 Jon Heissig
RS800 Laurie Fitzjohn-Sykes
Scorpion Tom Jeffcoate
Solo Charlie Cumbley