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Displaying items by tag: Endeavour

Ben Saxton and Toby Lewis (Nacra 17) once again won the Endeavour Championship after some epic sailing hosted by the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club, Burnham-on-Crouch, thus successfully defending the title they lifted in 2015 writes Sue Pelling. This win means Toby has been the winning crew a record six times now, which equals Nick Craig’s helming record.

Saxton was pleased with the racing and commented after the final race: “It was tricky again today, trying to figure out the tides and the wind. I think we did a good job in the first two races and could afford to try some different, safer options in the last two races. It wasn’t any easier though because everyone sailed really hard. Absolutely fantastic racing by everyone.”

Lewis added: “The conditions were tough and we had some serious races with competitors like Edd [Whitehead] and Karen [Oldale] representing the RS500s. The course was unpredictable and ever changing wind conditions requiring some serious concentration.”

The day started with a fresh northerly breeze of about 14 knots with some menacing clouds on the horizon. Fortunately no major rain fell and the experienced competitors were taking advantage of every gust that came their way, especially on the downwind legs where most of the boats were on the plane.

As the day wore on the winds lightened up slightly but remained northerly at about 10 knots, with the occasional big gust, making it more difficult for the heavier crews to maintain optimum speed. The race for second place quickly became a hot contest between four different teams. The RS200s team, Matt Mee and Joanna Wright, managed to sail a consistent four races to secure second place overall, seven points ahead of Nick Craig and Holly Scott (D One).

RS200 national champion Joanna Wright was happy: “Matt and I have only ever sailed together in this event so today we were getting use to each other and had a solid day’s sailing and working together as a team.”

“There are many ex-RS200 champions and RS200 sailors in this fleet and we were determined to beat them,” added Mee.

Nick Craig came third and was enthusiastic about the racing: “Today was very similar to yesterday for us. The racing was tight but we felt a little sticky, almost not as quick as we could have been. It would have been so much better if we had that 30 knots of wind but it was not to be. Hats off to the other competitors, we really had a great time and some great racing this weekend.”

The Merlin Rocket team – Roger Gilbert and James Stewart – who managed to come fourth overall, are not newcomers to this championship as they have, as a team, won the event in 2003 when they represented the RS400 class at the championship. Gilbert was quite frank and jolly about the racing: “It’s been a long time since we won, we use to be the fittest and the youngest but that appears to have changed. The conditions were very testing and possibly the wind was a bit too light for us. We are still very pleased with the results.”

Christian Birrell and Emma Norris (Fireball) came fifth overall. Birrell was excited about the conditions and the outcome: “We read the tide much better today, we were not all over the place like yesterday. Today we just stuck to what we know and sailed hard to make up places. Two firsts, a second and a third was great sailing for us today.”

Niki Birrell, Christian’s brother and bronze medal-winning Olympian at the Rio Paralympic Games, was invited to sail in the Endeavour Championship and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. When asked about sailing against his brother he replied: “Yesterday I beat him in three races, somehow today he found his mojo and just took off and left me behind. It has been absolutely fantastic and such an honour to be entered. We found the racing to be tight, hard and very competitive and we are very pleased to have come 11th overall. This event has given me much inspiration to pursue my dream of winning a national championship and I know I will need to learn to sail quicker to achieve this dream.”

The weekend was concluded with a prize giving ceremony held at the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club before the competitors packed up and went their separate ways. Edwin Buckley – event director and race officer commented during the prize giving: “It is always a pleasure to have such champions on the water competing, they give it all that they have and make this event a true test of skill, endurance and tenacity for each other. We wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Overall Results (eight races, seven to count)

1st NACRA 17 – Ben Saxton and Toby Lewis (13pts)
2nd RS200 - Matt Mee and Joanna Wright (31pts)
3rd D ONE - Nick Craig and Holly Scott (38pts)
4th Merlin Rocket - Roger Gilbert and James Stewart (38pts)
5th Fireball - Christian Birrell and Emma Norris (38pts)
6th RS AERO 7 - David Ellis and Chloe Martin (55pts)

Published in Racing
Nick Craig and Toby Lewis representing the OK class have won the Endeavour Trophy after an extremely close fought, two-day championship on the River Crouch.

Craig, who has now won the event a total of five times, and Lewis who's won it three times, didn't have it all their own way however, and racing went down to the wire in the last of the eight-race series. Their biggest threat in today's final three races was the young, talented RS200 national champions – James Peters and Alan Roberts – who were leading the championship at the start of play today.

endeavour winners

The Endeavour winners lift their trophy at the Royal Corinthian today. Photo: Sue Pelling

With two impressive race wins for Craig, two second places for Peters in today's first two races, and just two points between them, the scene was set for a spectacular showdown, and what a showdown it was.

Craig and Lewis did what came naturally in their vulnerable position by switching into match racing mode to ensure they were in control of Peters and Roberts' destiny. They did a particularly good job initially, which put them both at the tail end of the fleet but the canny youngsters were fully focussed which meant they were ready to pounce when Team Craig slipped up during a tack during the closing stages of the second beat. A coming together resulted in Craig and Lewis having to carry out penalty turns, which meant Peters and Roberts were able to slip ahead and maintain their controlling position to the finish. Unfortunately for them, however, it was too late to make any effect on the results, which meant Craig and Lewis had done enough to secure the championship.

An elated Craig talked impressively about his young opponents, and explained why they decided to use match racing tactics in the last race: "James is a great lad, great sailor, and I am sure he'll be back for more in the future. Today the two of them were extremely impressive. To be honest we were torn as to know what to do. We'd like to have just sailed the race but we decided that it was a bit risky not to match race because anything could have happened out there. It was shifty, and tidal, and if we mucked up and got behind, it would have been very difficult to get back in contention again."

Twenty-year-old Peters, who is in the RYA Olympic Development Squad and campaigning a 49er for a possible place at the 2016 Olympic Games, is one of the most impressive rookie Endeavour sailors the event has seen for many years. As well as a natural sailing talent, he demonstrated a professional side to his character which will undoubtedly see him progress well along his sailing career route. Chatting after the racing this afternoon, Peters commented: "We really enjoyed the event and it was a fantastic learning experience for us. Obviously Nick [Craig] won in the end but we felt we had to take all we could learn from the experience. Craig is a fantastic sailor. Although it is always tough to be match raced, it is important to understand that match racing in the situation we found ourselves in today is part of the sport of sailing. It is well within the rules and to execute it as Craig did, is a skill in itself, and he did a really good job making sure we weren't able to win. I have to say though, beating him across the line did make it a bit better for us, and finishing second at the Endeavour championship is amazing."

Racing once again took place at the mouth of the River Roach a couple of miles down stream from the host club, Royal Corinthian Yacht Club, and race officer, Kim Allen, and team did a first class job in setting some good, square, windward/leeward courses in the shifty, 10-14kts gusty, tidal conditions.

The competition on the racecourse was exceptionally high this weekend and it was noticeable how many young, new generation sailors are making their mark. In third place overall, after a tough battle was Scorpion representatives, Tom Jeffcoate and Mark Hogan who finished second in the final race which lifted them to third place overall.

Mention must also be made of the youth fleets including RS Feva representatives Owen Bowerman and Charlie Darling who, despite their extremely light, all-up weight, sailed impressively in every race and finished the event in a creditable 22nd overall.

Special thanks to the Endeavour Trophy sponsors which include the following: Topper, Allen Brothers, Calltracks, Hyde Sails, Selden, English Braids, Petticrows, Musto, Noble Marine.

Overall Results (after 8 races, and 1 discard)

1st OK – Nick Craig and Toby Lewis 15pts

2nd RS200 – James Peters and Alan Roberts 18pts

3rd Scorpion – Tom Jeffcoate and Mark Hogan 31pts

4th Osprey – Matt Burge and Richard Wagstaff 35pts

5th GP14 Stuart Bithell and Matt Johnson 40pts

6th Enterprise – Christian Birrell and Sam Brearey 40pts


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 Tommy 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 enlisted the help of '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.

Years later, Robin Judah – respected member of the RCYC – was anxious to establish a series of races for dinghy sailors in order to discover the 'Champion of Champions'. 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 winner was Peter Bateman, representing the International Cadet Class, crewed by Keith Musto. The original idea 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. Since then the event has been sailed numerous classes including the GP 14s, Laser 2s, Larks, Enterprises, RS400s and now the Topper Xenon.

Published in Racing
Tagged under
9th October 2011

RS Duo Lead Endeavour Trophy

Twenty-year-old James Peters and crewman Alan Roberts are overnight leaders of the 2011 Endeavour Trophy, the UK's champion of champions sailing trophy.

RS200 national champions Peters and Roberts sailed an impressive series in today's testing conditions and lead this champions of champions event by just one point from OK national champion Nick Craig and Toby Lewis.


Peters and Roberts Lead Endeavour Trophy. Photo: Sue Pelling

Racing, over short-sharp, windward/leeward courses, in the gusty 14-16kt north-westerly breeze, at the mouth of the River Roach a couple of miles down stream from the host club, Royal Corinthian Yacht Club, kept the fleet on its toes throughout the day and the level of competition – with national champions from 25 of the most popular dinghy racing classes represented – was, not surprisingly, extremely high.

At just 20 years old, this is Peters' first time at the Endeavour Trophy, which makes his leading performance even more creditable. Chatting as he sailed ashore after a tough day on the water, Peters commented: "We are really happy with how we sailed today. Obviously it is a really tough event with loads of really high quality sailors here, so we were happy to put in some consistent results, and we had really good fun as well. Interestingly we've never sailed a Topper Xenon before but I have to say we are impressed. After five races we feel we are just about getting used to it."

Endeavour veterans Craig (who's won the event four times before) and Lewis, know from experience that with three races left to sail, there's a long way to go. Commenting after racing Craig said: "It was fantastic racing, and we really, really enjoyed it, despite it being such hard work. With five, 45-minute races today, we really 'got out money's worth'. We are looking forward to a bit more wind tomorrow. However, we are going to have to watch young James and Alan though, they are really sailing well. They make us feel like old men!"

Andy Davis and Tom Pygall representing the Merlin Rocket class kick started this year's event in race one today, with some spectacular sailing which pulled them through the fleet from ninth on the second beat an overall race win with Peters and Roberts in second. Competition is so high, however, that even with a 1,5 to count they are still in seventh place.

Stuart Bithell and Christian Birrell – last year's Endeavour Trophy winners – are back again this year, but having each won independent class championships, they are in separate boats. Both talented young helmsmen, it is not surprising to see them both atop the score sheet with just four points between them at close of play today. Bithell, representing the GP 14 class is sailing with Matt Johnson and is lying in third place overall, while Enterprise champion, Birrell, sailing with Sam Brearey is lying sixth.

Scorpion representatives, Tom Jeffcoate and Mark Hogan, notched up some consistent results including a couple of third places, which leaves them fourth place with three races remaining.

The forecast is for the wind the wind to increase tomorrow for the final three races of the series. Race officer, Kim Allen, is keen to get the racing underway as soon as possible at 1030 which means a new Endeavour winner should be revealed by 1500.

This evening, competitors and guests are attending the annual, grand Endeavour dinner at the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club, and last year's winners, Stuart Bithell and Christian Birrell are giving a speech.

Special thanks to the Endeavour Trophy sponsors which include the following: Topper, Allen Brothers, Calltracks, Hyde Sails, Selden, English Braids, Petticrows, Musto, Noble Marine.

Results (after 5 races, and 1 discard)
1st RS200 – James Peters and Alan Roberts 7pts
2nd OK – Nick Craig and Toby Lewis 8pts
3rd GP14 Stuart Bithell and Matt Johnson 17pts
4th Scorpion – Tom Jeffcoate and Mark Hogan 18pts
5th Osprey – Matt Burge and Richard Wagstaff 19pts
6th Enterprise – Christian Birrell and Sam Brearey 21pts

For full results visit:

Published in Racing
Tagged under
30th September 2011

Countdown to Endeavour Trophy

A total of 25 UK champion sailors including last year's winning crew – Christian Birrell – have signed up for this year's Endeavour Trophy, which is taking place at the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club, Burnham-on-Crouch in a week's time (7-9 October).

This invitation-only event, to determine the overall dinghy champion of champions from the UK's most popular dinghy racing classes, goes from strength to strength, with last year's 50th anniversary event attracting a record number of 30 champions.

Because winning the Endeavour Trophy is, and has always been, recognised as an ultimate achievement in British dinghy racing, the competition is exceptionally challenging. Those who qualify for the event through winning their own class championship are given the opportunity to race equally talented sailors in a unique, highly demanding two-day event on the River Crouch, and win not only the Endeavour title, but also an entry to the British Virgin Islands' Pro-Am Regatta at Bitter End Yacht Club (29 October–5 November). The Endeavour Trophy winner will join the Pro line-up, which this year includes Ed Baird (6-time Pro-Am winner and current skipper for Quantum Racing), Peter Holmberg, Anna Tunnicliffe, Paul Cayard, Dave Ullman, Russell Coutts and Zack Railey.

To ensure the Endeavour Trophy event is made as fair as possible – taking into account the diverse entry, which includes singlehanded, doublehanded, heavy and lightweight crews – racing takes place in carefully selected, strict one-designs. Owing to the success of the last six 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 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 25 brand-new Xenons for the event, have been working closely with Hyde who are supplying sails, Selden the masts, English Braids the ropes, and Allen Brothers 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 Calltracks-sponsored pre-event training session on the Friday, run by ABC for Winning coach Adam Bowers, will be followed by a pasta meal in the evening. The eight-race, seven to count Endeavour Trophy series gets underway at 1030 on the Saturday morning (8 October) with the plan to run five, 45-minute races back-to-back on windward/leeward courses. The remaining three races will take place on Sunday morning.

Endeavour Trophy 2011 Entries

Class                       Helmsman                              Crew
Albacore                 Thomas Gillard                     Andy Tompson
B14                           Mike Bees                               Martin Worth
Cadet                       Ben Hazeldine                       -
Enterprise              Christian Birrell                     -
Fireball                    Chips Howarth                      -
Firefly                       Ben Vines                                -
GP14                        Stuart Bithell                           -
Lark                           Alan Krailing                           Tim Linsell
Laser 2000            Graham Sexton                    Katrina Harborne
Merlin Rocket       Andy Davis                              Tom Pygall
Miracle                     Sam Mettam                          Geoff Phillips
Mirror                        Rory Ruairidh                        Mackenzie Calum Mackenzie
National 12            Tom Stewart                          Rachel Williamson
OK                             Nick Craig                                Toby Lewis
Osprey                    Matt Burge                               Tim Needham
Phantom                Andy Couch                            Martin Couch
RS Feva                 Owen Bowerman                Charlie Darling
RS100                     Paul Childs                             Toby Harris
RS200                     James Peters                        -
RS300                     Steve Bolland                        Pete Cruickshank
RS500                     Alex Taylor                              Tom Halhead
RS800                     Stevie Wilson                        Alain Sign
Scorpion                 Tom Jeffcoate                       Mark Hogan
Topper                     Giles Kuzyk                            Adam Cockerill
Wayfarer                David Wade                           John Meadowcroft

Published in Racing
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