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Crews prepare for next week's Endeavour Championship at Burnham

by Sue Pelling 2 Oct 2013 13:16 BST 11-13 October 2013

The Endeavour Championship for the Topper Sailboats-supported-Endeavour Trophy is taking place at the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club, Burnham-on-Crouch next week (11-13 October).

The fleet of 25 invited champions and their crews from all around the country will race a fleet of brand-new Ian Howlett-designed Topaz Xenons to establish the 2013 dinghy Champion of Champions.

Although last year's winners, Ben Saxton and Alan Roberts (RS200) won't be at the event to defend their title, Nick Craig – five-times winner – and crewman Toby Lewis (Merlin Rocket) who finished second last year, plus Jasper Barnham and Graham Sexton (Laser 2000), who finished third are, once again, preparing for a an exciting battle.

Another key player is Christian Birrell (Fireball) who'll be aiming to repeat his Endeavour winning performance of 2010 when he crewed for Stuart Bithell (2012 Olympic silver medallist in the 470). This time Birrell will be at the helm, crewed by Richard Anderton.

Birrell, who has competed at this event three times in the past, both as crew and helmsman says the Endeavour Trophy is the event he looks forward to most. "The event provides fantastic racing, in perfectly matched boats against the best national class sailors in the UK.

"I love the event because I get to go racing against all my mates from all the different classes, in a class of boat, which we are all equally unpractised in! At least half the fleet is very evenly matched, which makes the racing extremely close. Burnham is also an extremely difficult place to sail, and offers something very different to the venues we all typically race in."

Jasper Barnham endorsing Birrell's opinion, added: "For me it is the best event of the season – bar none.

"Being able to test ourselves against the best in the country is reason we come to the Endeavour. Sailing against Stuart Bithell and Luke Patience last year was a huge thrill... We came away having learnt a huge amount, if we can learn as much this year then it will be a success for us."

Jono Pank (Firefly) who has raced the Endeavour twice before, says: The Endeavour has a slightly untouchable aura because you can't get in any other way than winning your own champs... I see it as an elite club, and your membership expires very quickly – getting in is the toughest bit, unless you're Nick Craig, of course."

In an effort to ensure racing is as fair as possible, the race committee set the windward/leeward courses downriver from the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club, at the mouth of the River Roach, or in a similar suitable location depending on the state of the tide and wind direction. This also gives spectators and supporters a chance to view the racing from the sea wall.

The three-day event kicks off on Friday 11 October with the Calltracks-sponsored pre-event training session, run by ABC for Winning coach Adam Bowers. The eight-race, seven to count Endeavour Trophy series starts at 1030 on Saturday morning (12 October) with the plan to run five, 45-minute races back-to-back on windward/leeward courses. The remaining three races are scheduled to take place on Sunday morning (13 October). This is however, subject to change depending on the weather situation.

The grand Endeavour dinner is on Saturday night at the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club, and a limited number of tickets are still available at £21 from Kate Boothy at the RCYC office. Telephone: +44 (0) 1621 782105, or e-mail: .

Confirmed entries to date:

  • 29er, Owen Bowerman and Morgan Peach
  • Albacore, Nev Herbert and Mark Fowler
  • D One, Charlie Chandler and crew tba
  • Fireball, Christian Birrell and Richard Anderton
  • Firefly, Jono Pank and crew tba
  • GP14, Andy Tunnicliffe and Chris Robinson
  • Laser 2000, Jasper Barnham and Graham Sexton
  • Merlin Rocket, Nick Craig and Alan Roberts
  • Miracle, Sam Mettam and Martyn Lewis
  • Feva, Elliot Wells and Jake Todd
  • RS100, Colin Smith and Graham Williamson
  • RS200, Matt Mee and Emma Norris
  • RS400, Stewart and Sarah Robinson
  • RS500, Mike Saul and Meg Fletcher
  • RS700, Robbie Bell and Stephen Powell
  • RS800, James Date and Toby Wincer
  • Scorpion, Steve Hall and Oliver Wells
  • Solo, Charlie Cumbley and Pete Cumming
  • Topper, Ben Jennings and Giles Kuzyk
  • Topper, 4.2 Crispen Beaumont and Chris Bownes
royalcorinthian.co.uk/endeavour-trophy

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