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Champion of Champions Endeavour Trophy at Burnham - Overall

by Sue Pelling 9 Oct 2016 21:31 BST 7-9 October 2016

Olympian Ben Saxton and Toby Lewis retain Endeavour Championship title

Tough sailing as Ben Saxton and Toby Lewis win 2016 Endeavour Trophy

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. 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:

PosClassHelmCrewR1R2R3R4R5R6R7R8Pts
1Nacra 17Ben SaxtonToby Lewis1712115213
2RS200Matt MeeJoanna Wright101127243331
3D-OneNick CraigHolly Scott817114122538
4Merlin RocketRoger GilbertJames Stewart310313567438
5FireballChristian BirrellEmma Norris1181314321139
6RS Aero 7David EllisChloe Martin12315510781055
7CadetJamie HarrisBettine Harris21286816131463
8EnterpriseTim SadlerJeremy Stephens16214361942764
9RS400Paul OakeyMark Oakey21411101389964
1029erCrispin BeaumontTom Darling41520911146766
11SKUD18Niki BirrellJonny McGovern522641411141771
12420Robbie KingMarcus Tressler951923125121274
13GraduateJohn ClementsonJamie Clementson186982715111683
14505Andy SmithAlex Barry132051727320684
15RS VareoDavid JarrettEmma Hivey171825127916887
16RS500Edd WhiteheadKaren Oldale7144192718151592
17RS800Luke McEwenEmma McEwen22910201617101193
18RS FevaWilliam PankFinley Dickinson1513181920241894
192000Fergus BarhamSerena de Nahlik621122419101719104
20SupernovaIain HorlockVictoria Upton1419161617131813107
21TopperSamuel CooperAlastair Rimmer2317221518241921135
22Musto SkiffAlex KnightMegan Pascoe1916232515232120137
23ScorpionChris TurnerAlex Hayman2623212621222224159
24MiracleHannah SmithNick Smith2424242122252322160
25RS Aero 5Archie HainsworthFreddy Wootton2525262220212523161
26LarkStuart HydonRachel Rhodes2027171827272727163

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