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Endeavour Trophy 2017 - Day 1

by Sue Pelling 14 Oct 2017 21:07 BST 13-15 September 2017

With three wins in the bag after today's Endeavour Trophy opening five races, Ben Saxton and Toby Lewis (reigning Endeavour champions) lead the Endeavour Trophy series by just one point from Nick Craig and Holly Scott (D-One) writes Sue Pelling.

In perfect sunny conditions and wind averaging out at 15kts, the 30-strong Endeavour fleet of champions from the most popular and competitive racing classes, was put to the test with five back-to-back races in challenging tidal conditions on the River Crouch.

Olympic Nacra 17 sailor Saxton, and Lewis his super-talented crewman, in their 10-year-old RS200, started the eight-race Endeavour Series where they left off last year by notching up three straight wins in the opening races.

In a fairly strong ebbing tide and committee boat biased start line, the first race got underway in a good working breeze that made for some exciting downwind planning conditions. Saxon and Lewis slotted into the front rank immediately and at the top mark led the race by over a minute. Craig and Scott worked hard but had to settle for second.

Saxton and Lewis repeated their performance in the next two races, but in race four Craig (six-time Endeavour champion) and Scott were back on form and performed exceptionally well on downwind legs. By the second leeward mark they led the race by over 20 seconds.

Christian Birrell and Rob Henderson (470) who were lying second suffered an OCS in that race, which left Roger and Jane Gilbert (International 14) in second place, while Saxton and Lewis finished fourth. The Gilberts, who finished the day with 17 points, in third place overall are definitely going to be a team to watch in the final showdown tomorrow.

Another win for Craig and Scott in the fifth race of the day, and a second for Saxton and Lewis after a race-long battle with Ben Palmer and Amy Seabright (RS200), means there is now just one point between the two favourites.

Commenting on his impressive performance, Saxton said: "We had a fun day and we are really enjoying being back on the River competing here at the Endeavour. It is fantastic to have someone like Toby in the front of the boat.

"We came out the 'blocks' fast in the first three races but picked the wrong side of the beat by accident in the next, which wasn't the best move. We did a good comeback in the last race so we are really happy. Also really happy it is now a lot more open. We have come here to race and that is what we are getting, that's for sure."

Second placed Craig added: "Really pleased. It was the usual really hard Endeavour competition, really hard racing, really hard starts and every inch counts upwind. Upwind we just lost a lane on one occasion when we were ahead and we found ourselves in 15th round the windward mark, just like that. It is so tough. Thankfully we had good downwind speed, which is down to good crew work from Holly. Ben [Saxton] is flying though. He has an edge upwind and downwind, which makes it quite hard to beat really."

The standard of racing was, not surprisingly, top class throughout with the strong youth contingent performing well. Local champions Ben Hutton-Penman and Lucy Hewitson (RS Feva) suffered with gear failure in the first race but from there on they managed to gain some good consistent results in the middle of the fleet, which leaves them in 17th overall.

The brother and sister duo, Bettine (14) and Jamie Harris (Cadets) improved as the day progressed and are lying in 21st place: "Although we came mid fleet every race we are really pleased because we feel as though we are learning a lot. I am really enjoying it and we are looking forward to some more good racing tomorrow. It is tough and we are tired but it is such an experience to be here again."

With such a close points margin, and the forecast showing more wind, the stage is well and truly set for an exciting grand finale in the concluding three races tomorrow After a tough and exhausting day on the water, competitors are back on shore enjoying the full Endeavour experience at the annual dinner at the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club where the solid silver Endeavour Trophy is on display.

Results after Day 1: (five of eight races, one discard)

PosSailHelmCrewR1R2R3R4R5Pts
12016 ChampionBen SaxtonToby Lewis111425
2D OneNick CraigHolly Scott226116
3International 14Roger GilbertJane Gilbert73521617
4470MChristian BirrellRob Henderson85231419
5RS200Ben PalmerAmy Seabright10493319
6RS400Jon GorringeEmma Clarke48106523
7FireballMatt BurgeTom Pygall51238824
8Merlin RocketAlan RobertsRosie Sibthorp9749929
9SupernovaAlex HorlockArthur Henderson691171533
10ScorpionAndy McKeeSteve Graham171775736
1129erNick RobinsBilly Vennis‑Ozanne31315211142
12FireflyNigel WakefieldMary Henderson15118131847
13Laser RadialBen WhaleySam Whaley13619103148
14EnterpriseJeremy StephensBecca Stephens211013151048
15RS800Chris RashleyHannah Bristow14181220650
162000Stephen CockerillSarah Cockerill121418111955
17RS FevaBen Hutton‑PenmanLucy Hewitson311616191364
18National 12Graham CammZoe Ballantyne202214171465
19RS500Federico MaccariFilippo Maccari112029162168
20MirrorDave WadeImogen Wade222722121268
21CadetBettine HarrisJamie Harris232317181775
22OptimistJamie CookFinley Dickinson161923242280
23TopperSamuel CooperSimon Hall182531142582
24National 18Stuart UrquhartBrendan Lynch271520233185
25420Niamh HarperRoss Thompson192421252387
26470WAnna CarpenterMartin Wrigley242124262089
27AlbacoreTom LonsdaleOllie Meadowcroft252627222699
28K1Simon HeusenAllan Tyler2628262724103
29CometChris HattonDavid Harris2829252827108
30MiracleDave ButlerRoss Fleming3130282928115

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 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 recognised 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 78kg and is an ideal choice to suit a wide crew-weight range.

Current Endeavour Champions (2016 winners) –Ben Saxton and Toby Lewis representing the Nacra 17.

Supporting partners

RS Sailing
Produce a wide range of award winning sailboats including the RS200 used for the Endeavour Championship for the last two years. The company is based in Hampshire and is supported by a worldwide dealer network, and active class associations throughout the world.

www.rssailing.com

Allen Brothers
Allen Sailboat Performance Hardware – designers, manufacturers and distributors of performance dinghy and keelboat fittings.

www.allenbrothers.co.uk

Calltracks
The Calltracks tracking solution is a comprehensive and easy-to-use web-based system, which enables businesses to take better control of their sales and marketing activities.

www.calltracks.com

Hyde Sails
UK managed and owned company, producing performance sails worldwide for dinghies and yachts for over 40 years.

www.hydesails.co.uk

Magic Marine
Develop and produce technical dinghy and catamaran sailing gear worldwide.

www.magicmarine.com

Kingfisher DSM Group
Kingfisher yacht ropes is DSM group's own brand of high performance sailing ropes and equipment.

www.yachtropes.co.uk

The Old Salt loft
Specialists in bespoke recycled sailcloth products including personalised canvas bags, home ware and accessories.

www.theoldsaltloft.com

More information on the event website, royalcorinthian.co.uk/endeavour

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