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61st Endeavour Trophy - Opening Day

by Sue Pelling 7 Oct 2022 23:46 BST 8-9 October 2022
Luke Patience, reigning Endeavour champion, and Faye Chatterton looking forward to top class competition - 61st Endeavour Trophy © Sue Pelling

The opening day of the 61st Investec-sponsored Endeavour Trophy dinghy champion of champions event kicked off today

This annual event hosted by Royal Corinthian YC, Burnham-on-Crouch, is this year being held in aid of Leukaemia UK and dedicated to the memory of Pat Buckley, who died of acute myeloid leukaemia in January 2022 at the age of 73. Pat was involved with the club for almost 30 years and acted as race Recorder during the Endeavour Trophy for many years alongside Edwin Buckley, her husband, and the Endeavour Trophy's long-standing race officer.

To mark the occasion, RS Sailing who supports the event has generously donated 30 brand-new suits of sails aptly emblazoned with Leukaemia UK logos, for use during the event. To support Leukaemia UK and its efforts to fund life-changing research to accelerate progress in diagnosis, find kinder treatments and better care for leukaemia patients, there will be plenty of opportunities to donate throughout the weekend.

Although today's on-the-water coaching session on the river Crouch was cancelled due to 30kts of wind, competitors made the most of the time they had onshore, not only fine-tuning their rigs but also picking up some essential Endeavour tips and advice.

Former Endeavour Trophy winners Luke Patience and Christian Birrell carried out a classroom session with fellow competitors this afternoon and shared their extensive knowledge of the event. It was particularly helpful for first-timers including some of the younger members of the fleet.

Patience - 470 Olympic Silver medallist, and last year's Endeavour champion - said he is delighted to be back at the event: "I absolutely love coming here. It's special and always a great atmosphere. The days of this kind of racing are slowly diminishing for me, so this event always gets earmarked in the diary. It's great to be back and to race against old friends again and, of course, I enjoy sharing my knowledge of the event."

Commenting about the conditions expected for the rest of the event, Patience added: "There's a good forecast for the weekend so we should get all eight races in, hopefully. Also there looks to be a good spread of conditions; a bit lighter tomorrow and breezier on Sunday so good for everyone, and more of a chance of producing a good, all-round winner."

Nick Craig, another serial Endeavour Trophy competitor, and winner expressed his fondness for the event. Even after 20 years of competing and winning six times, he says he never tires of the Endeavour: "Even though I am totally the wrong size to sail an RS200 and I feel too big for it, for me it's still worth coming. I love the event for the fact it is so well run, the racing is fantastic and it's great to meet up with old friends and meet new ones too. Even the practice race is generally some of the best racing I do all year."

At the other end of the scale, 13-year-old first-timer Lila Edwards (Optimist national champion) said: "I had a great Optimist national championship, but I am feeling fairly nervous about racing with such a high calibre fleet, also we are not exactly the heaviest team. Whatever happens though, we'll have fun, and the aim really is to embrace the experience and learn as much as I can from so many talented sailors."

Ollie Meadowcroft (18) who won the 420 national championship this year, is another helming first timer at the event: "Although I have crewed at this event before for a friend who was the Albacore champion in 2019, this is the first time helming, so I am very excited and really looking forward to the racing. I also did the RS200 nationals this year, so hopefully that will help a bit plus my crew Oscar [Cawthorne] and I have sailed a lot together. We shall see. Hopefully we won't run it up the mud!"

As the day's formal activities gently came to a close this afternoon, the competitors enjoyed a relaxed evening at the Royal Corinthian YC in preparation for the first race tomorrow, which starts at 1030. A total of eight races (one discard) are scheduled over the weekend.

Edwin Buckley, event director and race officer, commenting on what is a very poignant year said: "Although it is an emotional time for me, I am so delighted that the decision was made to dedicate the event to the memory of Pat, and to be able to use the event to raise funds that will go towards developing kinder, more effective treatments for leukaemia.

"The response to this year's event has been overwhelming and I have had some heart-warming emails from competitors expressing their gratitude for Pat. My thanks go to RS who has kindly had the sails printed with Leukaemia UK and I think that is going to be a real spectacle.

"The weather is looking good, which means we should complete all eight races. The windward/leeward courses will be laid in the vicinity of the mouth of the river Roach, depending on the wind direction. If it goes round to the west, as forecast, racing will probably take place on the Crouch."

Mick Hill - Endeavour Trophy Leukaemia UK Ambassador - said this weekend is all about exposure, awareness and fund raising: "Our aim is to promote this important charity throughout the weekend, and we feel the Endeavour is the perfect platform in which Leukaemia UK can communicate their needs. Because it is also a fund-raising platform there are various ways to donate but the easiest way is by texting ENDEAVOUR followed by amount to 70405."

Event website: royalcorinthian.co.uk/endeavour (includes live tracking)

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