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Craftinsure 2023 LEADERBOARD

62nd Endeavour Trophy at Burnham-on-Crouch, Essex - Day 1

by Sue Pelling 8 Oct 2023 05:49 BST 7-8 October 2023

Nick Craig and Toby Lewis take overnight lead

Glorious day at the races with mixed bag of results

Although the basking sunshine and winds reaching 22kts for the opening day of the Endeavour Trophy made for a glorious day of racing for most, it was bittersweet for some who suffered the perils of penalties at the start in this one discard, eight-race series writes Sue Pelling.

For Nick Craig (six-times Endeavour winner), and Toby Lewis (nine-time Endeavour winning crew) who know the river well from experience at this challenging event, it was a clean set of starts and some respectable results that put them in the overnight lead with 13.5pts. Even though the conditions in the early part of the day couldn't have been better for this team, Craig did confess they struggled a bit when the wind dropped off plus they suffered gear failure in race two when they were in the lead: "Going upwind with our weight, we're fine but downwind we were just hanging on in there. In race two the toe straps broke, then the tiller extension fitted snapped, so all in all, we're amazed to find ourselves in this position. Thankfully the RS team did an amazing job of fixing the extension for us during lunch break so we were able to get back on track without losing a race."

Among the favourties who fell victims of a Black Flag in race two were Christian Birrell and Luke Patience (Merlin Rocket), and Arran Holman and James Crossley (RS200). Thankfully for them, they'll be able to discard these results after tomorrow's race five. The pair's close call on the startline in race one led to a request for redress, which they won, which puts them in sixth and ninth respectively going into tomorrow's final four races. Birrell chatting as he stepped ashore this afternoon was upbeat about the day's racing. "It was a cracking day and we're pleased with the results. The racing is always insanely close at the Endeavour. There are so many amazing sailors here and it's always our favourite event of the year. Not sure how we'll go in the light airs tomorrow but we're looking forward to finding out."

Matt Mee and Chris Martin (GP14) sailed a smart series of races today, keeping out of trouble and making the most of the superb conditions. They were always up there in the leading pack and finished the day with a respectable 19.5pts in second place overall. Mee, another serial Endeavour competitor chatting about tactics today said: "Our mantra today was to sail the boat as consistently as we could and think about the obvious things such as lifting tacks. Sad to say our starts kind of got worse as the day wore on in terms of starting conservatively because we were keen not to be over [the line], so in that respect the last two races were recovery races. Very pleased with where we stand and we're looking forward to more of the same tomorrow, albeit lighter conditions."

Sibling rivalry between the Whaley brothers - Ben Whaley and Lorna Glen (RS Aero 6), and Sam Whaley and Larissa Connabeer (Waszp) - was in full flow today with just nine points between them (in third and fifth place respectively) at close of play. Ben, who has sailed the Endeavour twice before with his brother Sam (2017 and 2019) is thrilled to now be racing against him: "We are very pleased with our two thirds today. There's a long way to go but we're delighted to be ahead of my brother. In fact it was the highlight of the day, particularly in the exceptionally close last race, where we just pipped him to the post!"

Sam Whaley added: "Ben's the normal RS200 sailor, so I am kind of 'gatecrashing the party'. This is the first time Larissa and I have sailed together, so we are pleased with how we're working well as a team in such a short space of time. This is also the first time I've done the Endeavour without Ben so it's a bit of an emotional break-up really!"

Another pair who really shone today was the team of Edd Whitehead and Karen Oldale (RS400) who finished the day in fourth place. They sailed impressively particularly in the second race when they were hot on the heels of Craig and Lewis for most of the race. They pushed him hard and closed the gap on every round but when Craig and Lewis suffered gear failure at the last leeward mark, the pair were in just the right place at the right time, ready to pounce, and managed to snatch victory while Craig and Lewis limped across the finish line in second place.

While it was a tough day on the racecourse for all today with four intense back-to-back races in challenging conditions, special mention should be made of Benjamin Pascoe who is just seven years old. This little boy, who is crewing for his father Sam and representing the 505 class, captured the hearts of many today for his courage and determination and, a pretty respectable result in 17th place overall. In his concluding truthful chat after the race today when asked what his favourite part of the day had been he said: "None of it... except the fun waves." With such a good, early Endeavour initiation, I am sure young Benjamin will be back sailing the Endeavour in his own right one day.

Back in the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club this evening competitors, members and guests were treated to the formal annual Endeavour dinner in the club's historic trophy room.

The concluding four races to determine the 2023 Endeavour Trophy champion of champions take place tomorrow with the first race scheduled for 1030. The forecast is for lighter winds which could see a total change in results with some of the lighter crews having an opportunity to take a leading role.

Results after Day 1:

PosSail NoHelmCrewR1R2R3R4Pts
1stD OneNick CraigToby Lewis1.522813.5
2ndGP14Matt MeeChris Martin3.534919.5
3rdRS Aero 6Ben WhaleyLorna Glen1253323
4thRS400Edd WhiteheadKaren Oldale7161226
5thWASZPSam WhaleyLarissa Connabeer11125432
6thMerlin RocketChristian BirrellLuke Patience1.5UFD1235.5
7thRS Aero 5Tom AhlheidTristan Ahlheid10671336
8th2000Simon HorsfieldKatie Horsfield20412642
9thRS200Arran HolmanJames Crossley3.5UFD8143.5
10th29erCharlie GranSam Webb879BFD55
11thNational 18Robert GulllanRob Henderson5911BFD56
12thOKAndy DavisAlex Warren6UFD101057
13thILCA 7James FosterJowe Walters918171458
14thRS FevaBen GreenhaighTom Sinfield271713764
15thByteDuncan GlenKirsten Glen1814181565
16thRS Aero 7Tim HireAlice Lucy1511252071
17th505Sam PascoeBenjamin Pascoe2916191175
18thFireflyWilliam PankSteve Carver1615271876
19thRS800Luke McEwenEmma McEwen14824BFD77
20th4000Steve TylecoteBen Tylecote191022RET82
21stOptimistDylan CreightonJoe Jones28UFD20584
22ndBlazeBen HardenLucy Ellery17RET142284
23rdTopper ClassJessica PowellSam Grayton2320231985
24thILCA 4Leo YatesTatiana Hazelwood25UFD151687
25thScorpionAlan KraylingSimon Forbes13UFD301791
26thNational 12Tom StewartIsobel Stewart211326BFD91
27thSoloBen FlowerThomas Semmens242216BFD93
28thLarkEd BradburnHolly Evans221921BFD93
29thRS VareoMichelle Collier‑BrooksJames Bennett2621282196
30thCadetSamantha NeeBridgitte NeeRET232923106

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, the late Robin Judah - respected member of the RCYC - established a series of races for dinghy sailors 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.

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.

  • Allen Brothers

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

  • The Old Salt Loft

    The Old Salt Loft is a producer of recycled sail bags, t-shirt, printing, merchandise and embroidery spec.

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