The Endeavour Trophy invitational championship, for national champions from the most popular dinghy racing classes, this year takes place on 13-15 October. With the 30 boat entry limit almost complete, the 2017 event to be contested once again in RS200s, is showing signs that it could be a record year.
Hutton-Penman (14) who made the transition from the Optimist class to the RS Feva less than a year ago, said that turning up at the Feva nationals in Torbay, with 111 boats on the startline, was a bit of a shock. “I qualified for the Feva National Squad during the winter and whilst Lucy and I felt we were up in the top half of the squad, we certainly were not winning everything. Going into the nationals we just hoped we would be top mixed pair.”
With plenty of wind and wave practice through training on the River Crouch, Hutton-Penman said the big winds on the first day at Torbay helped. “We got two first and two second places and that was important because it gave us belief that we could do it. After that we just had to remain consistent and careful when it was light.”
Although racing at the Endeavour will present the ultimate in competition terms, Hutton-Penman and Hewitson’s experience from the last race of the Feva nationals puts them in good stead. “We had to beat Pierce [Harris] and Alfie [Cogger] by two places to win, it was actually down to the final beat of the final race.”
Having both raced RS200s at the nationals last year, and given the fact that Lucy’s parents are former RS200 national champions/Endeavour competitors, the pair are in a good position to perform well at the event.
Hutton-Penman is certainly under no illusion about how competitive the Endeavour will be. “I am most looking forward to being on the start line against the best sailors in the country. It will no doubt be very hard but I will look at it as a learning experience and will do my best as Lucy and I will be very light. Thankfully Lucy has done quite a lot of RS200 sailing with her dad, which will no doubt be a great help.”
On local tips on sailing at Burnham-on-Crouch, Hutton-Penman concluded: “My advice is to worry more about the tide than a wind shift; tacking when you are headed and then ending up in the tide is never as fast as staying out of the tide.”
The three-day event starts with a training day with top coach Steve Irish on the Friday, followed by an eight-race, six to count series over the following two days.
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.
Facebook – Endeavour Trophy
Event website – Royal Corinthian
Sailing image Credits:
Ben Hutton-Penman and Lucy Hewitson on their way to winning the RS Feva nationals at Torbay – photo Peter Newton (peternewton.zenfolio.com)
Written by Sue Pelling and re-published with permission