Red hot racing on opening day leaves reigning champs just one point ahead

Endeavour Trophy Opener

Red hot racing on opening day leaves reigning champs just one point ahead

Royal Corinthian YC, Burnham-on-Crouch, Essex (14 October, 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.

Close racing throughout the dayIn 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 five of eight races)

1st Ben Saxton and Toby Lewis (2016 Champion) 5pts

2nd Nick Craig and Holly Scott (D-One) 6pts

3rd Roger and Jane Gilbert (International 14) 17pts

4th Christian Birrell and Rob Henderson (470 m) 19pts

5th Ben Palmer and Amy Seabright (RS200) 19pts

6th Jon Gorringe and Emma Clarke (RS400) 23pts 

Endeavour Trophy ‘Full House’ – 2017

A total of 30 national champions ready for battle at Burnham-on-Crouch

Royal Corinthian YC, Burnham-on-Crouch, Essex (13 October, 2017): A total of 30 entries have signed up to the dinghy champion of champions’ event, the Endeavour Trophy, this weekend (13-15 October).

Not only is this one of the largest entries ever recorded, it is also one of the few events in the world where such a concentrated group of champions compete against each other in the same class of boat, writes Sue Pelling.

To ensure a relatively level ‘playing field’, this invitational championship, for national, European or world champions from the most popular dinghy racing classes, will be contested, for the third year in succession, in one-design RS200s.

At today’s opening Calltracks-sponsored training session headed by Steve Irish – one of the UK’s leading dinghy racing coaches – the fleet made the most of the fresh, yet mild conditions to familiarise themselves with their boats.

With new suits of sails courtesy of RS Sailing and Hyde Sails, Irish was kept busy throughout the day both on and off the water, offering tips and advice on fine-tuning the RS200. A mid morning briefing, and on-the-water session was followed by a video debrief back at the club this afternoon, and a summary of the day’s training.

Irish, a former champion and Endeavour competitor said although the fleet clearly have transferable skills, a bit of extra help when it comes to boat setup is always useful: “The key thing today was to get the fleet on the water to give them a chance to set up their boats for the conditions.

“The format with a constant stream of short races running throughout the afternoon worked well with teams able to dip in and dip out of the races as much as they wanted. The idea of the video de-brief was to offer a bit of advice for those struggling with boat handling techniques, particularly those unfamiliar with the RS200.

“Even the guys who have sailed RS200s before will have to take into account that sailing here on the River Crouch at Burnham with its tidal complications and the fact it will be fairly breezy, means there is a lot to take in.”

Ben Saxton and Toby Lewis – double Endeavour champions – who are back to defend their title, have a tough challenge ahead given the particularly strong level of talent at this year’s event. With the likes of serial Endeavour champions Nick Craig and Holly Scott (D-One), Christian Birrell (470), and Matt Burge and Tom Pygall (Fireball), lining up on the start line tomorrow, racing is expected to be intense.

Competitors for this bumper event have travelled from far afield, including Federico and Filippo Maccari (RS 500) from Italy, and Stuart Urquhart and Brendan Lynch, who made the long road trip from Kinloss, Moray, Scotland earlier today.

There is also a good showing of young sailors to watch out for such as local champions Ben Hutton-Penman and Lucy Hewitson (RS Feva), Bettine and Jamie Harris (Cadets), and Jamie Cook and Finley Dickinson (Optimist) from Penarth, Wales. The youngest competitor is Imogen Wade (11) sailing with her father Dave (Mirror).

As they came off the water this afternoon, Ben Saxton offered a friendly bit of advice to fellow competitors as they prepare for 2017 Endeavour Trophy race opener tomorrow: “Have fun, and enjoy it for the spectacle that it is, as well as the racing because you’ll never come up against a fleet of such good sailors. My top tip is not to underestimate the tide. If you are considering a manoeuvre don’t think twice; do it.”

Looking ahead at the conditions for the start of the eight-race Endeavour Championship series, which kicks off at 1030, Edwin Buckley, event director and race officer commented: “I am delighted we have a full house of 30 entries this year, and with some good winds expected, there is every indication that 2017 is going to produce some exceptionally competitive racing.

“The forecast is for a good south-south-westerly breeze of about 15kts and scorching sunshine, which couldn’t be better. My intention, depending on the wind of course, is to run up five or six races on Saturday with the remaining races on Sunday.”

Confirmed entries

  • 2016 Champion Ben Saxton and Toby Lewis
  • D-One Nick Craig and Holly Scott
  • Scorpion Andy Mckee and Steve Graham
  • Supernova Alex Horlock and Arthur Henderson
  • RS Feva Ben Hutton-Penman and Lucy Hewitson
  • National 12 Graham Camm and Zoe Ballantine
  • Enterprise Jeremy and Becca Stephens
  • RS400 Jon Gorringe and Emma Clarke
  • Comet Chris Hatton and David Harris
  • 470 Christian Birrell and Rob Henderson
  • Topper Sam Cooper and Simon Hall
  • 420 Niamh Harper and Ross Thompson
  • RS200 Ben Palmer and Amy Seabright
  • Albacore Tom Lonsdale and Oli Meadowcroft
  • Miracle Dave Butler and Ross Fleming
  • National 18 Stuart Urquhart and Brendan Lynch
  • Optimist Jamie Cook and Finley Dickinson
  • Fireball Matt Burge and Tom Pygall
  • Firefly Nigel Wakefield and Mary Henderson
  • 2000 Stephen and Sarah Cockerill
  • Cadet Bettine and Jamie Harris
  • Mirror Dave and Imogen Wade
  • International 14 Roger and Jane Gilbert
  • Merlin Rocket Alan Roberts and Rosie Sibthorp
  • Women’s 470 Anna Carpenter and Martin Wrigley
  • Laser Radial Ben and Sam Whaley
  • 29er Nick Robins and Billy Vennis-Ozanne
  • RS800 Chris Rashley and Hannah Bristow
  • K1 Simon Heusen and Allan Tyler
  • RS500 Federico and Filippo Maccari

Young home club RS Feva sailor wins ticket to Endeavour Trophy

14-year-old Ben Hutton-Penman set to face top competition on home turf

Burnham-on-Crouch, Essex (14 September, 2017): Ben Hutton-Penman from the Royal Corinthian YC, Burnham-on-Crouch, sailing with Lucy Hewitson, has won the RS Feva national championship and with it a ticket to his home club’s annual event – the Endeavour Trophy, writes Sue Pelling.

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.

Ben Hutton-Penman and Lucy Hewitson on their way to winning the RS Feva nationals at Torbay

Ben Hutton-Penman and Lucy Hewitson on their way to winning the RS Feva nationals at Torbay

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.

Barbados prepares for epic Mount Gay Round Barbados Series

Caribbean 2017 season opener attracts record breakers for island rum dash

The beautiful Alfred Mylne 65 The Blue Peter never ceases to create a stir off Bridgetown.

The beautiful Alfred Mylne 65 The Blue Peter never ceases to create a stir off Bridgetown – photo Peter Marshall

With just 10 days to go before the start of the 2017 Mount Gay Round Barbados Race Series (16-24 January), the festival atmosphere in Barbados is starting to rumble writes Sue Pelling.

Overseas entries, including Tony Lawson’s record-breaking MOD70 – MS Barbados Concise 10, skippered by Ned Collier Wakefield is already in Bridgetown preparing to defend the Absolute Multihull record the team broke last year in the event’s 80th anniversary year. They wowed the crowds in a thrilling finish that saw them complete the 60nm course just 12 seconds ahead of Phaedo3, co skippered by Lloyd Thornburg and Brian Thompson, with a time of 2 hours, 37 minutes, 38 seconds. In doing so they won an impressive 54 bottles (nine cases) of Extra Old Mount Gay Rum.

Given the fact there is a total 14 established records up for grabs, all of which offer the skipper’s weight in Mount Gay Extra Old Rum, if broken, this event is not only the ultimate choice for speed sailors seeking a spot of early season training for the forthcoming Caribbean season, but also is an ideal post-Christmas choice for sun seekers keen to escape the European winter climate.

Organisers – Barbados Cruising Club in association with Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc and Mount Gay – are currently in the process of welcoming a stream of visitors to Bridgetown’s new marina facilities including the Austrian team on X41 Godspeed who arrived today.

Closer than close on the finish line between the two MOD70s – MS Barbados Concise 10 and Phaedo3 – in last year’s Mount Gay Round Barbados Race.

Closer than close on the finish line between the two MOD70s – MS Barbados Concise 10 and Phaedo3 – in last year’s Mount Gay Round Barbados Race.

Peter Gilkes – Consultant to the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc for Yachting Development – who has been involved in the organisation of the event for many years, believes the Mount Gay Round Barbados Regatta has many attractive qualities. Commenting on the 2017 event, Gilkes said: “Following last year’s most successful event to date where some impressive times were achieved during our signature round Barbados race, I am looking forward to welcoming even more entries this year.

“I believe we have a unique event here on the island of Barbados and, after many years of hard work in promoting the regatta globally, it is now a recognised Caribbean circuit favourite. The record breaking sprint around the island and the chance of winning your skipper’s weight in rum is, I believe, a really attractive incentive. Also, with the additional marina facilities this year, including online clearance through Sail Clear, plus washing facilities and Wi-Fi, we hope this event becomes even more established, particularly as a record-breaking location for high performance racers.”

Other interesting entries lined up to have a crack at record-breaking times in the sprint round the island this year include the custom 63ft Irens/Cabaret-designed high-performance multihull Paradox. Ocean Phoenix, the Custom Humphries 78, Maximizer, Farr 72, and Spirit of Juno, Farr 65 are also likely to produce some stiff competition. One of the most interesting entries to watch this year, in the hands of her new owner Roman Guerra, is Monster Project. This is the former Volvo Ocean Racer V070 that still holds the Absolute Monohull Mount Gay Round Barbados record.

In an effort to maintain the event’s tradition, which saw the first race in 1936 based upon bragging rights for the fastest Trading Schooner round Barbados, there’s a strong classic revival this year. Among those taking part is Adix, the Arthur Holgate 65m. Also in the line-up are Tres Hombres, the 33m working Brigantine, and the locally built 30.5m Schooner Ruth. Event regular Matt Barker will be gracing the waters off Bridgetown once again aboard his pretty Alfred Mylne 65 The Blue Peter.

Skippers Briefing-90During the run-up to the Mount Gay Round Barbados Race, competitors will enjoy a mix of serious and fun racing in the three-day Coastal Series, in the constant 12-18 knot east to east-north-east trade winds that Bridgetown is known for. Those heading north, post event can enjoy a final 265nm Ocean Passage Race to Antigua to link up with the Superyacht Challenge.

As headline sponsor, Mount Gay is the theme behind most daily parties and social events including the legendary Red Cap party, a tour/tasting session at the Mount Gay Distillery, and an exhibition polo match at Holders Polo Field, at Holetown, St James on lay day. New to the social schedule this year is a party Copacabana Beach Bar located just a few minutes stroll along the beach.

Olympian Ben Saxton and Toby Lewis retain Endeavour Championship title

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


Overall winners Ben Saxton (left) and Toby Lewis with the solid silver Endeavour Trophy – © Roger Mant

Burnham-on-Crouch, Essex (9 October, 2016): 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.


Start line action during the final stages of the event – © Roger Mant

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.”


Close, exciting racing on the downwind leg – © Roger Mant

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 (eight races, seven to count)

1st NACRA 17 – Ben Saxton and Toby Lewis (13pts)
2nd RS200 – Matt Mee and Joanna Wright (31pts)
3rd D ONE – Nick Craig and Holly Scott (38pts)
4th Merlin Rocket – Roger Gilbert and James Stewart (38pts)
5th Fireball – Christian Birrell and Emma Norris (38pts)
6th RS AERO 7 – David Ellis and Chloe Martin (55pts)

Click here for full results.

Endeavour Trophy 2016 – Training Day Essential

Champion of Champions gets underway at the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club in Burnham-on-Crouch

Burnham-on-Crouch, Essex (7 October, 2016): The Endeavour Trophy started today with competitors attending the on-shore training briefing followed by multiple short training races throughout the afternoon. The Calltracks-sponsored training session at the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club was followed by a video debriefing to further prepare the competitors for their racing over the weekend.

This year sailing is once again in the RS200 and the organisers retained Steve Irish to lead the training. Commenting on the competitors and their ability to adapt to a new boat, Irish said: “Clearly these sailors have skills that are very transferable. The range of experience is vast and I believe we will have some very interesting and close racing over the weekend. It is excellent to see such a range of sailors and the younger sailors have an opportunity to compete against some of the most experienced dinghy sailors in the world. There is also a healthy spirit of competitiveness amongst all the champions.”

The weather prediction for the two days is primarily a northerly wind but on Saturday, during the racing period,  the wind will be lighter with an easterly wind of about 8 knots, accompanied by some rain in the afternoon. On Sunday, depending on which weather model is used, it is predicted there may be stronger winds gusting around 15 knots and some sunny skies. Many competitors relish the stronger winds but they know that the unpredictability of the weather will once again make this an interesting championship.


Ben Saxton inspecting and preparing the RS 200 for racing

Prior to the practice session Ben Saxton, last year’s Endeavour Trophy winner and the Nacra 17 Olympic entry for Team GB, said: “This will be my first racing back in a dinghy since Rio and I am looking forward to getting to grips with the boat and fine tuning my skills with Toby so we can hit the ground running tomorrow. There are some competitors who are currently very on-form in the RS200 and we really want to beat them using our combined racing skills.” 

Toby Lewis, Ben’s crew explained: “Time in the boat and practice will be very useful – we have both been sailing different boats this last year so we need to get back in tune with each other, something that is crucial if we want to retain the title.”


Champions preparing for training with Steve Irish

The record number of 26 entries this year has competitors aged between 13 and 59 years old and subsequently their varying skills and approaches will ensure some interesting results. Edwin Buckley, race organiser, said: “The championship this year sees some favourites returning but there are many new faces with diverse skills that may very well change the outcome of the racing. We are looking forward to varied racing conditions which will make it possible for anyone to win.”

The racing starts at 10:30 on Saturday and will be completed after a total of eight races over the two days. Tradition has it that the race officer tries to get in five or six races on the Saturday so that the Sunday racing is more flexible and not so rushed.  


Confirmed Entries


Endeavour Trophy Racing


2000 Class Fergus Barnham and Serena De Nahlik
29er Crispin Beaumont and Tom Darling
420 Robbie King and Marcus Tressler
505 Andy Smith and Alex Barry
Cadet Jamie Harris and Bettine Harris
D One Nick Craig and Holly Scott
Enterprise Tim Sadler and Jeremy Stevens
Fireball Christian Birrell and Emma Norris
Graduate John Clementson and Jamie Clementson
Lark Stuart Hydon and Rachel Rhodes
Merlin Rocket Roger Gilbert and James Stewart
Miracle Hannah Smith and Nick Smith
Musto Skiff Alex Knight and Megan Pascoe
Nacra 17 Ben Saxton and Toby Lewis
RS 200 Mat Mee and Joanna Wright
RS 400 Paul Oakey and Mark Oakey
RS 500 Edd Whitehead and Karen Oldale
RS 800 Luke McEwen and Emma McEwen
RS Aero 5 Archie Hainsworth and Freddie Wootton
RS Aero 7 David Ellis and Chloe Martin
RS Feva William Pank and Finley Dickinson
RS Vareo David Jarrett and Emma Hivey
Scorpion Chris Turner and Alex Hayman
Skud 18 Niki Birrell and Jonny McGovern
Supernova Iain Horlock and Victoria Upton
Topper 5.3 Samuel Cooper and Alistair Rimmer


Supporting partners

RS Sailing

Produce a wide range of award winning sailboats including the RS200 used for the 2016 Endeavour Championship. 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 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.

Hyde Sails

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

Magic Marine

Develop and produce technical dinghy and catamaran sailing gear worldwide.

Kingfisher DSM Group

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

 Lonton and Gray sail makers

Manufacturers of quality sails for dinghies, keelboats and Squibs, all made in the UK.

 Endeavour contact

Edwin Buckley on +44 (0) 7768 003 453 or email


Endeavour Trophy

Event website

Boom time for Supernova Class Dinghy – 120 signed up for 20th Anniversary Nationals


Always a good competitive fleet – photo Josh Cooper

The singlehanded Supernova dinghy is currently enjoying a flourish of interest as the Class celebrates its 20th anniversary year. With entry to the 2016 National championship in Llandudno (1-3 July) already at its 120-boat safety limit, and with 30+ boats regularly racing on the open meeting circuit, the Supernova is one of fastest growing UK dinghy classes in recent years.

In its effort to maintain what has always been a popular singlehander since its launch in 1996, the Association has successfully reversed the trend of what’s happening in many other dinghy classes where attendance is static or, in some cases, on the decrease.

A steady increase of 56 entries at the 2013 Nationals, 61 in 2014, 67 in 2015, and 120 in 2016, indicates the Supernova Association has got it ‘right’. By listening to what its sailors want the Association has come up with a successful formula that looks set to help the Class make exciting growth over the coming few years.


Perfect design for a wide crew weight range – photo Josh Cooper

With generous sponsorship from Zhik, Hartley Boats, Allen, and significant contributions from the Association, the Class was able to offer entry incentives, with first 100 entries to the 2016 Nationals paying just £40 coupled with a generous array of prizes.

Chris Hawley, chairman of the Class Association commented: “We aim to create an enjoyable environment for all of our members both on and off the water. We have some really great sailors and importantly a friendly supportive attitude through the fleet. We saw the 20th anniversary as a great way of marketing the Class, so just after the Paignton Nationals in July 2015 we decided to aim high for 100 boats, with the entry opening in October. We were offered generous sponsorship, which we are very grateful for. We hit 120 almost immediately, so had to cap the entry for safety grounds and produce a waiting list. ”

With just under two months before the mid summer event, plans are progressing well and Llandudno is poised to cope with the huge fleet. Hawley continued: “The ten race, three-day championship format (late start on day one and early finish on day three) works well and I believe encourages a bigger turnout. For this special event, we’ve booked a 4 Star hotel for our grand anniversary dinner. We are pleased that Mark Giles, the original designer will be in attendance as well as the original prototype Supernova participating in the racing (though not being sailed by Mark).”


The Mk 2 Supernova is ideally suited to sea racing with its open transom – photo Josh Cooper

Other key 20th anniversary events so far have included the Oxford Carriers Winter Nationals in February at Bowmoor SC with 31 entries, and the Class debut at the RYA Suzuki Dinghy Show in March, which generated a lot of interest particularly among newcomers looking for both new and secondhand boats. The Inland Championship at Northampton SC in September is expected to attract well over 60 boats.

While the anniversary year (and the celebrations that go with it) have naturally proved a great way to boost interest within the Class, the real growth in ownership of the Supernova over the last few years has helped to firm up its position as one of the most rewarding singlehanded dinghies to sail.

This lightweight epoxy singlehander, designed for close competitive racing for all sailing abilities, has proved a real attraction not only for sailors from other Classes (including some of the top sailors from the Merlin Rocket fleet), but also newcomers to the sport. One of the biggest draws in the Class’ anniversary year is the Noble Marine-sponsored Travellers series, which comprises over 20 open meetings. At the recent Cotswold SC Travellers event a total of 40 boats turned out.

4A healthy flow of new boats from builders Hartley Boats has created a flourish of reasonably priced second-hand boats, most of which have been snapped up for the forthcoming National championship. The orders for new builds are expected to rise again post championship, which means there’ll be some interesting used boats on the market once again for next season.