Curtains raised on Gulf of Oman to mark official launch of Laser Radial Women’s World Championship in Oman

22729817317_3de8ee72ac_cAt this evening’s grand Omani ceremony to mark the official opening of the Laser Radial Women’s World Championship, competitors from around the globe were welcomed in spectacular style to the Millennium Resort, Mussanah, Oman. The event also marked the occasion of yesterday’s 45th National Day of Oman.

Having hosted the successful RS:X World Championship just one month ago, Oman Sail – the event organisers – were able to showcase the Sultanate of Oman’s impressive high profile regatta venue once again and offer competitors and guests a sample of the lavish and exotic cultural hospitality.

The evening’s grand banquet and activities provided jollity among teams with henna art a big hit with the girls. Guests were also encouraged to wear Omani turbans for a photo shoot, and for some, the camel riding was too tempting to resist.

In the presence of His Excellency Dr. Abdullah bin Nasser Al Harrasi (Chairman of the Public Authority for Radio and Television), and Her Excellency Maitha Al Mahrouqi (Undersecretary of Ministry of Tourism and Chairwoman of Oman Sail), David Graham (CEO Oman Sail) welcomed the 100 athletes to the six-day championship.

Graham in his opening speech highlighted Oman Sail’s commitment to promoting women through sailing: “Our Women’s Programme has created new career opportunities for Omani women in sailing, either as coaches or instructors, or as part of the region’s first all-female sailing team – regularly lining up alongside male teams and showing that sport can break down boundaries and provide equal footing on which to compete.

He continued: “Hosting this tournament offers our young sailors the opportunity to observe and learn from the very best, and we hope that this week adds some extra motivation to the fledgling careers of our young sailors. The opportunity to learn from 100 of the world’s best female sailors here in Oman is a chance that shouldn’t be missed.

“The legacy of our hosting the World Championships will be shown in the progress of Oman’s own female sailors, as well as the growing reputation of Mussanah as a venue. Oman has the potential to become a recognised world-class host nation for international events.”

As well as the prominence as a world championship, the event is also an Olympic qualifier for Rio in 2016 with four countries hoping to secure a place at the Olympics. Other countries will use this regatta to select their individual Olympic sailors.

Earlier today competitors meet face to face for the first time at this event, in the practice race. The conditions, which were fairly typical with winds up to 12kts, were enough to establish that the competition is likely to be exceptionally intense this week.

Among those lining up as favourites, are Gintare Volungeviciute-Scheidt (LTU), who won the Test event in Rio in August, Evi Van Acker (BEL) who is ranked world number one, and Marit Bouwmeester (NED) – silver medallist at London 2012 and ranked fourth in the world.

Interest will also be focused on Paige Railey, the high profile American Olympic sailor who has spent over a year recovering from a serious cycling accident. Although it is still early days, Railey seems to be back on form again having won the Pan American Games in Toronto in August. Another potential top runner is Lijia Xu (CHN) – reigning Olympic champion – who is back on the race scene after her two-year break.

An idea of form however, will become more clear after the first two races of the Qualifying Series tomorrow (Friday). The 100-strong fleet is split into Yellow and Blue group, which means a total of four races are scheduled with the start of the first race 1100 local time (CET +3).

Mount Gay Round Barbados Series celebrates 80th anniversary and Barbados’ 50th year of Independence

Photo – Peter Marshall.

Photo – Peter Marshall.

Preparations are well underway for the Mount Gay Round Barbados Race Series (16-24 January 2016), which celebrates it 80th anniversary in 2016. Next year also marks 50 years of independence for Barbados, so big celebratory plans are already in place for that too.

Thanks to its re-launched in 2014, where a new race format and more record-breaking opportunities were introduced, this Caribbean season opening regatta is now one of the key events on the race circuit, and is fast becoming a speed-sailing, record-breaking favourite.

Three days of coastal racing, the Mount Gay Rum Round Barbados Race (the headline event), and the chance to contest a final 300-mile Ocean Race to Antigua to tie up with the Superyacht Challenge, gives plenty of options for teams looking for early season, top-class racing.

For teams with a taste for speed, and rum, there’s a chance to win their skipper’s weight in Mount Gay Rum as a prize for the fastest time if any of the 14 Mount Gay Rum Round Barbados Race records are broken. At the 2015 event earlier this year, three teams managed to scoop the top prizes, which amassed a total of 78 cases of Mount Gay Rum.

The racing/record-breaking opportunities, together with legendary rum-fuelled parties, a visit to the Mount Gay Rum Distillery, and the chance to soak up the colonial-style Bajan hospitality at an exhibition polo match on lay day, have all helped establish the unique identity of the Mount Gay Rum Round Barbados Race Series.

1Organised by Barbados Cruising Club in association with Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc, and Mount Gay, this regatta always takes place during the third week in January to incorporate the headline event – the 60-nautical mile Mount Gay Rum Round Barbados Race – which traditionally takes place on Errol Barrow public holiday (21 January).

This year Errol Barrow Day – the birthday of the first Prime Minister of Barbados, and ‘father’ of independence, who was a keen sailor/member Barbados Cruising Club – commemorates 50 years of Independence for Barbados.

In an effort to mark the occasion, William Griffith (CEO of Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc), has announced a new and exciting partnership between Barbados and Team Concise, Britain’s successful offshore racing team. The MOD70 trimaran – Concise 10, and the highly successful Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC), Class 40 Champion, Concise 8 will be branded Ms BARBADOS, for the forthcoming winter season and will be based near Bridgetown, Barbados.

Team Directors Tony Lawson and Ned Collier Wakefield launched Team Concise in August 2006 with the intention of helping young British sailors forge a future in competitive offshore racing. Since then the team has completed over 30,000 miles of racing, built three generations of Class 40s, and produced some notable race results, including a Class 40 world championship win.

Lawson, Concise CEO, commenting on Barbados as a choice for his team’s winter base, commented: “Barbados has it all including deep sea fishing, water-sports, super beaches, surfing, golf courses, tennis, first class polo and horse racing, motor racing, great restaurants and iconic hotels – and it’s all within 20 minutes. There’s nowhere else in the West Indies that can offer my crew and guests so much. In fact you can’t find an offer like this anywhere else in the world. It’s unique! That’s why we are delighted to be going there.”

Team Concise is expected in Barbados around the 15 December, after Concise 10 completes the RORC Transatlantic Race, and Concise 8 the Transat Jacques Vabre race from France to Brazil. Then, as part of their programme, the two boats will make repeated runs around Barbados attempting to establish new records for the fastest time around the island. This will create a visual feast of speed for visitors on the beaches as well as for the local Bajans who have a passion for anything fast.

In addition, there is a planned showdown between the MOD70 trimaran – Concise 10 – and a local rally car that will race each other 4around the island, plus the introduction of the The Barbados Flying Mile. The Barbados Flying Mile, which is open to all comers, provides even more chances to establish new records. The idea is for teams to time themselves over a measured mile between two official marker buoys, post their elapsed times online, and claim bragging rights if they are the fastest.

2Although out-and-out racing machines such as TP52s, MOD 70s, Volvo 70s, and local one-designs, cruisers, and charter yachts, are expected to make up the bulk of the fleet for the Mount Gay Round Barbados Series, there is likely to be a fine sprinkling of classics. Among the prettiest is Mat Barker’s Alfred Mylne 65 The Blue Peter, built by W. King & Sons at Burnham-on-Crouch, UK.

The outright monohull record round the island of Barbados remains in the hands of Andy Budgen and team on the British VO70 Monster Project who set a time of 4 hours 42 minutes 28 seconds in 2014. However, with the likes of the Barbados-branded team on their MOD70, and a selection of super-fast monohulls taking part, the absolute multihull record and several monohull class records look set to fall.

The highly competitive J/24 fleet always attracts big numbers and now, with the added opportunity to contest the 60-nautical mile Round Barbados Race, the organisers expect a further increase in entries. The time to beat from last year’s inaugural J/24 Round Barbados course is 09hrs, 06mins, 38secs.

The charter option for the Mount Gay Round Barbados Race Series is, not surprisingly, hugely popular. It offers clients the chance to visit Barbados and experience the Island’s warmth and hospitality and enjoy the seriously fun sailing and partying, without the responsibility/time of sailing the boat there. So far there are 14 charter company options available including OnDeck, Stormforce Coaching, Performance Yacht Charter, plus there are plenty of individual charter yachts spaces on offer including a VO60s and a TP52.

Matt Burge and Toby Lewis representing the Osprey class are the 2014 Endeavour Champions

Burnham-on-Crouch, Essex (Sunday 2 November, 2014): Piping their nearest rivals to the post in the final race of the series was just enough for Matt Burge and Toby Lewis representing the Osprey class to secure the 2014 Topper Sailboats-supported Endeavour Championship.

The new Endeavour Champions – Matt Burge (left) and Toby Lewis – celebrate their win – photo Sue Pelling

Matt Burge (right) and Toby Lewis with the solid silver Endeavour Trophy – photo Sue Pelling

With just two point separating the leading two boats (Osprey), and Matt Mee and Tom Pygall (Merlin Rocket) going into today’s final two races, the situations was always going to be close, and indeed, it went right down to the wire.

The penultimate race was sailed in lively conditions that reached 20kts in the gusts. Charlie Roome and Jeremy Stephens (Lark) sailed well and managed win from Tom Gillard and Sam Brearey (Streaker) by just one second on the finish line.

A breezy downwind leg – photo Sue Pelling

A breezy downwind leg – photo Sue Pelling

A sixth place however, for the Osprey team and a third for the Merlin Rocket boys, meant there was just one place between the leading contenders going into the final race. For the Osprey team to win, they had to finish ahead of the Merlin Rocket team.

The final race showdown was exciting with Ian Dobson and Holly Scott (GP14) establishing an impressive one-minute lead over Mee and Pygall (Merlin Rocket). Dobson and Scott maintained their position to the finish but in the closing stages of the race, Burge and Lewis (Osprey) were back in contention after being buried at the start and were able to take advantage of a favourable shift at the final leeward mark and just managed to beat Mee and Pygall across the line.

Matt Burge chatting about the gripping, final race finish, said: “The Merlin boys were beating us all the way round the race course, but we had a phenomenal last run. We then opted for the opposite leeward gate mark to them, found a nice bit of breeze, tacked on a shift, then slogged our guts out to the finish line. I’ve never hiked so hard and my legs were trembling. We beat them across the line by half a boat length.”

Commenting on his win, Burge added: “Winning the Endeavour Trophy is quite emotional. It has always been the event of all events I’ve wanted to win, so now I feel I can die happy having won it. “

The new Endeavour Champions – Matt Burge (left) and Toby Lewis – celebrate their win – photo Sue Pelling

The new Endeavour Champions – Matt Burge (left) and Toby Lewis – celebrate their win – photo Sue Pelling

Toby Lewis – four times Endeavour Champion crew – added. “It is great to win it with Matt. We had a tough day today, and a real fight on our hands. It was just an excellent last race. Today was a real case of not giving up. In both races we were buried at times but through sheer determination we pulled through.”

Second placed Matt Mee and Tom Pygall (Merlin Rocket) certainly didn’t make it easy for the eventual winners. Pygall commented: “Yes it was disappointing not to have won but we had a fantastic event. It was the first time I’ve sailed with Matt, and what a great guy he is to sail with. He is a legend really. We worked well together and I think the Argo is the type of boat that rewards teamwork, so yes, we really enjoyed it.”

At 16 years old, Rachel Grayson (Mirror class national champion) is not only one of the youngest helmsmen at this year’s event but according available records, she is also the highest placed female helmsman ever at the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club-hosted Endeavour Championship.

Grayson sailing with Nigel Wakefield, who finished the event in sixth place overall, was noted for her extreme skill, professional composure and her consistent performance throughout the weekend. Commenting on her impressive result, ever a modest Grayson concluded: “It was really fun and I cannot believe where we finished. My biggest fear was potentially finishing last in every race, and I really didn’t expect to be any good, particularly as it was also my first time sailing with an asymmetric spinnaker. I did have an amazing crew, so that helped and I probably owe our success to him.”

Overall Results (eight races, 1 discard)

1st Osprey, Matt Burge and Toby Lewis (21pts)

2nd Merlin Rocket, Matt Mee and Tom Pygall (22pts)

3rd GP 14, Ian Dobson and Holly Scott (23pts)

4th Lark, Charlie Roome and Jeremy Stephens (33pts)

5th Streaker, Tom Gillard and Sam Brearey (33pts)

6th Mirror, Rachel Grayson and Nigel Wakefield (37pts)

For full results go to: http://royalcorinthian.co.uk/result/2014-11-776-0

New one-design makes Endeavour Championship debut

Burnham-on-Crouch, Essex (Friday 31 October, 2014): A total of 20 dinghy champion teams arrived at the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club this morning for the opening of the 2014 three-day Topper Sailboats-supported Endeavour Championship (31 October – 2 November).

Competitors prepare for the start of tomorrow’s opening races in the 2014 Endeavour Championship – Sue Pelling

Competitors prepare for the start of tomorrow’s opening races in the 2014 Endeavour Championship – Sue Pelling

Sparkling sunshine with temperatures up to 20 degrees, and a pleasant warm breeze couldn’t have been more ideal for the Calltracks-sponsored pre-event training, run by ABC for Winning coach Adam Bowers. Competitors, eager to familiarise themselves with the new ‘Endeavour’ dinghy – the Rob White-designed Topper Argo, which replaces the Topper Xenon used for the last nine years, enjoyed an enjoyable and useful day on the water.

Although similar in looks to the Xenon with its high freeboard and racy asymmetric spinnaker, the Argo is 40kg lighter and carries less sail area, which means this new ‘Endeavour design’ should lower the overall crew-weight range and provide more appeal to lighter teams who struggle in windy conditions.

Given the diverse entry of the Topper Endeavour Championship, which includes singlehanded, doublehanded, heavy and lightweight crews from a range of different dinghy classes, finding a suitable strict one-design to ensure the racing is as fair as possible is always a challenge.

Thankfully, as the teams arrived back on shore at sunset this afternoon, the vibe around the dinghy park about the new ‘Endeavour design’ was a positive one.

lowres4Commenting on the Argo after today’s training session, Toby Lewis (33) from Dorset – former three times Endeavour Champion crew – this year representing the Osprey class, said: “Like the Xenon, the Argo provides a great level playing field, but because it is a new boat, no one is quite sure what the correct settings are, so it is interesting. It is fairly similar in layout, however. It is generally a smaller boat so lighter weight crews won’t be so penalized in a breeze, plus the kite is more manageable because it is smaller. Thumbs up all round.”

Simon Hiscocks (41) double Olympic medalist (bronze and silver), representing the 18ft Skiff class, added: “Because they are new, these boats are a great leveller. No one has an advantage. They are actually nice boats to sail because they produced good, tight racing over short training courses. Really looking forward to tomorrow. The Endeavour is a great opportunity to race against so many different class sailors. It is unique and carries a lot of prestige. There is also a great atmosphere and, for me, it is good to see dinghy sailing in a slightly different light rather than what I am used to, living in a bubble around Portland in Weymouth with Olympic sailing. It is a refreshing change and I am really enjoying it.”

Adam Bowers ABC for Winning coach, concluded: “It seems like a great boat for the job and a real step forward from the Xenon. It’s a lot stiffer for a start. The Xenon was really more suited to larger crews, but the Argo is more of a lighter, subtle machine, so it will be interesting to see what happens tomorrow.”

lowres3The eight-race, seven to count Topper Endeavour Trophy series starts at 1030 tomorrow (Saturday, November 1) with the plan to run up to five, 45-minute races back-to-back on windward/leeward courses. The remaining races are scheduled to take place on Sunday morning (2 November). This is however, subject to change depending on the weather situation.

The current forecast for tomorrow indicates more breeze – 15kts from the south/south-west with gusts up to 19-20kts – which should make for classic, exciting, Endeavour racing.

The grand Endeavour dinner for competitors is taking place in the main dinning room at the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club tomorrow night. Tickets, although limited, are still available at £21 from Kate Boothy at the RCYC office. Telephone: +44 (0) 1621 782105, or e-mail: kate.boothy@royalcorinthian.co.uk.

Confirmed entries

29 – Matt Venables and Curtis MeamsFirefly – Paul Kameen and Caroline Edwards

2000 – Rob and Katie Burridge

Mirror – Rachel Grayson and Nigel Wakefield

Musto Skiff – Bruce Keen and Lucy Terkelson

Osprey – Matt Burge and Toby Lewis

RS800 – Roger Phillips and Will Crocker

Graduate – Tony Cooper and Dave Appleton

GP14 – Ian Dobson and Holly Scott

Cadet – Alex Page and Aaron Chadwick

18ft Skiff – Simon Hiscocks and Nick MurrayRS300 – Steve Bolland and Tim Keen

Hornet – Will McGrath and Sam Woolner

Lark – Charlie Roome and Jeremy Stephens

RS Feva – Bobby Hewitt and Harvey Martin

4000 – Jason Kirk and Scott Dawson

Merlin Rocket – Matt Mee and Tom Pygall

Blaze – Ben Pickering Sam and Knight

National 12 – Tom Stewart and Andrea Downham

Streaker – Tom Gillard and Sam Brearey

lowres2

Sparkling start to premier east coast regatta

Burnham-on-Crouch, UK (25 August, 2014): A total of 125 teams in 14 classes ranging from IRC Class 1 boats, to multihulls, keelboats and dinghies, enjoyed sparkling conditions for the opening weekend of Burnham Week 2014.

Although the winds were particularly light on Sunday with challenging conditions testing local knowledge and tactical skills to the limit, the breeze shifted round to the east and piped up today to provide exciting, classic east coast conditions. Even the persistent rain failed to dampen the spirits around the town for Bank Holiday Monday Quay Day.

This iconic British regatta, which has been taking place annually for over 100 years, runs over eight days (23-30 August) kicking off with this weekend’s first Bank Holiday series. The Squib class at 19 boats is the largest fleet at the regatta and one of the most competitive.

The Squib class always produces exceptionally close racing – photo www.eastcoast.photos

The Squib class always produces exceptionally close racing – photo www.eastcoast.photos

Malcolm Hutchings and Andy Ramsey fresh their recent overall win of Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week for the second year in a row sailing Lady Penelope, also won this weekend’s racing but they didn’t have it all their own way. They were beaten on day one by Simon Griffin on Brutus and enjoyed some close battles with other local superstars including Micky Wright on Spoof who took second overall, Duncan Grindley on Surprise in third, and Robert Coyle (Royal Corinthian YC commodore) who was fourth.

Commenting on his win Hutchings said: “The racing is always interesting which shows in the results. Crew work and local knowledge is always key to winning but also we have such a good strength of Squib sailors here there racing is really intense and it is almost harder to win a Burnham Week weekend than it is to win Cowes Week.”

The highly active and enthusiastic Royal Burnham One-Design fleet never fails to produce fun, exciting racing. Still bubbling from celebrating the class 80th anniversary two years ago, the RBOD sailors once again enjoyed a weekend of thrilling racing within the 16-strong fleet. David Smith and team on Amanda notched up a consistent string of results over the three days and just managed to pip Will and Barty Dallimore and team on Mandarin into first place. Commenting on his win Smith said: “Winning in this fleet is far from easy, notably this weekend from Ali Devlin on Wimbrel who was going like a rocket. Once she really learns how to sail it, we’re all going to have to watch out. Yes we won all three races but each one was by about a boat length or less, so it was very, very close.”

Richard Matthews’ Oystercatcher made an impressive start to the regatta taking line honours and a Class 1 win on the opening day – the only day she competed. Overall winner of the weekend however, was Alan Bartlett’s Inn Spirit which was sailed consistently well throughout the weekend and managed to beat Tony and Chuffy Merewether’s Sunfast 3200 Amazon. In IRC Class 2 it was Duncan Haley and team on SJ320 Double Trouble who scored three first places for an overall weekend win.

Close racing in the Osprey fleet – photo www.eastcoast.photos

Close racing in the Osprey fleet – photo www.eastcoast.photos

Dinghy racing at Burnham Week is always popular and this year is no exception with strong Phantom and Osprey fleets, and a Fast Handicap fleet, which includes a range of classes from Albcores to Laser Radials.

The overall winner of the Fast Handicap fleet in a Laser EPS was Mark Candelas from Milton Keynes Sailing Club who said he was glad he chose Burnham over Bala in his decision to take part this weekend. “It was a toss up between the two and I have to say it was a great choice. It is always a challenge to sail on the tidal River Crouch but it is great sailing and always good competition.”

Burnham Week wouldn’t be Burnham Week without the presence of the elegant Dragon class and the spirited racing it produces. A total of 11 teams enjoyed close tactical racing throughout the weekend and, as a sign of an extremely competitive fleet, produced a different winner in every race. Consistency at the top of the fleet however, paid off for Mark and Mandy Wade on Avalanche who beat Mike Holmes and team on Hands Off by four points.

Ian Gray and team on Scorpio leads the Dragon fleet during Sunday’s light wind race – photo www.eastcoast.photos

Ian Gray and team on Scorpio leads the Dragon fleet during Sunday’s light wind race – photo www.eastcoast.photos

Former Dragon sailor Gary Harrison sailing with John Waterhouse, and a couple of 13-year-old Otter sailors – George Duce (today) and Tom Rands (Saturday) aboard the pretty Royal Corinthian One Design – Cormorant – used expert skill and local knowledge to clean up in the RCOD fleet, beating John Waples on Corpo Santo. Harrison said: “The RCOD is not unlike the Dragon to sail, but just a smaller version. As a relatively lightweight team the first two days were great for us but today, in the blustery winds we struggled a bit but had fun nevertheless.”

The Multihull fleet at Burnham Week is kept alive by an enthusiastic fleet of speed junkies on their racy flying machines. With three wins Nick Wood, Jonathan Money and team on the Farrier 27 Origami managed to scoop the overall weekend prize from John Galloway and team on a Farrier 27 – Threedom. Wood commented: “Fantastic racing. We’ve had a bit of everything over the weekend, and today it was wet and windy, which is perfect for these boats. We had a great course, which was basically reaching all the way round and had a blast up river to the finish and managed to clock 19kts.”

Duncan Hayley and team on Double Trouble, winner of IRC Class 2 – photo www.eastcoast.photos

Duncan Hayley and team on Double Trouble, winner of IRC Class 2 – photo www.eastcoast.photos

The racing and festival spirit that Burnham Week is known for continues throughout the week and concludes next Saturday with racing for all classes including IRC Class 1 competing for the Town Cup and, Class 2, the Commodores Cup. A grand fireworks display to mark the end of the regatta and celebrate the winner of the Town Cup will take place next Saturday evening.

The annual ‘duck’ race to raise funds for the Essex Air Ambulance – the event’s official charity – is also scheduled for the final Saturday.

A free Burnham Week guide that includes a brief explanation of the racing and class identification, as well as an update on all the shore side events, is available from shops and clubs throughout the town.

Further details at the event can be obtained from the Regatta Office located at the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club, at the eastern end of the quayside.

For daily, updated results, go to:http://burnhamweek.org.uk/results/2014

 

Crews prepare for next week’s Endeavour Championship at Burnham

Burnham-on-Crouch, Essex (2 October, 2013): The Endeavour Championship for the Topper Sailboats-supported-Endeavour Trophy is taking place at the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club, Burnham-on-Crouch next week (11-13 October).

The fleet of 25 invited champions and their crews from all around the country will race a fleet of brand-new Ian Howlett-designed Topaz Xenons to establish the 2013 dinghy Champion of Champions.

endeavour_trophy2Although last year’s winners, Ben Saxton and Alan Roberts (RS200) won’t be at the event to defend their title, Nick Craig – five-times winner – and crewman Toby Lewis (Merlin Rocket) who finished second last year, plus Jasper Barnham and Graham Sexton (Laser 2000), who finished third are, once again, preparing for a an exciting battle.

Another key player is Christian Birrell (Fireball) who’ll be aiming to repeat his Endeavour winning performance of 2010 when he crewed for Stuart Bithell (2012 Olympic silver medallist in the 470). This time Birrell will be at the helm, crewed by Richard Anderton.

Birrell, who has competed at this event three times in the past, both as crew and helmsman says the Endeavour Trophy is the event he looks forward to most. “The event provides fantastic racing, in perfectly matched boats against the best national class sailors in the UK.

“I love the event because I get to go racing against all my mates from all the different classes, in a class of boat, which we are all equally unpractised in! At least half the fleet is very evenly matched, which makes the racing extremely close. Burnham is also an extremely difficult place to sail, and offers something very different to the venues we all typically race in.”

Jasper Barnham endorsing Birrell’s opinion, added: “For me it is the best event of the season – bar none.

“Being able to test ourselves against the best in the country is reason we come to the Endeavour. Sailing against Stuart Bithell and Luke Patience last year was a huge thrill… We came away having learnt a huge amount, if we can learn as much this year then it will be a success for us.”

Jono Pank (Firefly) who has raced the Endeavour twice before, says: The Endeavour has slightly untouchable aura because you can’t get in any other way than winning your own champs… I see it as an elite club, and your membership expires very quickly – getting in is the toughest bit, unless you’re Nick Craig, of course.”

In an effort to ensure racing is as fair as possible, the race committee set the windward/leeward courses downriver from the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club, at the mouth of the River Roach, or in a similar suitable location depending on the state of the tide and wind direction. This also gives spectators and supporters a chance to view the racing from the sea wall.

The three-day event kicks off on Friday 11 October with the Calltracks-sponsored pre-event training session, run by ABC for Winning coach Adam Bowers. The eight-race, seven to count Endeavour Trophy series starts at 1030 on Saturday morning (12 October) with the plan to run five, 45-minute races back-to-back on windward/leeward courses. The remaining three races are scheduled to take place on Sunday morning (13 October). This is however, subject to change depending on the weather situation.

The grand Endeavour dinner is on Saturday night at the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club, and a limited number of tickets are still available at £21 from Kate Boothy at the RCYC office. Telephone: +44 (0) 1621 782105, or e-mail: kate.boothy@royalcorinthian.co.uk.

Confirmed entries to date

29er Owen Bowerman and Morgan Peach
Albacore Nev Herbert and Mark Fowler
D One Charlie Chandler and crew tba
Fireball Christian Birrell and Richard Anderton
Firefly Jono Pank and crew tba
GP14 Andy Tunnicliffe and Chris Robinson
Laser 2000 Jasper Barnham and Graham Sexton
Merlin Rocket Nick Craig and Alan Roberts
Miracle Sam Mettam and Martyn Lewis
Feva Elliot Wells and Jake Todd
RS100 Colin Smith and Graham Williamson
RS200 Matt Mee and Emma Norris
RS400 Stewart and Sarah Robinson
RS500 Mike Saul and Meg Fletcher
RS700 Robbie Bell and Stephen Powell
RS800 James Date and Toby Wincer
Scorpion Steve Hall and Oliver Wells
Solo Charlie Cumbley and Pete Cumming
Topper Ben Jennings and Giles Kuzyk
Topper 4.2 Crispen Beaumont and Chris Bownes

Nick Craig interview with Sue Pelling

Craig on method of preparation for a national or world championship?

Most championships are won before the event because preparation is everything. Quality time on the water is the best preparation. Racing against the best people possible, having a few learning objectives each time you sail, and to be willing to experiment with new things outside the big events. Ideally your sailing should have a mix of racing, two-boat tuning and solo practice depending on your strengths and weaknesses. Fitness is also really important. I generally step up a gear in the gym and bike in the six weeks preceding a major event.

Nick Craig and Toby Lewis

Nick Craig and Toby Lewis


On what gives him the edge over his competitors. Is it psychological, physical, talent, best equipment, or a good mix of each?

It’s actually rare that I’ve had an edge – I’ve lost a lot more championships than I’ve won. The time I perhaps had an edge was 2005-7 and I’d say that was down to a lot of quality sailing and gym work. I was doing more sailing and gym work in 2005-7 than at any time in my life and any other amateur. I think there are many more talented sailors than me; it took me many years to win major events whereas more talented sailors have done that much faster. I’d say I have won events through hard work and strong preparation rather than superior talent. Hard work pays off in the end.

I always aim to sail with the best equipment. But I don’t think that has given me an edge in the classes I sail because everyone has access to the same equipment, which is a feature I like.

Psychologically, I like big events especially when it goes down to the wire on the last day. They are my favourite days, I love that buzz. I think that mindset helps.

On addressing his weaknesses?

A mix of working hard on them and not getting too hung up on them – you can go a long way through leveraging your strengths. For example, the 2008 Endeavour was light airs and we were heavy but won it though winning most of the starts to make up for our lack of boatspeed.

I generally struggle most with light airs pace, partly because I switch boats a lot. Time in a particular boat is key for light airs pace whereas I find time in any boat works in more breeze. As much two-boat tuning as I can do in those conditions with a fast partner is very effective though not always easy to arrange. I’ve had an edge in light airs when I’ve put in the quality time to earn one.

On using other sports to enhance fitness on the racecourse?

I aim to have a varied programme to keep it interesting so sustainable. I do a fair bit of cycling, swimming, rowing machine, weights and circuits. In the build up to a major event, I’ll focus more on what is required for that boat. For example the OK is hard on the legs but not on the upper body so I’ll focus on leg work whereas the Finn needed a lot of both. I think fitness has been a major edge for me in amateur sailing, though it’s getting tougher to maintain that as the years pass. The pro sailors were always fitter than me, sailing the Finn for three years was great for me in realising just how fit it’s possible to be, I stepped up a fair bit during that period

On the reasons behind the decision to remain an amateur sailor?

I have a realistic understanding that I’m not good enough to make the Olympics. I’d never have beaten the likes of Ben [Ainslie] and others even with unlimited time. Whilst there may have been a professional route in yacht sailing, I much prefer dinghy sailing, so the amateur route has made sense for me and I’ve loved it and have no regrets.

On his first Endeavour Trophy win?

I was 30 representing the OK class. It took me five attempts to win the Endeavour; it is an extremely tough event. Stu Bithell, James Peters and Ben Saxton who all won or nearly won it at their first attempts are exceptionally talented, that wasn’t something I was able to come close to.

On his closest Endeavour rivals?

There have been many all with very different sailing styles, which is what makes it so interesting. I think Jim Hunt, Geoff Carveth and Roger Gilbert have been the most consistent performers over the years with James Peters and Ben Saxton hugely impressive over the last few years.

On the choice of Endeavour boats over the years, and the most successful?

I love racing the Enterprise and RS400 but the Xenon has been a huge success due to Topper’s excellent support. They provide 25 ready to sail boats, which makes it easy for people to compete and ensures as level playing field as is possible.

On his plan of action to ensure a best possible chance of winning?

Secure the best possible crew.

On selecting a crew for the Endeavour championship?

I think the two key qualities needed are to get a crew with a great feel for a boat so the boathandling comes together quickly, and exceptional hiking fitness because eight races in two days is tough, particularly in a breeze.

On the importance of attending the Endeavour Trophy training day?

For me the training day is key. I take a little longer than some of the uber-talented sailors to get up to speed so I like that time in the boat to get the feel of it again. And starting is so important at the Endeavour so we’ll put ourselves under pressure on the start line on the training day by pushing the ends to sharpen ourselves up as fast as possible.

On the difference between competing at the Endeavour Trophy and a class championship?

A big difference. Burnham is highly tidal and the courses are short. Starting, boathandling and boat on boat tactics therefore become much more important. It’s been a good event for me as these are my strengths whereas big course champs play a little more on my weaknesses.

On the importance of winning the Endeavour Trophy?

It’s a fantastic event with more depth of competition than almost any other UK event, so it is very important to me.

And finally, on giving advice to Endeavour first timers?

Spend the practice day working on your starting/slow speed boathandling so you can focus as much as possible on the racing at the weekend. Chat to as many people as possible with Endeavour experience to get an understanding of the tides.