Tom Morris and Guy Fillmore reign supreme in tough, shifty conditions

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Overnight leaders Tom Morris and Guy Fillmore (RS800) – photo Sue Pelling

Royal Corinthian YC, Burnham-on-Crouch, Essex (8 October 2022): Tom Morris and Guy Fillmore representing the RS800 class have taken the overnight lead of the Investec-sponsored Endeavour Trophy dinghy champion of champions event after four races writes Sue Pelling.

Burnham-on-Crouch was bathed in glorious sunshine with wind reaching 20+kts for today’s opening races of the 61st dinghy champion of champions series for the coveted Endeavour Trophy

The wind was extremely shifty however, leading to close tactical racing that was reflected in the results. The racing was unpredictable throughout the day, with a different winner in every race.

However, Morris and Fillmore, with a 1,6,8,4 to count, just managed to shake off the young 420 representatives Ollie Meadowcroft (18) and Oscar Cawthorne (17), who sailed an impressive series including a win in the penultimate race of the day. This puts Meadowcroft and Cawthorne just one point astern of the overnight leaders.

The first race of the day started in a good, working breeze after two general recalls and the black flag introduced. Morris and Fillmore, from Hayling Island SC, made a cracking start, which put them into the lead they never relinquished. However, in the shifty conditions it was tricky for even the most seasoned champions to work out which side of the river to opt for in the strong Spring tidal stream, but as the day wore on, going right seemed to be the most favoured.

Morris commenting on the day’s racing said: “It was a really tough day and we found ourselves down the ‘pan’ on several occasions. I would say, we were saved by heading for the right-hand side of the river in each race really. We learnt our lesson on the very first beat when we went left. From the second beat onwards, we went right and it paid dividends. The conditions at Burnham, with the low-lying land either side and narrow channels are not dissimilar to where we sail at Hayling, so I think that helped us a bit today too.”

Looking ahead to tomorrow, Morris and Fillmore agreed they would like to see even more wind: “At 145kg overall, we are on the heavy side for an RS200 but having said that, sailing a venue like this makes it a bit more of a leveller.”

Meadowcroft and Cawthorne, representing Upper Thames Sailing Club were elated with their results. On his debut as a helmsman at the Endeavour, a focused Meadowcroft said: “It was straightforward tactically in terms of the tide and having to evade it one way and not the other, but the more difficult part was choosing which side of the river to take. Thankfully we ended up getting it right most of the time and we are pleased with the result.”

Commenting on the choice of boat for the event, Meadowcroft added: “I do very much enjoy sailing a boat I can hike really hard, and to be able to push it hard upwind, so in that respect we enjoy the RS200. Even when the wind is tricky like it was today, the beauty of the RS200 is the fact it’s easy to change up or down a gear. It’s a simple boat to sail but it’s all about knuckling down and trying to find the pressure and going for it. Consequently, we are really looking forward to tomorrow’s racing.”

Other notable winners today included 2021 Endeavour champion Luke Patience, and Faye Chatterton who claimed the ‘award’ for the biggest lead of the day when they finished nearly two minutes ahead of Merlin Rocket representatives Christian Birrell and Rachel Gray. The final win of the day went to Santiago Sesto Cosby and Leo Wilkinson – 29er national champions.

With slightly more wind forecast for tomorrow, and with the overall results wide open with the discard yet to come into play, the final four races of the eight-race series are likely to produce the sort of dynamic racing that the Endeavour championship is famous for.

In the meantime, competitors and guests enjoyed a relaxing evening at the traditional, grand Endeavour dinner, which is this year dedicated to Leukaemia UK in 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.

Results (4 of 8 races)

1st RS800 – Tom Morris and Guy Fillmore (19pts)

2nd 420 – Ollie Meadowcroft and Oscar Cawthorne (20pts)

3rd RS200 – Arran Holman and Hayden Sewell (25pts)

4th D Zero – Nick Craig and Toby Lewis (25pts)

5th GP14 – Ian Dobson and Emma Hivey (28pts)

6th Merlin Rocket – Christian Birrell and Rachael Gray (30pts)

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Ollie Meadowcroft and Oscar Cawthorne (420) sailed impressively and finished the day in second place overall – photo Sue Pelling

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A well-behaved fleet once the black flag was introduced – photo Sue Pelling

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Spectacular conditions made for an ideal day’s racing – photo Roger Mant

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Eighth overnight. Luke Patience (2021 Endeavour champ), and Faye Chatterton are looking forward to bettering their score tomorrow – photo Sue Pelling

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Downwind fun – photo Roger Mant

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