Olympian Luke Patience and Mary Henderson win 60th Endeavour Trophy – Super-fast duo settle some unfinished business

Luke Patience and Mary Henderson Olympian 470 representatives on their way to an overall win – photo Roger Mant

Luke Patience and Mary Henderson Olympian 470 representatives on their way to an overall win – photo Roger Mant

After a couple of mixed results on the opening day yesterday, including an OCS, silver medallist Luke Patience and Mary Henderson won the Endeavour Champion of Champions title with two final race wins.

Following a three-hour postponement waiting for the breeze to fill in, the 31-strong fleet enjoyed the two final races of the Investec-sponsored Endeavour Trophy. An 8-9kt northerly breeze was just enough to allow for a decent windward/leeward course but the strong Spring tide was, once again, the dominating factor, that kept competitors on their toes right to very end.

Winning the start was everything today, which was clearly demonstrated by Patience and Henderson, particularly in the first race. It was imperative to take an immediate hitch over to the right-hand side of the course out of the tide. For Patience/Henderson once they were in control after a couple of perfect tacks, they were able to take advantage of the clear air and score their first win of the day, with Tom Morris and Guy Fillmore (RS800) in second place. Their nearest rivals – Ben Palmer and Amy Seabright (Thames A Rater) – finished a close third.

Edwin Buckley, race director, presents the solid silver Endeavour Trophy to Luke Patience and Mary Henderson – photo Roger Mant

Edwin Buckley, race director, presents the solid silver Endeavour Trophy to Luke Patience and Mary Henderson – photo Roger Mant

With three points between the top two boats (Patience/Henderson and Palmer/Seabright) going into the second and final race of the day, the pressure was on. A bit of a battle took place off the start line but once again Patience/Henderson were able to repeat their performance and secure another win, which was enough for an overall win. Palmer/Seabright were always in contention but they had to settle for a close second, which after their impressive results from the opening day, were able to take second place overall.

For Patience and Henderson winning the 2021 Endeavour Trophy was a case of completing some unfinished business from the last Endeavour in 2019. Patience recalls it well: “Indeed, it almost feels like a bit of redemption from when we almost won two years ago but mucked up on a gybe on the last run.

“In a way it makes it even more special to have finally won the Endeavour. It was really great racing.”

The moment Patience and Henderson took control of the race (blue hull) – photo Sue Pelling

The moment Patience and Henderson took control of the race (blue hull) – photo Sue Pelling

Commenting on today’s game plan, Patience added: “In both races we managed to get free of the fray early and that was very important today. We spent a lot of time before the racing chatting about our options and did a ton of transits on the line before the start so we could be accurate enough to get on port early.”

A delighted Henderson added: “Winning the Endeavour is a real life achievement and to become the champion of champions, helm or crew, is very special. Also, my dad [Will Henderson] will be delighted because this is his 21-year-old boat!”

Second placed Palmer said: “It feels great to have finished second in the Endeavour Trophy. Amy and I haven’t sailed together for several years, so I was a bit nervous about how we would perform but it all came together and we surprised ourselves. It was also great to sail against such a competitive fleet and have a good race at the top with the likes of Luke Patience because he doesn’t make mistakes.”

Although Nick Craig – five time previous Endeavour winner – is not known for particularly enjoying light airs, he admits that this weekend, where the wind hardly reached 10kts, he surprised himself. He and Katie Burridge sailed well and with four fourth places to count, they found themselves in a respectable third place overall. Craig said: “Regardless of the conditions, the Endeavour never fails to produce top class racing. I was pleasantly surprised how well we did in the extremely light airs yesterday and I definitely feel it was as well as we could have hoped for.”

Arran Holman and Toby Lewis (RS200) weren’t as on form as they had hoped for this weekend but nevertheless notched up a string of consistent results, which left them in fourth place overall, just four points behind Craig/Burridge.

Holman said although he had crewed the Endeavour a few times before this was his first time helming at the Endeavour. “It was a great experience. Also, having Toby [Lewis] as crew – a legend of the event – I couldn’t have had a better guy at the front dragging me round the course at times, telling me where to go. Overall though, the Endeavour has a fantastic atmosphere and it is so great to have so many awesome sailors and legends of the sport all together pushing really hard.”

A final mention must be made of the highest place junior sailors (RS Feva) – Millie Irish (17) and Joe Warwicker (16). As well as winning yesterday’s final race, they sailed impressively once again and finished the day with a fifth place, which left them in a respectable seventh place overall.

Irish said they were delighted to get another chance to race today: “At the start of the day, with no wind, we didn’t think we’d get another chance, so we were so pleased the wind finally filled in. We have learned so much this weekend. The biggest lesson was realising just how much even the tiniest mistake can cost you because everyone is so good.”

Back on shore after racing this afternoon, competitors and guests attended the 60th Endeavour prizegiving where the winners were presented with the spectacular solid silver model, and the half model of the America’s Cup J-Class yacht Endeavour.

Plans are already underway for next year’s Investec-sponsored Endeavour Trophy, which is taking place on 8-9 October 2022.

Overall Results (6 races, 5 to count)

1st Olympian 470 – Luke Patience and Mary Henderson (7pts)

2nd Thames A Rater – Ben Palmer and Amy Seabright (11pts)

3rd RS400 – Nick Craig and Katie Burridge (22pts)

4th RS200 – Arran Holman and Toby Lewis (26pts)

5th Solo – Andy Davis and Pippa Kilsby (38pts)

6th Merlin Rocket – Christian Birrell ad Matt Mee (44pts)

Thames A Rater champs take overnight Endeavour lead – A mixed bag of results in light wind opening races

Overnight leaders after four races, Ben Palmer and Amy Seabright – photo Sue Pelling

Overnight leaders after four races, Ben Palmer and Amy Seabright – photo Sue Pelling

Light winds and extremely strong Spring tides threatened to disrupt the opening day of the 60th anniversary Endeavour Trophy but instead four races took place in challenging, shifty conditions,.

It was a day of mixed results with a different winner in virtually every race, but it was the Thames A Rater national champions – Ben Palmer and Amy Seabright – who won the day with a consistent set of results, which included 2,2,2,11 scoreline. They managed to beat five-time Endeavour champ Nick Craig, and Katie Burridge by just one point in the overnight standings.

A delighted Palmer said the benefit of river sailing a Thames A-Rater on the narrows at Kingston-upon-Thames really paid dividends today: “We regularly race Raters on the river, which is quite similar to what we saw today and short tacking up a bank is what we do. Actually the river at Kingston is narrower than here, so I think that really helped us today. Weighing in a just 125kg between us was also a big advantage today. Overall we really enjoyed it and doing so well today is a real bonus.”

Craig who is a known heavy weather expert was genuinely amazed at his consistency today (three fourths and a sixth place). “I am quite shocked how fast we sailed today given the fact I am not really that keen on light airs. We did much better than expected so we are really happy with that. We managed to get the starts right and from there on everything just seemed to go the right way.”

And plans for tomorrow? “I am not denying the fact we’d love 20kts but that is not going to happen so we will be continuing where we left off today.”

Getting the start right today, in the strong tides was one of the biggest challenges, which caught out many including a gaggle of Olympic medallists. Tokyo gold medallist Stuart Bithell/Jessica Hammett suffered one OCS and was black-flagged. Olympian Luke Patience/Mary Henderson who led the opening race also suffered an OCS, leaving Tom and Isabelle Stewart (National 12) to secure a well-deserved first place.

Arran Holman and Toby Lewis (RS200) maintained a string of top 10 results, which left them in overnight third place just ahead of Patience/Henderson in fourth. Commenting on the secret of success in the tricky, light conditions, Patience said:

“In conditions like we had today the key is to first get a good start and not be over the line! The aim then was to try to make a clear path strategically not necessarily tactically. For us today it was a case of just trying to make sure we were in the right part of the ‘ocean’ all the time, while keeping in clear air.”

Super consistent Optimist sailors, Patrick Bromilow and Tabitha Davies enjoy two third places today – photo Sue Pelling

Super consistent Optimist sailors, Patrick Bromilow and Tabitha Davies enjoy two third places today – photo Sue Pelling

Although results will change significantly tomorrow when discards come into play, it is good to see so many junior teams in the running. Among those who really sailed impressively today were Patrick Bromilow and Tabitha Davies (Optimist) who weigh just 90kg. This lightweight team made some first class starts and opened the day’s racing with two third places.

Bromilow (13) commenting on his results said: “Today was all about tidal advantages and keeping up the momentum. We also had some good starts, which of course helps in these tricky conditions. It was fun and we are looking forward to tomorrow where we plan to do more of the same in the light winds expected.”

One of the highlights of the day that will doubtless be remembered for many years to come is the final race win by Millie Irish (17) and Joe Warwicker (16). This pair (RS Feva) stormed off from the startline, made the most of the strong ebbing tide, sailed their own race and won by one minute 15 seconds.

Millie Irish and Joe Warwicker won the final race by over a minute – photo Sue Pelling

Millie Irish and Joe Warwicker won the final race by over a minute – photo Sue Pelling

An elated Irish said: “I am so happy. My dad [Steve Irish – Endeavour coach] will definitely not believe it.” Commenting on how they won, Millie added: “We went right up the first beat in the tide and just focused on ourselves and had the advantage of clear air. Also it was imperative to hug the north shore out of the tide on the long run. Can’t wait for tomorrow.”

Back on shore this evening competitors and guests enjoyed the grand 60th anniversary Endeavour dinner with special guest speakers Keith Musto, Olympic silver medallist (1964 Tokyo Olympics) and first ever Endeavour winner in 1961, joining forces on ‘stage’ with Stuart Bithell, gold medallist (2021 Tokyo Olympics).

The final four races of the eight race series concludes tomorrow. First start 10.30.

Results (4 of 8 races)
1st Thames A Rater – Ben Palmer and Amy Seabright (17pts)
2nd RS400 – Nick Craig and Katie Burridge (18pts)
3rd RS200 – Arran Holman and Toby Lewis (25pts)
4th Olympian 470 – Luke Patience and Mary Henderson (36pts)
5th National 12 – Tom and Isobel Stewart (46pts)
6th Solo – Andy Davis and Pippa Kilsby (46pts)

Startline action – photo Sue Pelling

Startline action – photo Sue Pelling

Stuart Bithell, Keith Musto, Luke Patience (centre back) pre-race Olympic chat with the Corinthian Otters (RCYC junior section) – photo Sue Pelling

Stuart Bithell, Keith Musto, Luke Patience (centre back) pre-race Olympic chat with the Corinthian Otters (RCYC junior section) – photo Sue Pelling

Pre race briefing in glorious  Autumnal sunshine – photo  Sue Pelling

Pre race briefing in glorious Autumnal sunshine – photo Sue Pelling

(from left) Stuart Bithell, Tom Pygall, Matt Burge, Jessica Hammett, Toby Lewis – photo Sue Pelling

(from left) Stuart Bithell, Tom Pygall, Matt Burge, Jessica Hammett, Toby Lewis – photo Sue Pelling

Keith Musto, winner of the first ever Endeavour Trophy representing the Cadet class – photo Sue Pelling

Keith Musto, winner of the first ever Endeavour Trophy representing the Cadet class – photo Sue Pelling

Olympic medallists past and present – Stuart Bithell, Keith Musto, Luke Patience – photo Sue Pelling

Olympic medallists past and present – Stuart Bithell, Keith Musto, Luke Patience – photo Sue Pelling

60th Endeavour Trophy – Olympians join 30 national champions in special anniversary event

Ultra light winds for today’s training session – photo Roger Mant

The countdown to the 60th anniversary Endeavour Trophy is underway with the first race kicking off at 10.00 today (9 October 2021).

As this annual invitational eight-race series (8-10 October) reaches another significant milestone, the battle to become the dinghy champion of champions continues to intensify.

The entry at this unique, high profile event at the Royal Corinthian YC, Burnham-on-Crouch, has always been exceptionally strong and this year’s Investec-sponsored series, in one-design RS200s, is no exception. A total of 31 champions from the most popular dinghy racing classes, including a host of previous Endeavour winners, will be joined for this special anniversary event by some highly decorated Olympians.

Although five-time Endeavour winning helmsman Ben Saxton is not competing this year, one team to watch out for this weekend is Aaron Holman (RS200 national champion) with Saxton’s super-crew Toby Lewis at the front end. If anyone knows how to sail an RS200 fast at this event it is, without doubt, Lewis.

Up against them however, are a couple of Olympian team mates going head to head this time – Stuart Bithell fresh from a Gold medal win in Tokyo (49er crew), and Luke Patience Olympic silver medallist with Bithell as crew at Weymouth (470). Both teams also have plenty of Endeavour experience with Bithell an Endeavour Champion helmsman in 2010, and Patience who was ‘pipped at the post’ in the final race by Saxton at 2019 Endeavour Trophy. For Patience and Mary Henderson, this weekend’s racing will be about settling some unfinished business.

Another serial Endeavour Trophy winner with five Endeavour wins to his name is Nick Craig (RS400). Craig hopes to put his former Endeavour winning-skills into practice once again, this time with Katie Burridge calling the shots at the front. Chatting about his prospects of making it his sixth Endeavour win, Craig said: “As much as I would like to think positively about another Endeavour win, I think that given the weather forecast, I’d be hard pushed. For a start I would need to lose 15kg by tomorrow. Whatever happens it will be good fun, it is always great sailing and a fantastic event, so I am really looking forward to getting out there tomorrow.”

Matt Burge (Osprey) who won the Endeavour Trophy in 2014 with Toby Lewis, and was runner up twice, is another favourite with Tom Pygall crewing for him this year.

It is also good to see so many young sailors taking part including Isobel Stewart (16) crewing for her father Tom (N12), and Millie Irish (17) with Joe Warwicker (16) crewing (RS Feva).

Florence Brellisford (18) and Ben Hutton Penman (18) – home club representatives and former Corinthian Otters (RCYC’s junior section) – are not only flying the flag for the 29er class, but also for the RCYC Otter fleet. In support the club’s new incentive to inspire the next generation of sailors, members of the Otters will be out and about watching the masters at work on the racecourse throughout the weekend.

Tuning for light wind speed – photo Roger Mant

Tuning for light wind speed – photo Roger Mant

Meanwhile, in preparation for the tough challenge ahead – eight back-to-back races over two days on the tidal waters of the River Crouch – competitors took part in today’s opening Investec-sponsored training session.

Headed by Steve Irish – one of the UK’s leading dinghy racing coaches – teams had a chance to not only listen to some well-seasoned advice but also acquaint themselves with their boats, and fine tune their rigs (brand-new jibs and spinnakers supplied courtesy of RS Sailing and Hyde Sails).

It was also a delight that Keith Musto, Olympic silver medallist and winner of the first ever Endeavour Trophy crewing for Peter Bateman in 1961, was present at today’s morning briefing. Musto is always so interested in the progress of sailing and will undoubtedly be out on the water, spectating aboard his own racing yacht, at some point over the weekend.

 day of coaching with Steve Irish (left) ensures all boats are tuned for optimum performance – photo Roger Mant

day of coaching with Steve Irish (left) ensures all boats are tuned for optimum performance – photo Roger Mant

As well as Irish’s rigging/tuning in the morning, competitors, particularly Endeavour first-timers, embraced the on-the water session and video de-brief back on shore. Although the wind failed to cooperate much today it was a chance to set up and put the boats through their paces ready for what looks to be a generally challenging light wind, strong Spring tide weekend.

Irish, a former champion and Endeavour competitor, commenting on the what he aims to achieve, said: “My job really is to help the newbies to the RS200 class set up their boats and offer advice on how to sail them. It is going to be light winds all weekend with big Spring tides so racing will be interesting. We might find some of the junior sailors are able to hold their own against some of the older ‘boys’.”

Chatting to Millie Irish (17) an Endeavour first timer who won the RS Feva nationals, and who happens to be Steve Irish’s daughter, it appears that having a father as coach is no real advantage: “The coaching session today was great. A real treat in fact because as odd as it sounds, I never get any coaching from dad because he is always coaching others.”

Commenting on her first time at the Endeavour, Irish added: “I am so excited to race against really, really great people. It is such a wonderful opportunity to be sailing at the top of the sport. There are certainly not many sports you can sail against Olympians. Can’t wait. We weigh about 110kg so the light winds expected are definitely on our side.”

Millie Irish’s crew Joe Warwicker (16) is reveling in the fact that even though he finished second at the Feva nationals he still made it to the Endeavour. “We [Millie and Joe] were racing each other at the nationals and it was quite a tight finish. We, two helms, now find ourselves in the boat together. We are very aware it’s a great opportunity to race against gold medallists and other very good sailors, so we hope to learn a lot this weekend.”

Edwin Buckley, event director and race officer commented: “I am absolutely delighted that we have finally been able to host the 60th anniversary event. The restrictions imposed last year, to help manage the spread of the Covid-19 virus, brutally affected championships, which meant there were no champions.

Not surprisingly, this year we have been overwhelmed with entries and, the fact we have Olympians on the race course makes the event even more special.”

Commenting on the conditions the competitors may face, Buckley concluded: “It is definitely going to be a tricky one this year particularly with the exceptionally high Spring tides and generally light winds. As it stands at the moment, tomorrow the tide is likely to be more powerful than wind so some will struggle. However, Sunday is looking more promising with 7-11kts of wind forecast, but given the strength of the tide, still very challenging.”

Endeavour Entrants 2021

  • Cherub – Andrew and Jill Peters
  • Tasar – Rick and Sarah Perkins
  • Graduate – Isaac Marsh and Fresh Abendstern
  • 2000 – Rob and Sarah Burridge
  • RS400 – Nick Craig and Katie Burridge
  • National 12 – Tom and Isobel Stewart
  • Olympian – Stuart Bithell and Jessica Hammett
  • Contender – Sam Barker and Samuel Mottershead
  • Thames A Rater – Ben Palmer and Amy Seabright
  • Olympian 470 – Luke Patience and Mary Henderson
  • Optimist – Patrick Bromilow and Tabitha Davies
  • RS Aero 9 – Ben Rolfe and Clara Jones
  • ILCA4 – Max Steele and Flynn Davies
  • Solo – Andy Davis and Pippa Kilsby
  • Blaze – Ben Harden and Eden Hyland
  • Cadet – Hannah Carruthers and Alan Krailing
  • Europe – Steve and Sarah Cockerill
  • RS800 – Tom Morris and Guy Fillmore
  • GP14 – Mike and Liz Senior
  • 29er – Florence Brellisford and Ben Hutton Penman
  • Comet – Eddie Pope and Chris Hatton
  • RS Aero 5 – Andrew Frost and Hamish Walker
  • Musto Skiff – Sam and Megan Pascoe
  • RS200 – Arran Holman and Toby Lewis
  • Lark – Harry Pynn and Stephen Videlo
  • RS600 – George Smith and Elliot Marks
  • Osprey – Matthew Burge and Tom Pygall
  • Merlin Rocket – Christian Birrell and Matt Mee
  • 420 – Ella Lance and Will Martin
  • RS Feva – Millie Irish and Joe Warwicker
  • Supernova – Alistair Goodwin and Cliff Milliner

Image Credits

  1. 1. Ultra light winds for today’s training session – photo Roger Mant
  2. 2. Competitors line up for boat scrutinisation – photo Roger Mant
  3. 3. A day of coaching with Steve Irish (left) ensures all boats are tuned for optimum performance – photo Roger Mant
  4. 4. Tuning for light wind speed – photo Roger Mant
  5. 5. Champions prepare to launch for on-the-water training this afternoon – photo Roger Mant

Burnham Week 2021 – ApeX X332 wins Town Cup

Burnham Week 2021

ApeX X332 wins Town Cup 

Winners of the Town Cup and the EAORA Houghton Cup – Robert Leggett and team on ApeX, an X332 – photo Sue Pelling

Winners of the Town Cup and the EAORA Houghton Cup – Robert Leggett and team on ApeX, an X332 – photo Sue Pelling

Robert Leggett and team on ApeX, an X332, have won the Town Cup to mark the end of Burnham Week 2021.           

Leggett, sailing with his seasoned Haven Ports YC team of Jeremy Littlewood, Mark Evans, Catherine Evans, Luke Brett, and Edward Ireson sailed an impressive race to beat Chris Agar and team on Secrets, an MGHS 30MOD, by just over two minutes on corrected time.           

The northerly breeze that remained throughout the week, shifted slight further round to the east today to allow for some good beats and runs. And, with windspeeds averaging around 12-15kts, there was plenty of tactical racing, and extremely close finishes in many classes.

As he arrived back in the marina after a long day on the water, Leggett – owner and skipper of the Town Cup winner ApeX – said the team is absolutely delighted. “We are so happy to have won this most prestigious trophy. We raced hard and had a fantastic day. We sailed the boat round from Haven Ports specifically for the Town Cup and also the EAORA Houghton Cup, which we were competing against Oystercatcher to win overall, so as well as the Town Cup we are double delighted to have clinched the Houghton Cup too.

Chatting about the race, Leggett added: “Actually our start was not fantastic, I got that slightly wrong so we had to make quite a recovery up the first beat, which was difficult weaving our way through some of the slower boats. The run back was quite tactical in terms of avoiding the shallows but the crew worked hard throughout and we managed to increase our gap over Secrets, which ultimately won us the race.”

Richard Matthews’ flashy, new Carkeek CF520 52ft Oystercatcher XXXV that was launched earlier this year, powered around the 29nm course with ease and not surprising took line honours in just over three hours 42 minutes. It was not to be her day however, and on corrected time Matthews and team had to settle for eighth place.

Richard Matthews and the Oystercatcher XXXV team – photo Sue Pelling

Richard Matthews and the Oystercatcher XXXV team – photo Sue Pelling

Matthews said it was enjoyable nevertheless: “It was a very nice course and empathetic for our 3.7m draft but happily the tide was up so it was the dream race for us. We saw about 17kts of wind so hoisted the heavy jib for the second beat but regretted it so changed back to medium for the last beat. It was a great day on the water and we are now looking forward to the final EAORA race – the Buckley Goblets.”

The Commodores Cup for classes 5 and 6 was equally close on corrected time with Daryl Mylrole Maxi 1000 Eclipse winning from Richard Moore and Roger Tolhurst in Ophelia (MGC27)

Elsewhere on the River Crouch, the remaining fleets contesting Trophy Day enjoyed what turned out to be a spectacular finale to Burnham Week 2021. A good working breeze gave plenty of opportunities to put tactical skills to the ultimate test among many of the other classes.

A fine example of close racing was demonstrated in the Dragon class with five boats finishing within 15 seconds of each other. Ian Gray sailing with Rene Nel and Alex Burnett on Still Crazy put in excellent performance and were able to take the Daily Telegraph Cup by the slimmest of margins.

Richard Matthews’ new Carkeek CF520 52ft Oystercatcher XXXV took Town Cup line honours – photo Alan Hanna.

Richard Matthews’ new Carkeek CF520 52ft Oystercatcher XXXV took Town Cup line honours – photo Alan Hanna.

Commenting on his win, Gray said: “Amazing. We narrowly won with a three inch gap between us and the second boat sailed by Chippy Cole.” Commenting on how they all found themselves in the predicament, Gray added: “We had a great race to the Outer Crouch but on the way back up river, we piled up in a group and had seven-mile, place-swapping battle on the run back to the finish line. It was a truly fantastic race and will be remembered for many years to come I expect.”

In the well-supported Squib class Jono Brown and team aboard Squiggle managed to break Micky Wright and Alex Porteous’ total Burnham Week domination in Spoof by winning today’s trophy race for the Burnham Bowl. Ray Apthorp and Petru Balau in Nemesis were second today, and Spoof finished third.

Team Spoof enjoyed successful week in preparation for the forthcoming national championship – photo Alan Hanna

Team Spoof enjoyed successful week in preparation for the forthcoming national championship – photo Alan Hanna

Alex Porteous who crews for Micky Wright in Spoof said: “This week has put our tactical skills to the test. We really did enjoy fantastic, competitive racing. We had some good downwind speed but generally our success was all about the challenge of being pushed exceptionally hard, all the time by really good sailors. There was certainly no time to relax at all because there was always someone there ready to pounce. Today was fine example of that.”

The local one-designs, the Royal Burnham and Royal Corinthian One-Designs also continued to enjoy close racing today with Justin Waples and his team of Steve and Lizzie Rands rounding off an excellent week by scoring another first to add to their already impressive wins last weekend and Mid Week. Waples who took home the Bar YC Trophy today said: “The week has been a huge amount of fun. We sail a lot together so I think I put our success down to teamwork. Also we’ve just finished Aldeburgh Week so we were race sharp, which really did help.”

Simon Hollington and team in Beryl in the Royal Burnham One-Design class won today’s race by over two minutes – photo Alan Hanna

Simon Hollington and team in Beryl in the Royal Burnham One-Design class won today’s race by over two minutes – photo Alan Hanna

In the Royal Burnham One-Design class Simon Hollington and team in Beryl sailed an exceptionally good final race and won the Lards Cup with a huge two-minute lead from Will Dallimore and team in Manderin.

Last but not least mention should be made of the infamous Burnham Week Duck Race that took place off the Royal Burnham YC pontoon earlier today. Over £800 was raised for the Essex Air Ambulance. 

The Duck Race in aid of the Essex Air Ambulance was, as always, a huge success – photo Tammy Fisher

The Duck Race in aid of the Essex Air Ambulance was, as always, a huge success – photo Tammy Fisher

Milly Drew (17) Commodore of the Corinthian Otters who performed the official start of the race with her Flag Officers said: “It was a real honour to set the ducks off on their race, and I am grateful to everyone who generously sponsored a duck. We were pleased to be able to do as much as possible for the Air Ambulance particularly as there was no race last year. Everyone who lives in Burnham knows how important the Essex Air Ambulance is because getting to the hospital by road could be slow and uncomfortable.”

Following the grand Burnham Week prizegiving where Trophies for the Mid Week series and the final day’s racing were presented, competitors joined locals and visitors to celebrate the end of Burnham Week 2021. A grand fireworks display and the traditional winners’ parade of the Town Cup around town delivered a fitting finale to this classic east coast regatta. 

In his summing up of the week Edwin Buckley – Principal Race Officer – said: “It was a tough week in terms of course setting with the persistent northerly making it difficult to establish beats and runs. However, it was one of the most competitive events I have been involved in for some years and I think everyone will agree with me that being able to open the doors of Burnham Week once again after a tough year of restrictions was just the sort of tonic we all needed. We had one of the best turnouts for many years, and it was a delight to see so many young sailors competing. We are very much looking forward to welcoming everyone back again next year… same time, same place.”

For a full list of results go to http://www.burnhamweek.com.

Burnham Week 2021 – Opening weekend racing off to a good start

The opening weekend of Burnham Week 2021 (28 August-4 September) got off to a cracking start.

A gusty northerly breeze and classic, strong east coast tides made the Bank Holiday Weekend Series challenging but the 115-strong entry generally enjoyed highly competitive racing throughout the weekend.

In total 15 classes including a range of cruising yachts, local one-designs and dinghies, as well as gigs, stand up paddleboard, kayaks and canoes, supported this premier east coast regatta, making it one of the largest entries the regatta has seen for some years. It was also good to see the multihulls enjoying fast and furious racing for the MOCRA (Multihull Offshore Cruising & Racing Association) three-day, class national championship.

MOCRA multihulls

Blast off for MOCRA national championship winner NRB – photo Alan Hanna

Blast off for MOCRA national championship winner NRB – photo Alan Hanna

Julian Linton receives the MOCRA nationals trophy from Stuart Bithell – Tokyo Olympic Gold medallist – photo Alan Hanna

Julian Linton receives the MOCRA nationals trophy from Stuart Bithell – Tokyo Olympic Gold medallist – photo Alan Hanna

By far the fastest fleet, the MOCRA multihulls were first out the ‘starting blocks’ on Saturday morning and raced a course that took them to the mouth of River Crouch and back. It was six-hour-long day on the water with 15-mile course, which didn’t seem to phase visitors Julian Linton and team (Adrian Linton, Lloyd Turner and Ian Cuthberton) from Island YC Canvey Island. Sailing NRB a superfast F33 AXC this team revelled in the conditions reaching 25kts boat speed at times. They took a clean sweep of four race wins to secure the national championship title with a day to spare. Julian Linton commented: “It was our first major event and we are thrilled to have won. It was a fantastic two days of racing, in perfect conditions for our design. I would also like to say how grateful we are for the super helpful team at Burnham who really work hard to encourage newcomers to the fleet at Burnham Week. We’ll be back for sure and hopefully others will recognise what an amazing venue Burnham is for this sort of racing.”

Hot on their heels, although unable to make an impact in the processional conditions up and down the Crouch, was team Origami (Farrier 27) sailed by local hot-shots Nick Wood, Charlie Bird and Nick Geaves. A final race second place secured second place with an overall score of 11pts. Bird said the weekend was one of the best yet. “We had fun from start to finish and, although the wind direction and two-sail reaching limited our chances of making any sort of impact on NRB, it was all very close with great racing. The Caribbean themed rum party with turbo-charged cocktails on Saturday night was legendary and, to be honest, probably didn’t help our chances on the water either!’

Cruiser Class 1 & 2

Phillip Harbott and his team on Mantra (Aphrodite OOD 101) started the weekend well by clinching the Watson Cup from John Saunders and his six-strong team on Jeannie (Elan 31). Fresh from his second place on day one however, Saunders and team Jeannie took the top spot on the Sunday and won the Thalassa Trophy from Flynn Davies/Digger Harden aboard former Town Cup winner Jackal (J/92). Team Jeannie then went on to take a final race win on the last day, which was enough to secure the overall series.

Class 5

Stephen Gosling’s SJ27 won Class 5 – photo Roger Mant

Stephen Gosling’s SJ27 won Class 5 – photo Roger Mant

Stephen Gosling and team on Grace and Danger (Hustler SJ27) scored two firsts on the opening two days and, although they won the series overall, their win was by no means easy. Daryl Mylroie and team on Eclipse (Maxi 1000) sailed impressively and although they won the last race and finished on equal 5 points, Grace and Danger with two wins, was deemed the overall winner of class.

Class 6

One of the most competitive fleets this weekend was undoubtedly Class 6 with its fine mix of interesting classes including a trio of Contessas (26,28 and a 32), and the super-speedy Andrew Wolstenholm-designed carbon-fibre Kite – Kate the Kite. Helmed by the legendary Keith Musto, and crewed by Law (joint owners), and Nick Peel, this snazzy, gaff-rigged, 21ft, lightweight flyer, really kept the fleet on its ‘toes’ but couldn’t quite outpace the MGC27 Ophelia sailed by Burnham SC members Richard Moore and Roger Tolhurst, who finished one point ahead with 4pts.

Keith Musto at the helm of Ant Law's gaff-rigged Kite – photo Alan Hanna

Keith Musto at the helm of Ant Law’s gaff-rigged Kite – photo Alan Hanna

Keith Musto, who won an Olympic silver medal in the Flying Dutchman in 1964, is now 85 years old yet has lost none of his competitive prowess. As as he stepped ashore this afternoon Musto commented: “It was great to be out racing this weekend and above all it was fun. The Kite is a really good design and sails well despite the small sail area. We did suffer a bit with lack of sail area in light airs, and when under the lee of the shore, but generally it is a well-balanced boat and goes well. Actually to me it’s very much like sailing a GP14 dinghy in the old days. Sails in a very similar way but just has a cabin.”

Looking ahead to next weekend’s Town Cup, Musto concluded: “I am very much looking forward to taking the helm again next Saturday for the all-important Town Cup. Obviously it depends a bit on the weather, but hopefully we’ll be there.”

 

 

 

RS Elite

Startline action for the RS Elite class – photo Roger Mant

Startline action for the RS Elite class – photo Roger Mant

With an impressive 10 boats the Elite class enjoyed super-close racing and, although most were local home sailors from Royal Burnham YC, it was the visitors who took control of the pack with Paul Fisk from Emsworth SC and crewman Richard Tucker in Legs Eleven who scored five wins and overall victory, while Bill Blank and Richard Turner in Oink Squeal from EYC secured second.

Local One Designs

Burnham Week wouldn’t be complete without local one-design keelboats not least because they consistently make up a large part of the overall fleet. They are also pretty, iconic, suitable for all sailing abilities and, most of all, extremely competitive.

 

 The Royal Burnham One-Design, which turns 90 next year, mustered the largest local one-design fleet with eight boats and, as always, the fleet enjoyed close racing. Team Dallimore with Will Dallimore on the helm, were on top form this weekend on Mandarin but although they notched up two wins on the opening two days, a sixth on Monday’s final race was enough to relegate them to second behind Aquamarine.

Stuart Bithell – Olympic gold medallist – presents Team Aquamarine – Angela Shephard (left), Matt Shephard and Sarah Hastwell – with the winners’ trophies in the Royal Burnham One-Design class – photo Alan Hanna

Stuart Bithell – Olympic gold medallist – presents Team Aquamarine – Angela Shephard (left), Matt Shephard and Sarah Hastwell – with the winners’ trophies in the Royal Burnham One-Design class – photo Alan Hanna

Angela Shephard with Matt Shephard and Sarah Hastwell at the front end won the final race and eventually finished the series one point ahead of team Dallimore on Mandarin.

The Bank Holiday Weekend Silver Tankard is the main competitive attraction in the Royal Corinthian One-Design fleet true to form, the long weekend produced some top class racing. It was also a weekend of consistency with the top five boats finishing in exactly the same order on the first two days. Ahead of the game however, were Justin Waples and his team of Steve and Lizzie Rands aboard Cormorant, who won overall with an impressive three win scoreline. Sue Law and John Newcombe in Coralie took second.

The elegant East Coast One-Designs made a welcome appearance this year and, although only two boats in the fleet, Widgeon (Ian Wilson/Dan Hally), and Wraith (Jerry Mecoy/Mark Ellis) made the most of the challenging conditions. However, it was Widgeon that always had the upper hand, finishing with two first places.

Dragon

Although slightly down on numbers this year with just eight local boats, competition, as always in the Dragon fleet, was red hot.

Chip Cole with Nicola Hastwell and David Smith at the front end of Anarchy, enjoyed close racing throughout with Peter Marchant, Katie Cole, Noddy Norden, and Harriet Butler aboard Beauty and the Beast. However, going into the last race with one win apiece, team Beauty and the Beast sailed well, this time battling it out with husband and wife team Mark and Mandy Wade on Avalanche. A final win for Beauty and the Beast confirmed their overall win, with Avalanche second and Anarchy in third.

Hunter 707

Although the Hunter 707 class always attracts a wide range of ages it is great to see the younger generation in particular, enjoying the delights of keelboat racing in these versatile boats. With two firsts and two seconds to count, BQ (Billie Quinlan/Clare Dallimore) won the series by two points from early series leaders James Dallimore, Rory Munro, Mike Champion, Charlie Matthews, and Robbie Hooper.

Squib

The Squibs turned out in force for the five-race series – photo Roger Mant

The Squibs turned out in force for the five-race series – photo Roger Mant

The Squib fleet never fails to support Burnham Week and with 24 boats on the startline this weekend, it was the largest class on the water. With some taking the opportunity to use the event as a warm up to the forthcoming national championship, it was also one of the most competitive for this weekend’s David Eagling Memorial Trophy and Brian Waples Memorial Trophy.

As is often the case in such competitive fleets, it was consistency that paid off. With six points overall counting two firsts and two seconds, Spoof (Micky Wright/Alex Porteous) took the overall win. Guy Fawkes (Phil Aspinall/Howie Enkel/Marion Aspinall) who were vying for top spot going into the final race, had to settle for third overall with a fifth place to count behind Jono Brown Chris Dunn, Portia Hutchings, Marion Aspinall aboard Squiggle.

Dinghies

Osprey fleet racing – photo Roger Mant

Osprey fleet racing – photo Roger Mant

A total of 25 dinghies took part this weekend with fleet racing for the Osprey Phantom and a Dinghy Handicap class. The Phantoms turned out in force with 10 boats on the startline mainly from Creeksea SC, just up river from Burnham. However, once again it was a visitor – Bob Portway from Royal Harwich YC – who stole the show with four first places and a third to count (7pts). Graham Dale-Jones with one win, in the opening race, and 14pts overall, took second.

The Osprey fleet is a long-time supporter of Burnham Week and although numbers, with just five boats competing, were down slightly this year, the quality of the fleet was high with visitors turning out from as far away as Coniston and Kielder Water. Robert Shaw from Kielder Water, who is no stranger to sailing on the River Crouch, triumphed once again taking the event with a day to spare, and finishing three points ahead of Alex Mamwell from Coniston Water SC.

In the Fast Handicap fleet, Eamonn Browne in his Sprint 15 from Creeksea SC enjoyed a battle royal with Bryan Haynes from Royal Corinthian YC sailing an RS Aero 7. They both finished with 8pts overall but Browne took the trophy with a last race win.

Other happenings

Over the last five years or so, gig racing has become an all-time favourite at Burnham Week and today’s racing was, once again, a huge success. Also, for the first time Burnham Week Ltd (BWL) – the event organisers – expanded the event to include divisions for stand-up paddleboards, kayaks and river swimmers. This turned out to be welcome addition with spectators enjoying all the action just off the town quay after yacht racing finished for the day.

The Bank Holiday prizegiving took place after racing today with an array of silverware presented by Olympic 49er gold medallist Stu Bithell. Fresh from the recent Tokyo Olympics, Bithell honoured the crowds with his presence and was able to share some inspirational Olympic memories with Burnham Week competitors.

Looking ahead

Competitors are now looking forward to Midweek Series Points Racing, and

the final Saturday, which is Trophy Day. For classes that comply with regulations there is a chance to win the prestigious Town Cup. This is being run alongside the Houghton Cup (one of the oldest offshore races on the East Coast) in conjunction with EAORA (East Anglian Offshore Racing Association).

With nine race teams signed up including the likes of Richard Matthews’ flashy, new 52ft Oystercatcher XXXV, and Keith Musto on the helm of the Ant Law’s petite yet, fast carbon-fibre Kite, next weekend promises to offer plenty of excitement on the water.

On shore next Saturday spectators can enjoy the final day festivities including the annual Duck Race in aid of the Essex Air Ambulance. Tickets (or rather ducks) cost £1 and are available to purchase at all clubs and the White Hart pub. The event is scheduled to take place at 1100 from the pontoon at the Royal Corinthian YC.

In the evening prepare to be wowed by the grand Burnham Week firework spectacular, which blasts off at 2100.

Back to basics for Sir Ben Ainslie

– A slight change of pace for Sir Ben Ainslie in a Scow on the Beaulieu River yesterday – photo Julio Graham

A slight change of pace for Sir Ben Ainslie in a Scow on the Beaulieu River yesterday – photo Julio Graham

Sir Ben Ainslie made a guest appearance yesterday at the Buckler’s Hard 50th anniversary and redevelopment celebration regatta.

Ainslie, who was keen to embrace the spirit of the event, enjoyed a fun sail up the Beaulieu River in a Scow with the Hon Mary Montagu-Scott at the front end.

In sparkling sunshine and a light fluky breeze, they headed the fleet up the charming, winding river to Buckler’s Hard where celebrations began to mark the completion of the two-year/ £2m redevelopment project.

Following an afternoon of regatta fun, visitors and guests enjoyed a special awards ceremony hosted by Lord Montagu.

 To mark the occasion Ainslie was presented with a certificate granting him the Honorary Freedom of Beaulieu River, while fellow special guest Sir Chay Blyth received his certificate for Honorary Freedom of Beaulieu River that was granted to him by Lord Montagu’s father at the original marina opening in 1971, almost 50 years to the day.

 Ainslie said: “I just think it is really nice to be able to enjoy the water for enjoyment’s sake. It makes a real change from my professional sailing, which is all very serious. This is all about the grass roots and it doesn’t get any better than this particularly with such glorious weather.

 “Beaulieu River is just stunning and I have many fond memories of being on this River, so it is really special to be here today.’’

 Talking about plans to enjoy his Freedom of the River, Ainslie added: “I feel honoured to have been granted this privilege and to have a boat here one day would be my dream.”

Sir Ben Ainslie enjoys a relaxing afternoon with the Hon Mary Montagu-Scott and Lord Montagu – photo Julio Graham

Sir Ben Ainslie enjoys a relaxing afternoon with the Hon Mary Montagu-Scott and Lord Montagu – photo Julio Graham

Lord Montagu commenting on the occasion said: “It is impossible not to be aware of the huge feeling of goodwill amongst all the mooring holders. I don’t think anybody is here out of duty, we are all here because we want to mark this occasion and celebrate all that’s good about the Beaulieu River.

“Although I never doubted the redevelopment would be a good idea, we really didn’t know what obstacles we might run into, particularly environment ones. Thankfully everything came together surprising well. Yes it took two winters to complete and there was disruption and times when the current mooring holders were affected but today shows it’s all ended very well. We now have 66 new marina berths with larger berths to suit vessels up to 20m. We’ve upgraded all the electrical services, improved the Wi-Fi and have a new dedicated visitor area.”

 

Burnham Week 2021 open for entry – Full steam ahead for premier east coast regatta

Dragon racing on the River Crouch – photo Roger Mant

Dragon racing on the River Crouch – photo Roger Mant

Burnham Week Ltd (BWL) is delighted to announce Burnham Week 2021 is now open for entry writes Sue Pelling.

This premier east coast regatta (28 August-4 September) at Burnham-on-Crouch traditionally takes place to include the August Bank Holiday, which means now is the time to plan that all-important nautical staycation.

Book your holiday at this east coast beauty spot with eight days of fantastic racing and prizes on offer for both weekend and mid-week racing. There is something for everyone at Burnham Week with a wide range of classes to choose from including spinnaker and non-spinnaker racing divisions. The day boat classes such as the Dragon, Squib, and local one-designs (Royal Burnham and Royal Corinthian One-Designs) always enjoy a good turnout. For the first time also, BWL has expanded the event to include divisions for stand-up paddleboards, kayaks and river swimmers.

Annie Reid – BWL Chairman – said: “We are very much looking forward to welcoming you all – previous and new competitors alike – to Burnham Week 2021. With so much on offer, never has there been a better time to enjoy staying on ‘home turf’ for a fun, family holiday in Burnham-on-Crouch. With plenty of local accommodation and camping facilities, and so many places of interest to visit nearby, Burnham Week 2021 is definitely one to consider.”

For a three-day short-break, the Bank Holiday weekend racing is hugely popular with not only the Multihull Offshore Cruising & Racing Association (MOCRA ) but also dinghy fleets, which offer a series of weekend races for Ospreys and mixed handicap classes, or any class that can muster a fleet of seven.

The final Saturday is Trophy Day and, for IRC classes, includes a chance to win the prestigious Town Cup, which is being run alongside the Houghton Cup (one of the oldest offshore races on the East Coast) in conjunction with EAORA (East Anglian Offshore Racing Association).

In response to competitors’ requests Edwin Buckley – PRO – said he hopes being flexible will encourage wider participation in Burnham Week 2021: “Flexibility is a common request from competitors, and we are setting up to do just that. First starts will be at midday – some fleets are looking for one start each day and other fleets are asking if they can have two starts each day, midweek. The answer is: ‘Yes, you can’. We are going to be flexible and provide the racing each fleet is aiming for.”

The Squib fleet is always well supported – photo Roger Mant

The Squib fleet is always well supported – photo Roger Mant

Buckley was also keen to point out that, should Government restrictions and guidance restrict activities at the time, plans are already in place. “We have a great team ready to adapt our regatta format and any social events we have planned.”

As well as the competitive nature of this iconic family regatta, Burnham Week’s fun social reputation is legendary. As usual there are events lined up at all three clubs (Royal Corinthian YC, Royal Burnham YC, Burnham SC) throughout the week. One of the biggest events of the Week is Quay Day, a fun-packed day for everyone on Bank Holiday Monday (30 August).