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:

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:

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


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

The Squib class always produces exceptionally close racing – photo

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

Close racing in the Osprey fleet – photo

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

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

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

Duncan Hayley and team on Double Trouble, winner of IRC Class 2 – photo

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:


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:

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.

2013 Endeavour Trophy update

Endeavour Trophy update

Burnham-on-Crouch, Essex (25 September, 2013): Following a year of exceptionally intense competition on the dinghy racing circuit, a fine selection of champions has materialised and will be in Burnham-on-Crouch next month to contest the ultimate dinghy champion of champions title for the Endeavour Trophy.

endeavour_trophy1The Endeavour Championship for the Topper Sailboats-supported-Endeavour Trophy is taking place at the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club, Burnham-on-Crouch on 11-13 October.

The champions will race a fleet of 25 brand-new Ian Howlett-designed Topaz Xenons, kindly supplied by Topper with help from event sponsors Allen Brothers, Calltracks, Hyde Sails, Selden, English Braids, Petticrows, Musto, and Noble Marine.

Plans announced earlier this year, to introduce the Topaz Argo for the 2013 event are on hold due to exceptionally high levels of demand for this popular new design. Although the Argo, with its strict one-design status, is expected to prove an equally ideal choice of boat for the event, the Xenon, which has been used for the last eight years, is still a great option to continue providing excellent, equal racing for a wide range of all-up crew weights of between 18-24 stone (114-152 kilos).

This annual end of season event, promises to be one of the best yet with a quality entry including a selection of former Endeavour competitors, and former Endeavour champion Nick Craig.

Craig (39) has won the Endeavour Trophy a total of five times, which makes him the joint most successful Endeavour champion in history. He is one of the greatest amateur dinghy sailors of all times having notched up a total of seven world championship titles and no less than 22 national championship titles in a variety of classes over the last decade.

One of his most significant championship achievements was in 2011 when he won his fourth OK world championship title. Until 2004, this event had never been won by a British sailor, which makes his series of wins even more impressive.

In the same year, in 2011, he won his fifth Endeavour title and was recognised for his achievements by winning the 2011 YJA Pantaenius Yachtsman of the Year Award.

Craig continues to succeed in the dinghy racing arena and, having won the Merlin Rocket national championship this year, has secured his place at the 2013 Endeavour Championship. In the run-up to this year’s event Craig explains what it takes to win a championship, prepare for the Endeavour Trophy, and offers advice to his fellow competitors.

Governor’s Cup Roundup

Royal Cape One-Design beats Stadt 34 on corrected time

Friday January 4, 2013 – Thinus Groenewald’s Royal Cape One-Design – Reaction – has won the 2012 Governor’s Cup – the 1,750-mile bi-annual race from Simon’s Town, South Africa, to the Atlantic island of St Helena, which started on 22 December.

Thinus Groenewald and team aboard Reaction, celebrate their overall win of the 2012 Governor’s Cup - Photo SHBC

Groenewald, together with his three-strong crew, Corne and Ruan Groenewald, and Nicolaas Basson, all from Royal Cape Yacht Club, completed the race in just under 12 days (11d, 23h, 43m, 53s) which was just enough to beat Indaba – John Levin’s Stadt 34 – on corrected time.

Although the race for the Governor’s Cup was close right from the start within the Racing Monohull fleet, the battle for overall honours between these two intensified dramatically over the final few days. For Team Reaction it was all about unfinished business from the previous Governor’s Cup Race.

Thinus Groenewald commenting on his win said: ‘It certainly was all about unfinished business because last time when we were flying towards St Helena our rudder failed and we had to pull into Saldanha Bay to fit a new one. We then rejoined the fleet, found a new weather system and blasted our way all the way to St Helena. We were convinced we could have won that one had we not had gear failure. Therefore we are absolutely delighted with this result and really feel as though we have now achieved our goal. We had a great race, albeit a little light at the start, but once we found the breeze we enjoyed a fabulous sail all the way to the island.”

Elsewhere in the fleet excitement builds to establish an overall winner in the Rally monohull fleet where Ivan Flodgren and the Swedish team aboard their Hallberg Rassey Rasmus 35 – Kuheli – are desperately trying to beat Peter Bosch and Stephen Jennings’ Tosca 39 JML Rotary Scout. Although JML Rotary Scout, crewed by a group of Scouts from Cape Town and St Helena aged between 16-18 years old, finished the race last night, the Swedes are still in with a chance of taking the overall win if they cross the finish line by 11:22:50 on Saturday 5 January.

Compromise – the overall winner of the Rally Multihull fleet. - Photo - SHBC

The overall winner of the Rally Multihull fleet is Robert Newman’s Du Toit catamaran – Compromise – from False Bay Yacht Club. Although Kevin Webb and Sarel van der Merwe’s super-fast Farrier F9AX trimaran, Banjo, beat them on the water Team Compromise sailed consistently throughout their 12-day voyage and were able to maintain their favourable time on handicap to secure the overall win. In third place overall is Sandpiper 2 – Abri Erasmus/Paul Tanner’s Simonis Voogd 42ft catamaran, which completed the race in just over 11 days.

Billy Leisegang – Principal Race Officer commenting on the 2012 Governor’s Cup, said: “It has been a huge success all round, thanks particularly to the wonderful group of organisers both in South Africa and on St Helena who devoted their time through Christmas and New Year to make it happen. As for the actual racing, generally any yacht leaving Cape Town leaves in a screaming south-easter, so coping with the initial strong winds is often a problem. This time round however, it was unusually light. Although it probably did cause a bit of frustration among the competitors early on, they all managed to keep their spirits high throughout, and going by their reaction at the finish, all seem to have had the most fabulous sail, which is what it is all about.”



Notes to editors

The Governor’s Cup Race is a downwind 1,700 nautical mile ocean yacht race organised by False Bay Yacht Club,, and is now claimed to be an entry on many sailor’s ‘bucket list’. First held in 1996, the Governor’s Cup Race is a bi-annual event starting from False Bay Yacht Club in the quaint naval town of Simon’s Town, South Africa finishing in Jamestown, St Helena. For further details on the race including race documents, visit


This year the race is being supported for the first time by Enterprise St Helena, which promotes the growth of economy of St Helena through the development of existing businesses and the promotion of the island to new investors and developers. With the opening of the island’s airport due by late 2015, it is anticipated that tourism, and marine tourism in particular, will be a key economic driver for the island and its community. For further details visit


For further details on St Helena Island, visit


The Governor’s Cup race is proud to be supported by Andrew Weir Shipping SA (Pty) Ltd – and RMS St Helena –


For further media information please contact Sue Pelling: