This year's Endeavour was reinvigorated by the introduction of provided boats - the Topper Xenon. 26 classes were represented, only national champions or world champions are eligible and it is strictly by invitation.
The strength of the Lark class was evident with six Lark sailors in attendance, Sarah Richards and Nigel Wakefield (Lark champions). Steve Dunn qualified by winning the OK nationals in a borrowed boat and chose Harry Pynn as crew after Tegwyn Roberts signed in ill. James Stewart, who usually sails a Lark with Ruth Johnson, sailed with Nick Craig representing the Finns. Stephen Videlo, who recently bought a Lark, represented the Cadets sailing with brother Chris.
It took place over the weekend 7th-9th October at Royal Corinthian Sailing Club at Burnham. Friday was spent rigging and familiarising ourselves with the Xenons. These have roto-molded self draining hulls, with large rigs not dissimilar to the RS400. Harvey Hilary provided training which was specifically designed to orientate competitors with the boats rather than broader sailing skills, such as starting. At the event, it was generally accepted that the use of provided identical boats had contributed the best Endeavour Trophy ever.
Racing proper commenced on Saturday. Despite a forecast of six knots, a stiff breeze prevailed for the day and five races were completed. The young Videlos (representing Cadets) struggled in the large boats against bigger opposition and their best result was 10th. Sarah Richards and Nigel Wakefield (Larks) could have had a better day, Nigel celebrated the first tack out of the start line by jumping overboard, backwards head first. In the second race they went in-shore to get some tidal relief and snapped the downhaul off the rudder and had to finish the race with deficient steerage. Their highlight was overtaking Paul Goodison (Laser Olympian Athens 2004) downwind and finishing third in that race. Their scoreline was 8,6,3,6,6.
Steve Dunn and Harry Pynn (representing OKs) showed awesome boatspeed to notch up a consistent scoreline of 3,4,8,3,2. James Stewart (representing Finns) had the best day with 1,2,1,1,1. Their minor slip-up, a 2nd, was caused by snapping the rudder downhaul off (for explanation, see above). Nick Craig and James Stewart (Finn) were overnight leaders with a sizeable lead on the rest. Steve Dunn and Harry Pynn (OKs) were second, Sarah Richards and Nigel Wakefield 5th. The Videlos (Cadets) were lying 16th.
The club laid on a dinner, Keith Musto gave a speech and talked about when he won the event in 1963. He alluded to drop-leg hiking (Soling style) from an Enterprise by tieing a rope between himself and the thwarts!
The competitors were met by a flat calm on Sunday, but the wind filled in enough to complete the series with a further three races. The Videlos (representing Cadets) had an awesome day, scoring 3,10,9, these results took them up four places to a highly credible 12th overall, beating all the other youth classes, namely 29er, 420 and Topper. Hopefully they'll lift the Endeavour on behalf of the Larks one day. James Stewart (representing Finn) scored 10,3,8 and won with a race to spare. Steve Dunn and Harry Pynn couldn't repeat their boatspeed in the light stuff and dropped to a very respectable 8th overall. Sarah Richards and Nigel Wakefield (Lark champs) scored 8,11,7 which maintained their 5th overall, an improvement on their 6th last year.
Report by Nigel Wakefield