Endeavour Trophy Opening Day 8 Oct 2016
Ben Saxton and Toby Lewis, the wild card Olympian entry representing the Nacra 17 class, fought hard to be the overnight leader after four races (two firsts, a second and a seventh place) of the planned eight races for the Endeavour Trophy.
Ben and Toby won the Endeavour Trophy in 2015 and are keen to keep it. When asked about their progress today, Ben said: “We had a good day even though it was massively tricky and unstable. Our discussions were dominated by decisions about which side of the course to choose, even more so than discussions about making the boat go faster.
“It is still an absolute pleasure sailing against all these capable sailors and a very well done to William and Finley for beating us in the final race.”
It wasn’t all plain sailing for Ben as he was beaten in the final race by the RS Feva champion William Prank and crew member Finley Dickenson, both only aged 13. The youngsters led the race from beginning to end, at times looking nervously over their shoulders at an attacking Ben Saxton. Commenting on the day’s racing and in particular their last race win, William said: “The wind was favourable for us and we kept close to the bank to stay out of the tides – that bit of local knowledge from previous sailing experience here was useful and helped us win that last race. Tomorrow we plan on staying upright and doing as well as possible.”
The fight for second place was fiercely contended between three classes – D One, Cadet and Merlin Rocket. Nick Craig, representing the D One Class this year, is just one point ahead of Jamie Harris of the Cadet Class, who in turn is just one point ahead of Roger Gilbert representing the Merlin Rockets. Nick commented on the day’s racing: “The conditions were very tough, some difficult tactical decisions needed to be made. The boat behaved very well and we managed to turn some good speed even in light winds. I am definitely looking forward to tomorrow and the predicted heavier breeze, that said though, we managed to win one race today in the light winds so there is everything to sail for tomorrow.”
The tricky wind and tide conditions on the River Crouch could almost be felt by spectators as the RS200s worked their way up and down the course, the fleet splitting to windward and leeward sides of the course only to be beaten back by tide or in some cases even catching favourable lifts right in the middle of the course. The wind shifted through 40 degrees during the day, starting off almost a direct northerly blowing a light 8 knots and then slowly swinging more east until the final race when it was blowing about 12 – 14 knots north-east. The tide had been flooding for all of the races making local knowledge about banks, wind shifts and tidal conditions vital in the tactical decisions.
Jamie Harris, the Cadet national champion, was very excited about the sailing and expressed his joy when asked about the conditions: “This is such a great experience and we did really well today. We have managed this boat much better than we expected and the power seems to be just perfect for us today. The conditions were very tidal and shifty but if we can manage the boat in similar conditions tomorrow we hope to do well.”
The wind is predicted to be a slightly stronger northerly tomorrow and there should be more sunshine around ensuring a dryer day on the river for the competitors and spectators alike. The racing is expected to be close once again and the sailors are going to be concentrating on their tactics to ensure they don’t give away any advantage to their rivals.
Racing continues tomorrow morning with the first warning signal at 10:25. This evening competitors and guests are at the annual, grand Endeavour dinner at the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club where the solid silver Endeavour Trophy will be on display.
Results (after four of eight races)
- 1st Nacra 17 – Ben Saxton and Toby Lewis (11pts)
- 2nd D One – Nick Craig and Holly Scott (27pts)
- 3rd Cadet – Jamie Harris and Bettine Harris (28pts)
- 4th Merlin Rocket – Roger Gilbert and James Stewart (29pts)
- 5th RS200 – Matt Mee and Joanna Wright (30pts)
- 6th Enterprise – Tim Saddler and Jeremy Stevens (35pts)
- 6th RS Aero 7 – David Ellis and Chloe Martin (35pts)
Click here for full results.