Sue Pelling Writes…RS200 national champions Peters and Roberts sailed an impressive series in today's testing conditions and lead this champions of champions event by just one point from OK national champion Nick Craig and Toby Lewis.
Racing over short-sharp, windward/leeward courses, in the gusty 14-16kt north-westerly breeze at the mouth of the River Roach, kept the fleet on its toes throughout the day and the level of competition – with national champions from 25 of the most popular dinghy racing classes represented – was, not surprisingly, extremely high.
At just 20 years old, this is Peters' first time at the Endeavour Championships, which makes his leading performance even more creditable. Chatting as he sailed ashore after a tough day on the water, Peters commented: “We are really happy with how we sailed today. Obviously it is a really tough event with loads of really high quality sailors here, so we were happy to put in some consistent results, and we had really good fun as well. Interestingly we’ve never sailed a Topper Xenon before but I have to say we are impressed. After five races we feel we are just about getting used to it.”
Endeavour veterans Craig (who’s won the event four times before) and Lewis, know from experience that with three races left to sail, there's a long way to go. Commenting after racing Craig said: “It was fantastic racing, and we really, really enjoyed it, despite it being such hard work. With five 45-minute races today, we really 'got out money’s worth'. We are looking forward to a bit more wind tomorrow. However, we are going to have to watch young James and Alan though, they are really sailing well. They make us feel like old men!”
Andy Davis and Tom Pygall, representing the Merlin Rocket class, kick started this year's event in race one today with some spectacular sailing which pulled them through the fleet from ninth on the second beat to an overall race win with Peters and Roberts in second. Competition is so high, however, that even with a 1,5 to count they are still in seventh place.
Stuart Bithell and Christian Birrell – last year's Endeavour Trophy winners – are back again this year, but having each won independent class championships, they are in separate boats. Both talented young helmsmen, it is not surprising to see them both atop the score sheet with just four points between them at close of play today. Bithell, representing the GP 14 class is sailing with Matt Johnson and is lying in third place overall, while Enterprise champion, Birrell, sailing with Sam Brearey is lying sixth.
Scorpion representatives, Tom Jeffcoate and Mark Hogan, notched up some consistent results including a couple of third places which leaves them fourth place overall with three races remaining.
The forecast is for the wind to increase tomorrow for the final three races of the series. Race Officer Kim Allen, is keen to get the racing underway as soon as possible at 1030 which means a new Endeavour winner should be revealed by 1500.
This evening, competitors and guests are attending the annual, grand Endeavour dinner at the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club, and last year's winners, Stuart Bithell and Christian Birrell are giving a speech.
Special thanks to the Endeavour Trophy sponsors which include the following: Topper, Allen Brothers, Calltracks, Hyde Sails, Selden, English Braids, Petticrows, Musto, Noble Marine.
Results (after 5 races, and 1 discard)
1st RS200 – James Peters and Alan Roberts 7pts
2nd OK – Nick Craig and Toby Lewis 8pts
3rd GP14 Stuart Bithell and Matt Johnson 17pts
4th Scorpion – Tom Jeffcoate and Mark Hogan 18pts
5th Osprey – Matt Burge and Richard Wagstaff 19pts
6th Enterprise – Christian Birrell and Sam Brearey 21pts