Champions gather for Endeavour Trophy
Originally sailed in Enterprise dinghies and now using RS400s the winners roll call is a snap shot of the top British helms and classes over the years. Starting with a young Peter Bateman crewed by Keith Musto, representing the Cadet class, the champions reflected the popular classes, National 12, Firefly, Albacore, Merlins and Enterprise of the sixties. In the mid seventies they were joined by the 470 and Fireball, the first trapeze classes apart from the Olympic Flying Dutchman class to win.
In the eighties the Lark and 420 classes added their names to the winners and in the late nineties the new RS400 and 200 classes entered the elite list while the single-handed classes, the Solo and the Contender showed their strength. The Enterprise, GP14 and Albacore have dominated the most- class- wins record with the Enterprise and GP14 classes tied at seven wins each, perhaps reflecting the use of the Enterprise as the event boat for many years.
The RS400 is now used but even the introduction of a dinghy using an asymmetric has not stopped the event being won by helms from non-spinnaker classes, although the trend of multiclass hopping by the top competitors means that they are often familiar with three or four different classes.
Three-time winner Geoff Carveth, representing the RS200 this year, is chasing top event winners Ian Southworth, on four wins and Mike Holmes on five. Geoff will face tough competition with likely front runners including; double winner Jim Hunt, representing the Solo class, Laser Champion Paul Goodison, who was sailing very quickly at the RS400 Inlands last weekend. Nick Craig, from the OK but another regular in the RS400 and winner of the 2001 Inlands and the double RS400 Champion, Roger Gilbert.
Richard Estaugh is there attempting to add another win to his two previous titles and also add another for the Enterprise class, although Neil Marsden for the GP14 might have something to say about that. The forecast is for light winds which may give a boost to the young 29er John Pink who has swept up everything in the class worldwide this year. Also, Pippa Wilson could find the conditions just right for another Cadet win on the fortieth anniversary of that inaugural Bateman/Musto win.
The River Crouch conditions may throw those more used to wide open championship courses but the depth of ability on show at the event will ensure that the competition for every place will be hard fought. Beecher, a champion in the Merlin and Hornet classes himself, can have had little idea that his generous presentation would, forty years on, continue to be a reflection of what is now one of our most successful sports.
420 - Nick Asher; 29er - John Pink; Cadet - Pippa Wilson; Enterprise - Richard Estaugh; Europe - Nicky Muller; Finn - Charlie Cumbley; Fireball - Vince Hoary; Firefly - Jono Pank; GP14 - Neil Marsden; Hornet - Tony Taylor; Lark - Dougal Scott; Laser 4000 - Douglas Baker; Laser 5000 - Andy Richards; Laser2 - Andy Palmer-Felgate; Laser - Paul Goodison; Merlin Rocket - Phil King; OK - Nick Craig; Osprey - Andrew Barker; Phantom - Alan Burrell; RS200 - Geoff Carveth; RS400 - Roger Gilbert; RS600 - Jason Belben; RS800 - Mike Lennon; Snipe - Peter Wolstenholme; Solo - Jim Hunt