James Hunt and Paul Hobson representing the Solo class are the new dinghy champion of champions. Five first places, a third and a fifth, was more than enough for the superfast duo to stake their claim on the coveted Norwich Union Endeavour this weekend. Now in its 40th year, the Endeavour Trophy which takes place annually at the Royal Corinthian YC, Burnham-on-Crouch, -continues to go from strength to strength, each year attracting a high calibre fleet made up from champions from the most popular racing dinghy classes.
Having not sailed an RS400 for a year or more, and not sailed together for at least six years, Hunt and Hobson jumped in the boat in the breezy conditions and clocked up a third and four first places. Their worst result of the weekend was a last race sixth which they were able to discard finishing up with a total of just 13 points overall. ‘Painful is the best word to describe the racing’ , explained Hobson, ‘it was totally exhausting but a thoroughly enjoyable weekend.’
Modest until the end, Jim Hunt expained his surprise in winning: ‘I know we clocked up a string of first places but I really was not expecting to come here to win. It was incredibly hard work and my poor hands hurt!
From the first race it was interesting to watch the winning duo demonstrate a fine display of text-book style racing. Very few mistakes, particularly on the fast and furious downwind legs was where they made up a lot of ground – with the boat never slowing down through the gybes. They even won the third race on Saturday by one minute 45 second which is some lead in one-design fleet racing.
RS400 representatives, Roger Gilbert and James Stewart, started the weekend off with an excellent first race when, having been lying in third for most of the race which Ian Pinnell was leading with Hunt second, they did a sneaky last minute manoeuvre while rounding the final downwind gate and took their first race win. They followed this with a second place in the next race in the windy conditions and, despite a couple of results out of the top five, were able to secure second place overall. ‘It was probably the toughest event of the year,’ explained Gilbert, ‘The short start lines and short courses kept everyone on their toes and I think we probably made more mistakes than we’ve made all season because there was so much pressure. It was a great event and I hope we’ll be back one day to give it another go.’
‘Competing against some really hot sailors was a fantastic experience,’ added Stewart, ‘ they certainly showed us a thing or two out there this weekend. The fact that we were actually last to a couple of marks today and finished second overall, shows just how competitive the racing was.’ Ian Pinnell who has competed in and won the Endeavour Trophy on numerous occasions was this year representing the 505 class and sailing with specially ‘picked’ RS400 crewman Andrew Bonsey. A second, a couple of fourths and a first place in race six was enough to secure third place overall from former Endeavour winners Ian Renilson and Stewart Robertson. ‘I’ve never been so shattered in all my life after the first four races on Saturday.’ explained Ian Pinnell. ‘Sunday’s slightly lighter conditions were much more to my liking!’
After a string of four general recalls in race six, Renilson and Robertson who finished just two points behind Pinnell and Bonsey were one of the black flag start victims and, despite being able to discard this result, were unable to improve on their overall points score sufficiently with just two races remaining and had to settle for fourth place overall.
Another pair of top performers were Firefly representatives Stuart Hudson and Clare Cummings who finished in fifth place overall. Despite an OCS in race five which they were also able to discard, they sailed an impressive series and notched up a string of consistent results including a fourth, a third and a couple of seconds. They really showe