Lark Class at the Endeavour Trophy

Simon Cox - 11th October 2004

The Royal Corinthian Yacht Club hosts the annual Endeavour Trophy. This is the "champion of champions" for the dinghy classes; only olympians, world and national champions of competitive classes are eligible. Sarah Richards and Nigel Wakefield represented the Larks. The event is sailed in RS400s. Sarah and Nigel went to Oxford SC for a practise open meeting to get to grips with bowsprits, assymetrics, wing-wangs and fully battened sails.

The event itself was 8th/9th October at Burnham, Essex on the River Crouch (all sensible Lark sailors were at Plymouth, in Larks). Five windward/leeward races were held on Saturday in 25-30 knots. In the first race Sarah and Nigel rounded the top mark well but came unstuck on the first gybe. Fortunately all the boats around them did likewise, at one point most boats were upsidedown. This was all but survival conditions, and they adjusted their tactics accordingly, they scored 6th, 6th and 7th in the first three races. The chop disappeared for the 4th and 5th races as the tide went slack. They switched out of downwind survival mode and went on to score a 5th and a 6th.

On Sunday morning the club's anemometer was recording over 30 knots and had seen a 40 knot gust. The racing was cancelled much to everyone's relief. This left the Lark class with 6th overall, which Sarah and Nigel felt was very credible. Nick Craig and Keith Bedborough won, they are currently RS400 national champions and Enterprise world champions. 25 classes had entered but only 15 turned up on the day, the reduced turnout probably prompted by the nasty weather forecast. It was the first time ever that Sarah has had the entire ladies changing rooms to herself! The club were suitably disheartened by the numbers and are considering the use of RS200s next year. Sarah was quick to point out that RS400s are regarded as men's boats, whereas sailing isn't a man's sports. A change down to a smaller class can only benefit the Larks in future years, keep your fingers crossed.