Forty-nine year-old Geoff Carveth, who last sailed the event seven years ago, has won the coveted Endeavour Trophy for the fifth time. He and his crew Emma Clarke representing the RS200 class stole the show today and finished the eight-race series, nine points clear ahead of Lark sailors Alan Krailing and Ed McArdle.
Krailing and McArdle may have led the event at close of play yesterday but the invincible Carveth/Clarke duo – just one point behind overnight – were ready to pounce this morning, notching up their second win of the series in race 7. This was the defining moment for Carveth and Clarke who, with just one race to go, led the overall series by eight points from Fireball representatives Matt Burge and Richard Wagstaff. Krailing and McArdle (Lark) were lying third at this stage but a fifth place in the last race elevated them once again to second place overall.
Chatting about his win as he crossed the finish line today, a proud Carveth commented: “It’s a great thing to have done. And I’m glad to have sailed with Emma, keeping our golden team – our championship-winning team – together for this event. It’s often tempting to swap crew for potentially more suitable heavier weight crew for this event particularly when you know you are a bit on the light side but Emma’s a great crew and we work well together. Going into the last race we had a fair idea of what we had to do, so it was a matter of keeping a close eye on those nearest on points to us and sailing as fast as we could.”
Carveth’s fifth Endeavour Trophy win now puts him in a record-breaking tie position with Mike Holmes, the only other person to have matched this scoreline. It will be interesting to see if Carveth can break the record at next year’s grand 50th anniversary event.
Lt. Emma Clarke from the Royal Army Medical Corp in Aldershot who’s been crewing for Carveth all season, and on and off for the last three years, was also thrilled with today’s result, commenting: “It’s absolutely amazing and I really never thought this would happen. I love sailing with Geoff because we work so well together. This result is an amazing culmination of a fantastic year’s sailing.”
The wind conditions for the 29-strong fleet of dinghy champions sailing the equally matched Ian Howlett-designed Topper Xenon dinghies was, like yesterday, from the west ranging between 8-14kts, although some of the stronger gusts building in the last race of the day led to more than a few capsizes and mistakes as crew fatigue began to set in.
Dave Hivey and James Stewart, representing the RS400, looked to have the first race of the day in the bag after their substantial lead, and were well on pace for a potential top result overall. They demonstrated some impressive pace, upwind and down but a course reading error on the second beat left them wallowing mid fleet half way through the race. They came good again in the final race with a second place but had to settle for an overall fifth place. Stewart, who’s a familiar face at the Endeavour Trophy having won it on three occasions before, said: “It’s a tough event and you cannot make the sort of mistakes we made, ie missing the gate, and get away with. It was the story of our weekend, lots of blown chances. Still, it was fantastic racing and we really enjoyed it. It was also David’s first ever Endeavour and he did extremely well.”
A measure of just how competitive the racing is at this champion of champions event can be gauged on the results of 2008 Endeavour champion Nick Craig and Toby Lewis. Three wins in an eight-race series and they still only ended up in fourth place overall. They started the weekend with an impressive win in the first race yesterday but a 4,6, 15,13 to count didn’t help their cause, and even a final race win in probably the windiest conditions of the weekend was not enough to significantly improve their overall result.
At this afternoon’s prizegiving Carveth and Clarke were presented with the solid silver model of the ‘J’ Class yacht Endeavour, the Endeavour half-model, and a £1,000 token kindly donated by Musto.
Plans are already underway for next year’s 50th anniversary Endeavour Trophy event. The date, which will be in early October, is yet to be confirmed but plans are afoot to run it over four days to include special invitational events for past Endeavour Champions.
After this weekend’s successful event and the positive competitor feedback, Topper have confirmed they will continue to supply another brand-new fleet of Xenon dinghies for the Endeavour Championship 2010.