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Lord Birkett Memorial Trophy

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This year it could be you, entries are now open for the Lord Birkett Memorial Trophy at Ullswater Yacht Club over the weekend of July 1 and 2 which last year won the Cumbria Tourism Event of the Year Award.

Enter The quest for the 'Holy Grail' of a Birkett win attracts keen sailors from national champions to novices from all over the country in a huge range of different boats all racing the full length of Ullswater and back on both days. The winner will not only take home the sought-after Birkett silver salver but also get to spend a night at luxury hotel, the Sharrow Bay. The club’s next door neighbour, the prestigious Sharrow Bay country house hotel has generously offered a prize for the winner – bed and breakfast for two.

One of the most spectacular sailing events in the North, the Birkett was rated number eight in the top 50 'must do' sailing regattas by Yachts and Yachting magazine. The unique race was first sailed in 1963 to commemorate the successful defence by Lord Norman Birkett of the right of public access to Ullswater which was threatened with reservoir status.

The Birkett is open to all monohulls with a recognised handicap rating below below 1340. All boats race from one mass start with the line stretching across the full width of the lake. They race down the lake, a distance of about seven miles, past Kailpot Crag and the plaque to the memory of Lord Birkett, round an island at the southern end, and back. Then they do it all again on Sunday – with both races to count.

A traditional feature of the event is the Saturday Birkett Cruise run by Ullswater Steamers. The cruise will leave Pooley Bridge pier at 12.30pm and follow the racing down to Kailpot Crag where the Lord Birkett memorial plaque is placed and will again have an on-board commentary from members of UYC. Families and friends are able to follow the racing at close hand on the water and experience some of the excitement. Please book direct with Ullswater Steamers via their website www.ullswater-steamers.co.uk The 'Birkett' field next to the club will again be in use for camping and campervans and for the popular hospitality marquee where there will be two live bands over the weekend.

Competitors can enter the 55th Birkett online through the SailRacer website. The entry limit is 230 and entries close on June 24 – with no entries accepted after that date. For safety and operational reasons the PY limit for the event has been reduced from 1400 to 1340 for the 2017 Birkett. The unique course of the race, a seven-mile leg to the opposite end of the lake and back, puts extra demands on safety cover, all of which is provided by the many volunteers the club relies on every year.

The Birkett race on Saturday last year was held in particularly challenging conditions and of the 230 entries, 81 boats crossed the finishing line, resulting in increased demands on the safety boats and volunteers who got everyone who could not finish back to the club safely. Race organisers have decided that to ensure the safety of all competitors, the PY limit should be reduced this year. The club thanks all sailors of boats with PYs above 1340, including Toppers, Mirrors and Open Canoes, for their involvement in the Birkett in the past, and hope they will understand that the safety of all those taking part in the event is our top priority.

UYC is on the North-east shore of the lake about two miles from Pooley Bridge on the Howtown road. For more information about the Birkett visit the UYC website or email birkett@ullswateryachtclub.org

Enter via SailRacer :

- http://enter.sailracer.org/events/event-v2.asp?eventid=209247

Photo Tim Olin

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