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Rope4Boats RS400 Northern Tour at Ullswater Yacht Club

by David Exley 10 Jul 2019 17:15 BST 6-7 July 2019

A massive entry of 38 RS400s (by far and away the largest fleet) joined the 230 boat total that signed up for the annual Holy Grail of Sailing Events at Ullswater.

Dubbed the Glastonbury of Sailing, the unique annual Lord Birkett race was established in 1963 in memory of Lord Norman Birkett who successfully defended the right of public access to Ullswater which was threatened with reservoir status in the early 1960s. He spoke in the House of Lords in 1962 of the importance of retaining Ullswater's natural beauty for all, but sadly died shortly afterwards and the race has been held annually in honour of the 'Saviour of Ullswater' ever since.

Many arrived on the Friday night, when a F4/5 was in full flow, but come the morning, the lake was hosting a more gentle F2 NW, which encouraged the race officer to send the fleet a short distance to the North end of the lake before the traditional course around one of the islands at the South end of the lake, returning to the finish line off the club house.

The start line was as usual heavily congested with most choosing the club house side of the lake due to the slightly larger whisps of breeze close to this bank. The first start was of course a general recall and the black flag was the hoisted in readiness for the second attempt. This time even more competitors were sure that the Club end was paying and forcing many boats to play dodgems with each other and moored cruisers. Some were even seen using the club jetties to help time their run to perfection - a cunning Scottish technique by all accounts (no further clues required).

Half way up the first beat and in true Ullswater style, the beat turned inside out and those who chose the opposite, Western end of the start line were rewarded with a new breeze from the predicted wind direction - obvious really! So it was that Richard Catchpole and Gary Coop (Leigh and Lowton SC) led at the first mark, closely followed by Jon Gay and Amanda Henderson from Lochaber, but with a lot of racing to come.

Many head scratching, becalmed and snakes and ladders hours later, it was Dave Exley (Leigh and Lowton SC who finally overhauled a consistent Chris Pickles and Matt Sharman (Bassenthwiate SC) to take the mentally exhausting win. Stuart and Sarah Robertson sailed an intelligent race to take 3rd from Richard and Gary in fourth.

The Rope4Boats raffle took place on the beautiful lakeside lawn in the Saturday evening sunshine. Due to the large number of entries, Ian Turnbull from Rope4Boats added and extra prize. The tapered 400 spinnaker sheets were won by Chris Mulholland from Ullswater YC. The £20 voucher was won by Chris Pickles from Bassenthwaite SC, and because he had won on a previous event, he kindly donated his prize to raise funds for Boatman Bonanza, a sailing regatta hosted by Sunderland YC on 24/25th August in memory of Martin Boatman. The £10 voucher was won by Jeremy Child from Scammonden Water SC.

Sunday morning was not looking good - the forecast said 2-4 kts, the glassy lake said 0kts and many of the competitors said enough is enough and packed up for a relaxing Sunday doing something else. Those that did race, did not have the most exhilarating of days, but there were moments where both helm and crew sat on the same side.

Even with a substantially reduced starting number, the start line was just as crowded with many getting buried in a zero wind bun fight for the port end of the line. It was Chris Pickles and Matt Sharman who correctly predicted the carnage and started off the middle of the start line in slightly less wind, but more importantly clear air that capitalised up the first section of the course and extended to the finish a little over 2 hours later. Richard and Gary were second and Richard and Bradley Green from Yorkshire Dales Sailing Club sailed themselves cannily into third place. Dave and Nige were fourth and Keith Escritt and Andrea Clough, also from Yorkshire Dales, came home in fifth to cap an excellent and very consistent introduction to the 400 fleet.

The overall 400 honours went to the ever consistent Chris and Matt, closely followed by Dave and Nige and Richard an Gary in third place.

A great event, despite the light winds which has many draws to keep sailors happy even if the wind gods don't play ball.

The sixth out of the seven-event series is back to our long term favourite Notts County SC, where we hope to see you on 7/8th September.

More photos from Tim Olin here: olinphoto.co.uk/index.php/2019/07/08/the-lord-birket-trophy-2019-at-ulswater-sailing-club

RS400-only Results:

RS400 PosBirkett PosSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2Pts
13rd1283PICKLES ChrisMatt SharmanBassenthwaite Sailing Club448
24th1460EXLEY DaveNigel HallLeigh And Lowton Sailing Club279
35th1396CATCHPOLE RichardGary CoopLeigh And Lowton Sailing Club6511
46th1282ESCRITT KeithAndrea CloughYorkshire Dales Sailing Club111021
58th1407GLEDHILL HamishAndy DawsonWest Riding Sailing Club101424
620th1454HEISSIG JonNicky GriffinLlangorse431154
726th1351GREEN RichardBradley GreenYorkshire Dales Sailing Club70676
829th1461EXLEY CarolineMark LunnLeigh And Lowton Sailing Club592887
933rd669AINSWORTH JacobKayleigh RobertsSouth Shields Sailing Club633194
1035th1395SNOWDON PeterLouise CarrScaling Dam/Shoreham Sailing Club732598
1137th603LEONARD AlexBen MurrellBass SC / Yorkshire Dales SC524698
1247th1073ROGERS JamieNeil McLaren 8334117
1353rd1203LIMEBEAR JohnnyAbi MorganWest Riding Sailing Club9239131
1455th1112ABBATT JonNicola AbbattUllswater Yacht Club10232134
1582nd1463ROBERTSON StewartSarah RobertsonRoyal Forth Yacht Club5DNS237
1684th937BLAMEY CameronNathan BradleyIsle Of Man Yacht Club14991240
1787th874GAY JonAmanda HendersonLochaber12OCS244
1888th754COOKE GrahamMike GalespyYorkshire Dales Sailing Club14897245
1999th8FLETCHER WayneMartin CooperRYA38RET270
202ND1437THORNTON BarrieNick HuntScaling Dam Sailing Club45RET277
214TH973GEBHARD DavidMrs Jackie GebhardTynemouth Sailing CLub50DNS282
229TH956GEBHARD JoricB RichardsonTynemouth Sailing CLub60DNS292
232TH1423CHILD JeremyPaul CornishScammonden Water Sailing Club67DNS299
240TH1210KNOTT MartinJon SchofieldRibble77DNS309
256TH725RIBY JasonLaura BallSouth Shields Sailing Club86DNS318
267TH1024KINDON NickPaul MunroStaunton Harold Sailing Club87DNS319
270TH750BARGH DanielIan TurrelScammonden Water Sailing Club90DNF322
281ST534MCCORMACK NeilHeather McCormackScaling Dam Sailing ClubRET92324
298TH1447WILLARS JonJon WillarsWelton Sailing Club101DNS333
302ND1016TOWER RichardPaul HickmanCarsington Sailing Club111DNS343
318TH1131CASWELL EricaIan CaswellYorkshire Dales Sailing Club123DNS355
321ST1133MULLIGAN LesterJez InceYorkshire Dales Sailing Club128.5DNS360.5
331ST1069MULHOLLAND ChrisCatherine MulhollandUllswater Yacht Club141DNS373
347TH1248DYER PeterRowena GarnerYorkshire Dales Sailing Club151DNS383
353RD1041BARNES HenryGrahame SmithStaunton Harold Sailing Club160DNS392
367TH536DEXTER MarkClaire DexterCarsington Sailing ClubRETDNS464
377TH730GRAHAM EilishJames MooreBassenthwaite Sailing ClubRETDNS464
387TH1123WHITEHEAD CarlBen WhiteheadFiley Sailing ClubRETDNS464

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