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Entries open for the Lord Birkett Memorial Trophy at Ullswater Yacht Club

by Sue Giles 7 May 06:18 BST 3-4 July 2021
The fleet at the North end of the lake in the 2019 Birkett © Tim Olin / www.olinphoto.co.uk

The Birkett is back. Entries are now open Ullswater Yacht Club's biggest event of the year, the iconic long-distance Lord Birkett Memorial Trophy, on July 3 & 4.

The celebration regatta was first raced in 1963 in honour of Lord Norman Birkett who died two days after making a successful speech in the House of Lords which prevented Ullswater from becoming a reservoir. The club has held the prestigious two-day round-the-island race in memory of the 'Saviour of Ullswater' every year since then, apart from in 2020 when the pandemic led to its cancellation.

The quest for the 'Holy Grail' of a Birkett win attracts keen sailors from national champions to novices in a huge range of different boats. It has become a festival of sailing, popular with racers from all over the country who will be delighted that it is back on the racing calendar this year.

The club has set up a separate Birkett website for information about the event and to enable entrants to book and pay online for race entries, camping/ motorhomes and catering. Entry is open to monohull dinghies and keelboats with a PYN rating below 1340 and under 25ft 6inches overall length. There will be an entry limit of 160 boats so competitors are advised to enter early.

"We wanted to make things as easy as possible for our competitors with a website dedicated solely to the Birkett," said UYC Vice Commodore Brian Moreton. "Whilst Covid easing is scheduled from late June we are all very mindful about avoiding high numbers on the club's site for racing and staying overnight. Due to this we are setting an initial entry limit of 160 boats and 100 on camping and motorhomes. This also makes things easier for our volunteers onshore and on the water who make this great annual event possible."

The club is also pleased to announce that the 59th Birkett has a new main sponsor - Waitings, a Penrith company in Wind, Water and Waste projects. A recent major project of theirs is the new bridge at Pooley Bridge on Ullswater that is a replacement for the bridge lost in Storm Desmond in 2015.

One of the most spectacular sailing events in the North, the Birkett, winner of a Cumbria Tourism's Event of the Year Award, was rated number eight in the top 50 'must do' sailing regattas by Yachts & Yachting magazine. On Saturday, the boats race from a spectacular mass start right across the lake in front of the clubhouse, 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.

For details and entries go to www.ullswaterycbirkett.org

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