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61st Lord Birkett Memorial Trophy at Ullswater Yacht Club

by Ullswater Yacht Club 6 Jul 2023 13:29 BST 1-2 July 2023

With an impressive display of boat handling in conditions that defeated many, brothers Matty and James Lyons sailing a 49er, won the 61st Lord Birkett Memorial Trophy at Ullswater Yacht Club on July 1st & 2nd.

The iconic long-distance event was established by the club in honour of Lord Norman Birkett who died in 1962, two days after making a successful speech in the House of Lords preventing Ullswater from becoming a reservoir, which would have restricted public access.

It has become more than just a race but a Festival of Sailing attracting entries in a wide range of different dinghies, keelboats and cruisers from all over the country.

The club's Commodore, Kathryn Hall, welcomed the 208 entries from the race box balcony as a moderate breeze that threatened considerably more, blew across the lawn. Sean Brooks the Principal Race Officer set a 12mile course to Norfolk Island, back to Pooley Bridge and then finishing in front of the club. The fleet massed for the 1pm start, only to be brought back under a general recall. Only on the third start under a black flag did the fleet get away cleanly, into a building breeze.

30+ knots met the fleet as they rounded the Narrows and headed for the Island. Plenty of drama followed, keeping the Safety Officer, Edmund Clarke and the safety crews occupied.

The 49er of Matty and James Lyons lead the fleet, chased hard by the 505 of Nathan Batchelor and Ian Turnbull. Both having to pick their way back through the fleet of beating and capsized boats. The 49er finished in 1hr 9mins mins and 18mins ahead on the water, but the 505 took the Saturday win on handicap in front of the 49er in second. The Fireball of Graham Newton and Mark Stevens from Staunton Harold SC, finished third on corrected time. Further back in the fleet, several classes experienced close racing, especially the Fireball, RS400 and Flying Fifteen fleets, who were thriving in the heavy weather.

Sunday brought more westerly to the breeze, making for a difficult start in front of the clubhouse and again it was only on the third asking under a black flag, did the fleet get away. The fleet beat to Norfolk Island in an unsteady breeze that again built to over 30 knots, before turning around the Island for an exhilarating ride home, via the leeward mark off the Ullswater Steamers pier at Pooley Bridge.

Once more, the 49er of Matty and James Lyons lead the fleet round the Island, with the 505 chasing them down. Also in the mix was the Musto Skiff of Mike Mathews.

Both the safety crews and photographers were again kept busy as competitors battled the challenging conditions. It was the 49er again first home and then the wait for the 505 with the clock ticking by. But unknown to Matty and James, the 505 had broken its mast and was sailing back under a jury rig. However, the race was still on with the Musto Skiff of Mike Mathews who took second, the RS400 of Chris Pickles and Matt Sharman from Bassenthwaite SC in third and the Fireball of Russ and Ali Cormack from Budworth SC in fourth, all pushing hard to close the gap.

When all boats were safely ashore, the 61st Lord Birkett Memorial Trophy was awarded to the previous 2016 winners, Matty and James Lyons in a 49er, from Ullswater Yacht Club. Second was the Mike Mathews in a Musto Skiff and third was Graham Priestley, crewed by Josh Moran and Dylan Noble in a VX One.

Special mention goes to the first juniors, 13 and 11 year old brothers Thomas and Daniel Whitehead from Filey SC who finished an impressive 25th overall in their RS Feva XL.

The weekend's main sponsors were Waitings, the civil engineering contractors and plant hire experts and David Allen, IT Solutions. Also supporting the event were Ullswater Steamers, Dalemain Estates and Ullswater Sailing School.

The club thanks all the volunteers who worked so hard to make the 61st Birkett possible. And a huge thank you goes to every sailor who took part in the racing to make the Birkett such an amazing event. The 62nd Lord Birkett Memorial Trophy will be held on 6th & 7th July, 2024.

Full results and galleries can be found at the event website

Overall Results: (top ten)

1st49erMatty LyonsJames LyonsUllswater Yacht Club
2ndMusto SkiffMike MathewsTBA
3rdVX OneGraham PriestleyJosh Moran & Dylan NobleUllswater Yacht Club
4thRS 400Chris PicklesMatt SharmanBassenthwaite Sailing Club
5thVX OneDavid ClarkeTim Emery & Andrew SmithUllswater Yacht Club
6thFireballRuss CormackAli CormackBudworth Sailing Club
7thVX OneTony LewisAndrew Cutting & Cathleen SchwarzloseUllswater Yacht Club
8thRS 200Andrew PetersJill PetersCastle Cove Sailing Club
9thFireballDaren FaseyColin DavisStaunton Harold Sailing Club
10thRS 400Alistair CoatesThomas CoatesBudworth Sailing Club

Class Prizes:

ClassPosSail NoHelmCrewClub
Albacore1st8152Philip SmithSteve CarrRYA
Enterprise1st21777Oliver BoocockLuke HartshomScammonden Water Sailing Club
Fireball1st14837Russ CormackAli CormackBudworth Sailing Club
Flying Fifteen1st3927John ThornleyMegan ThornleyUllswater Yacht Club
Flying Fifteen2nd3506Christian BarnesDenise SykesUllswater Yacht Club
GP141st13146Steve WardS StarkleBartley Sailing Club
ICLA 6&71st217872Tom MossScaling Dam Sailing Club
K61st114Tony HarperSteve WatsonNotts County Sailing Club
Laser 20001st2703Oliver ThompsonElliot ThopmsonWest Riding Sailing Club
Musto Skiff1st625Mike MathewsTBA
RS 2001st1559Andrew PetersJill PetersCastle Cove Sailing Club
RS 2002nd1642John WilsonLaura GloverEast Lothian Yacht Club
RS 2003rd296Jamie TylecoteEvie CoatesRutland Sailing Club
RS 2004th1318Nigel PepperdineSimon KelsallStaunton Harold Sailing Club
RS 4001st1453Chris PicklesMatt SharmanBassenthwaite Sailing Club
RS 4002nd498Alistair CoatesThomas CoatesBudworth Sailing Club
RS 4003rd145Alex LeonardBen MurrellBassenthwaite Sailing Club
RS 4004th1347Chris MasseyAndy McKeeHollingworth Lake Sailing Club
Tempest1st1181Keith LockeyPaul AdamsUllswater Yacht Club
VX One1st180Graham PriestleyJosh Moran & Dylan NobleUllswater Yacht Club

Individual Trophies:

Best Placed JuniorsThomas and Daniel Whitehead RS Feva XL Filey Saling Club
Mike Barnard Trophy  (Best placed under 21 UYC helm)Olivia Dembinska and Mathew BoatmanRS Feva XL Ullswater Yacht Club
Development Challenge Trophy  (Best placed under 18 UYC helm)Olivia Dembinska and Mathew BoatmanRS Feva XL Ullswater Yacht Club
Barclays Bank Trophy (Best place UYC)Matty and James Lyons49er Ullswater Yacht Club
Ullswater Steamers Trophy. (61st boat past the Birkett Crag on Saturday)George Sawyer and Jill QuickWayfarerConiston Sailing Club
Top Visiting CruiserAlan Bennett and TeamPlatu 25RCC, EMBC
Tortoise Trophy. (last placed boat with 2 results)Gavin Goodall and TeamMicro Gem 550Ripon/Telford/Clywedog
Dalemain Trophy (Visiting club with most entries)Budworth Sailing Club  

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