Enter THIS year it could be you… the 55th Lord Birkett Memorial Trophy at Ullswater Yacht Club is being held over the weekend of July 1 and 2.
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.
Entry is limited to 230 boats
One of the most spectacular sailing events in the North, the Birkett was rated number eight in the top '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 of less than 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.
Competitors are welcome at the club from Friday, there'll be food all weekend, evening entertainment on both Friday and Saturday. The 'Birkett' field offers plenty of room for tents and campervans on Friday and Saturday night.
The 55th Lord Birkett Memorial Trophy, July 1 & 2, 2017
An important announcement
There are two important changes to the race organisation of the Birkett 2017 that we would like to let competitors know about as soon as possible:
1. This year entry to the Birkett will be online only through SailRacer with the closing date June 24, 2017, and no entries will be accepted after that date. The entry limit is 230 boats. The opening of entries on the SailRacer website will be publicised on the UYC website, on social media and through the yachting press.
2. For safety and operational reasons the PY limit has been reduced from 1400 to 1340. 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 we rely 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 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. Prior to this announcement race officials have spoken to representatives of some of the fleets affected to explain the position personally.
Birkett NOR 2017: The event is open to any monohull dinghy or dayboat and to cruisers under 25’6” with a Portsmouth Yardstick Rating below 1340. Any boat without a recognised / representative Portsmouth Yardstick will be assigned one based on other available data.
Birkett racers in front of the Sharrow Bay Hotel, picture by Tim Olin