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K6s at Lord Birkett Trophy

by Peter Kirby on 25 Jul 2013
K6s at Lord Birkett Trophy 2013 Peter Kirby
In the early 1960s Manchester Corporation planned to use Ullswater as a reservoir which would restrict its recreational use, and a Bill went to the House of Lords. Lord Birkett, a brilliant advocate and humane judge, made the greatest speech of his career in a packed House of Lords in 1962, when he spoke of the importance of retaining Ullswater’s natural beauty for all.

The Bill was rejected but the following day he was taken ill and died shortly afterwards. The members of newly-formed Ullswater YC decided to raise funds for a trophy in his honour and the first Lord Birkett Memorial Trophy races were held on 27-28 July 1963. It has been held every year since, and now regularly attracts more than 200 entries. It is a race like no other, with over 200 boats of a wide variety of types and classes all starting together on a line the width of the lake. The race is usually from the UYC round an island at the southern end of the lake, round a turning mark at the northern end and back to the finish off the clubhouse, a distance of some 12 miles. The result is never predictable (nor is the weather).

This year’s racing took place over the weekend 6-7 July and attracted 215 entries, including four K6s. Saturday’s race was held in a good SW’ly breeze and at the windward mark some five miles from the club all four K6s rounded within a minute of each other. Luck in picking the wind seemed to be equally good and bad for all. There were some heavy gusts downwind which suited the K6s (provided one avoided broaching!), though there were also lighter periods when the extra speed of an asymmetric boat barely compensated for the extra distance sailed compared with those with conventional spinnakers. All this in fine weather too! Real champagne sailing.

The weather for Sunday was completely different, still sunny but with a light NE’ly resulting in the course being the other way round, viz. a beat to the northern end of the lake, a short reach across, a run down to a turning mark approximately half way to the southern end, and a beat back to the finish off the clubhouse. The wind came, never to more than Force 2, and went, sometimes to prolonged drifting conditions. If you found wind, you had to hang into it as long as possible. Many boats did not start.

The overall trophy went to David Exley and Nigel Hall from Leigh and Lowton SC in an RS400 (eighth and second places), followed by Richard Stenhouse from Rutland SC in a Musto Skiff (third and 14th) and Chris Pickles and Matt Sharman from RYA/Delph SC in another RS400 in third (12th and fifth).

Class prizes are awarded to classes with at least six entries. Will the K6 class qualify in 2014? Come along on the first weekend in July and make it so.




K6 Results:

18th (32nd and 19th) K6 193 (Peter McLaren, Ian McPherson, David Sparkes; Loch Lomond SC)
89th (97th and 101st) K6 163 (Chris Betts, Thomas Betts, Peter Mead; Glenridding SC)
118th (41st and DNS) K6 170 (Alan Bennett, Ben Sandover; SMBWC/Carsington SC)
160th (102nd and DNS) K6 124 (Mike Kneale, Kath Simpson; Chester SC)

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