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Lord Birkett Memorial Trophy 2020 cancelled

by Sue Giles 7 Apr 2020 09:43 PDT 4-5 July 2020
The fleet heads down the lake in the 2019 Birkett © Tim Olin / www.olinphoto.co.uk

The iconic Lord Birkett Memorial Trophy, due to be held over the weekend of July 4 and 5 at Ullswater Yacht Club, has been cancelled.

In the light of the Coronavirus situation UYC officials have decided that the event will not be held this year. The club's annual Daffodil Regatta, due to be held on April 25 & 26 has already been cancelled. Other open events scheduled for 2020 at the club will be reviewed nearer the time.

The annual quest for the 'Holy Grail' of a Birkett win attracts keen sailors from national champions to novices from across the country in a wide range of different boats all racing the full length of Ullswater and back on both days.

The unique annual race was established 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. The Lord Birkett Memorial Trophy has been held every year since 1963 in honour of the 'Saviour of Ullswater'. Birkett 2020 would have been the 58th.

It is always on the first full weekend of July so the 58th will be now be on July 3 & 4, 2021, and the club is looking forward to welcoming all Birkett regulars and new competitors to what has become a 'Festival of Sailing.' Entries are limited to 230 and the list is always full well before the event.

One of the most spectacular sailing events in the country, the Birkett is open to all monohulls with a recognised handicap rating below 1340. All boats set off 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.

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