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'More than just a race' - Entry open for the 60th Lord Birkett Memorial Trophy

by Sue Giles 27 Apr 02:50 PDT 2-3 July 2022
Saturday racing during the Lord Birkett Memorial Trophy 2021 © Tim Olin / www.olinphoto.co.uk

Ullswater Yacht Club is planning diamond celebrations for the 60th Lord Birkett Memorial Trophy on July 2 and 3. 2022 is a special Birkett year as it is also the 60th anniversary of the death of Lord Norman Birkett the 'Saviour of Ullswater'.

The iconic long distance event was established by the club in honour of Lord Birkett who died in 1962, two days after making a successful speech in the House of Lords which prevented Ullswater from becoming a reservoir.

After postponement in 2020 and a limited entry number of 160 in 2021, this year the full Birkett is back with 230 boats and online entry is now open.

The club has plans to make it a bumper event and is delighted to have Waitings, the civil engineering contractors and plant hire experts based near Penrith, as main sponsors. Also supporting the event are Ullswater 'Steamers', Dalemain Estates and Hire & Supplies of Dumfries.

And Victoria Cliff Hodges, Lord Norman Birkett's granddaughter who is an enthusiastic supporter, will be attending the weekend.

"The club is proud to welcome Victoria to the Birkett and to have Waitings on board as main sponsors for this important weekend," said Commodore Kathryn Hall. "It is more than just a sailing race but a celebration of the beauty of Ullswater which we are all able to enjoy."

One of the most spectacular sailing events in the North, the Birkett has won Cumbria Tourism's Event of the Year Award and was rated number eight in the top 50 'must do' sailing regattas by Yachts & Yachting magazine. On Saturday, all the competitors 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.

With lakeside camping and on-site catering and entertainment, the Birkett has become 'more than just a race' but a real Festival of Sailing, attracting sailors of all abilities from across the country in a huge range of different boats.

Booking for the event, catering all weekend and camping/campervans on site (no caravans) is now open online via the special Birkett website at www.ullswaterycbirkett.org

Non-racers can also get a piece of the on-the-water action on a special three-hour Birkett Cruise organised by Ullswater 'Steamers'. Passengers on the exclusive charter will board at Pooley Bridge Pier at noon on Saturday, July 2, and the steamer will stand by off the UYC clubhouse so that they can experience the drama of the 1pm mass start by 230 boats on a line which stretches the full width of the lake. A UYC member will give a commentary as the steamer follows the fleet.

"The Birkett Cruise has become a traditional feature of the event and after missing two years we are pleased that Ullswater 'Steamers' are again giving the families and friends of racers, as well as anyone who wants to experience the drama of the race, the chance to get involved," said Commodore Kathryn Hall.

"The racing boats make for a spectacular sight all along the lake, for anyone wanting to watch the race from the shore, the start times are 1pm on Saturday, July 2, and 11am on Sunday, July 3."

Book for the Birkett Cruise direct with the steamer company at www.ullswater-steamers.co.uk/events/birkett-trophy-cruise tel 017684 82229.

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