Please select your home edition
Edition
Lloyd Stevenson Catalyst 45 728x90px3 TOP

Club goes back in time to celebrate the 60th Birkett

by Sue Giles 15 Jun 02:53 PDT 2-3 July 2022
The Ullswater foreshore in 1963 © Robin Steavenson

Ullswater Yacht Club is going back in time to celebrate its biggest event of the year, the 60th Lord Birkett Memorial Trophy on July 2 and 3.

The club has been looking at the history of the iconic event with memories and old photographs and has produced a special celebration booklet to be given to competitors and supporters.

The long distance event was established in 1963 honour of Lord Norman Birkett who died two days after making a successful speech in the House of Lords which prevented Ullswater from becoming a reservoir. Every year since then (except 2020), the club has held the prestigious two-day round-the-island race in memory of the 'Saviour of Ullswater.' To mark the 60th Birkett, as well as the 60th anniversary of the death of Lord Birkett, the booklet looks at how and why the event was established in the early days of Ullswater Yacht Club.

Sue Giles, who researched and wrote it said: "The story of the Birkett is also the story of the development of dinghy sailing from the 1960s to the 21st century. Boats in the first races were all wood, mainly with wooden masts and many were home built. But the challenge and magic of the event is the same as it ever was."

Sue pieced together details from local newspaper reports of the day and personal recollections of the sailors who were there. They included the memories of three times winner Howard Steavenson, whose father Robin was the winner of the first Birkett in 1963.

Robin was also a keen photographer and some of his stunning colour pictures of Ullswater from 1963 and 1964 are in the booklet, a marked contrast to the 'normal' black and white photographs of the day. In 1964 the wind was so light for the race that Robin took his camera on his International 14 with him.

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, 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.

Entries are filling up fast, the limit is 230 boats and the closing date is midnight on Sunday, June 26th, 2022. Booking for entry, camping/campervan places and catering is via the special Birkett website www.ullswaterycbirkett.org For queries email: The club 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' and Hire & Supplies of Dumfries, sponsors of the Birkett history booklet.

Non-racers can 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 12noon 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.

Book for the Birkett Cruise direct with the steamer company at www.ullswater-steamers.co.uk tel 01768 482229.

Related Articles

UKLA ILCA Training at Ullswater Yacht Club
Huge thanks must go to Tim Hulse and UKLA for a superb weekend Whichever dinghy class you sail, one of the benefits of belonging to the class association is that most will offer some kind of informal training to help members get the best out of their boats. Posted on 3 Aug
Ullswater Sailing School new Sail Training Officer
What a beautiful place to work Meet senior sailing instructor James Watts in his new Cumbrian 'office.' Twenty-year-James started work last month as the new Sail Training Officer at Ullswater Yacht Club's Sailing School and his workplace is the "loveliest of lakes". Posted on 19 Jul
RS400s in the Lord Birkett Trophy at Ullswater
A whopping 21 RS400s in the fleet of 190 boats Round 5 of the Trident RS400 Northern Tour was held as part of the iconic Lord Birkett Trophy at Ullswater Yacht Club on the 2nd and 3rd of July. There were 190 entrants this year, including a whopping 21 RS400s. Posted on 6 Jul
60th Lord Birkett Memorial Trophy at Ullswater
Proud local win for a third generation winner of the sought-after silver salver Musto Skiff sailor Dylan Noble won the 60th Lord Birkett Memorial Trophy at Ullswater Yacht Club on July 2 & 3. Posted on 4 Jul
BYS Regional Junior Championships entries open
Taking place in June at various venues around the UK Entries are open for the BYS Regional Junior Championships held over the weekend of 11th and 12th June 2022 for windsurfers and the 18th & 19th June 2022 for dinghies at various venues around the UK. Posted on 19 May
Musto Skiffs at the Ullswater Daffodil Regatta
Some epic sailing and another early season catch up Watching the forecast all week and I knew it would be a roll of the dice how much sailing we'd get in at the weekend, but the ever-powerful FOMO won out and I made the trek from Aberdeen to Ullswater. Posted on 27 Apr
Entry open for the Lord Birkett Memorial Trophy
The iconic event is 'more than just a race' 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'. Posted on 27 Apr
Ullswater Yacht Club Daffodil Regatta
Lots of daffodils, lots of sun and blue sky and lots and lots of wind Ullswater Yacht Club's annual Daffodil Regatta on April 23 & 24 had lots of daffodils, lots of sun and blue sky and lots and lots of wind. Posted on 26 Apr
RS21 Inlands at Ullswater
The race team really had their work cut out for them The inaugural UK RS21 Inlands and SB20 Inland Championships took place at Ullswater Yacht Club over the weekend. With six RS21 teams and three SB20 teams, the weekend was set to be fun-filled kick off to the season for all. Posted on 28 Mar
RYA Winter Match Racing Series event 3
University of East Anglia win final round at Ullswater Spring sunshine and stunning scenery set the backdrop for the third and final round of the RYA Winter Match Racing Series with eight teams competing at Ullswater Yacht Club. Posted on 23 Mar
Vaikobi 2021 Boots - FOOTERArmstrong-Suptonic-728x90-2 BOTTOMJ Composites 2022 - J45 FOOTER