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Birkett winners - Matty and James Lyons from UYC

Birkett winners - Matty and James Lyons from UYC

Saturday's start - picture by Holly Rawlings
It was a memorable two days for the hundreds of competitors in the iconic race which less than two weeks earlier had won the award for Cumbria Tourism Event of the Year. It also turned out to be ‘experience of the year’ for the racers in the 230 boats taking part, with Saturday’s race held in extreme conditions. The increasingly strong South-westerly winds on Saturday made for an ideal giant windward leeward course and race officer David Clarke sent the boats to the furthest island, Cherry Holm, and back to the Pooley Bridge end of the lake, returning to a finish at the club.

With the start line the full width of the lake, the racers got away at the third black-flagged attempt and the wind got stronger and stronger as the sailors made their way down the lake. Those who made it to Cherry Holm, the 49ers were the first round, found that the wind eased and became very shifty. But on the return, it was back with a vengeance, providing exhilarating downwind conditions which were too much for many of the competitors. Matty and James Lyons in their 49er were first back, but the 505 of Nathan Batchelor and Andy Weatherspoon was close enough on time to win on handicap. Of the 230 starters, 81 boats crossed the finishing line. Some boats opted to head back to the club without sails, others waited on the shore for help, and there were several dramatic incidents on the water.

The safety crews were at full stretch and many of the early-finishing racers went back on the water to help out, but everyone returned to the club safely and on Saturday night the club was buzzing with tales of the day. At the prizegiving the race organisers gave a special award for ‘exceptional seamanship’ to RS Feva sailors Harvey Leigh and Jonny Latham of Leigh and Lowton SC who happily sat on the top of their upturned boat on Saturday and told several different safety teams who approached them that they were OK and they should go to help others.

On Sunday, the course was set round the first island, Norfolk Island and in fresh winds, but much lighter than the day before, the fleet got away at the first start. The Lyons boys rounded the island first and were back to the club five minutes before the next boat. Their first place in race two won them the event and the Birkett silver salver as well as a special prize of bed and breakfast for two at the Sharrow Bay Hotel which is next to UYC. Batchelor/ Weatherspoon of Tynemouth SC in a 505 were tenth on handicap and took second place overall with 11 points and Paul and Jude Allen of Leigh and Lowton SC in a RS 400 were third, also with 11 points.

The celebration event was first raced in 1963 in 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, the club has held the prestigious two-day long distance race in which boats sail the full length of the lake round an island, and back, in memory of the ‘Saviour of Ullswater.’ It has become a festival of sailing and so popular with racers from all over the country that the limit of 230 boats was reached before the weekend and entries were closed. Next year entry will be online only with no entries allowed on the day.

The clubhouse at UYC was badly damaged in the December floods and at the prizegiving a special thanks was given to the renovation team of volunteer members led by Keith McDermott who worked tirelessly for two months to get the clubhouse open in time to welcome hundreds of visitors. The traditional Ullswater Steamer trip on the Saturday was also a victim of the floods – it was cancelled because one of the fleet was out of action. But visitors were able to enjoy their time on the shore at the Lord Birkett Memorial Team Room masterminded by our own ‘Mary Berry’, Lilian Adams, which offered delicious home-made cakes all weekend.

Ullswater Yacht Club would like to thank the following for help toward the fleet of safety boats necessary for the event. Loan of boats - Sharrow Bay Hotel, David Clarke, Patterdale Hall, Sunderland Yacht Club, Ocean Youth Trust (North); Boats complete with crews - Paul Colton, Seaham Divers & friends, Blackpool & Fleetwood SC. Also thanks to Kier Construction (loan of high visibility jackets). And thanks also to the hundreds of volunteer members of UYC, without them the event would not be possible. - Sue Giles

See the full results at Events > Racing Results > Open Event

Overall winners:

1.     Matty and James Lyons, 49er, UYC, 3
2.     Nathan Batchelor and Andy Weatherspoon, 505, Tynemouth SC, 11
3.     Paul and Jude Allen, RS 400, Leigh & Lowton SC, 11
4.     Chris Pickles and Matt Sharman, RS 400, Delph SC, 11
5.     Jono Shelley,Musto Skiff, UYC, 16
6.     Simon Longstaff and John Denwood, Flying Fifteen, Bassenthwaite SC, 18
7.     Anthony Dawson, Laser, 25
8.     Jim Hunt, Hadron, South Staffs SC, 26
9.     Mike Saul and Oliver Kent, RS 200, Yorkshire Dales SC, 30
10.  Dave and Sue Giles, Flying Fifteen, UYC, 31

Class prizes:
Musto Skiff: Jono Shelley, UYC
RS 400: Paul and Jude Allen, Leigh & Lowton SC
Fireball: Georgia Booth and Zoe Meynell, Scaling Dam SC
Flying Fifteen: Simon Longstaff and John Denwood, Bassenthwaite SC
GP 14: Peter Dewhurst, Burwain SC
Laser: Anthony Dawson
RS 200: Mike Saul and Oliver Kent, Yorkshire Dales SC
VX One: Tony Lewis, Andy Cutting and Zoe Hallam, UYC
Albacore: Judy and Paul Armstrong, Scaling Dam SC,
Cruiser: Chris Taylor, Steph Hopkins and Canna Witt, Etap 21i, UYC
Devoti D-Zero: Russ Hopkins, Tewkesbury SC
Open Canoe: Graham Dibdall, OCSG
Streaker: Steve Blackburn, WLYC

Ullswater ‘Steamers’ Trophy (54th boat past Birkett plaque on Saturday):Mike Banner and Jason Upton, Albacore, Leigh & Lowton SC
Dalemain Trophy (Visiting club with most entries): Scaling Dam SC
Under-18 Trophy (Best UYC helm under 18): Benedict Barnes, 29er
Mike Barnard Trophy (Best UYC helm under 21): Edmund Clarke, VX One
Barclays Bank Trophy (Best place UYC): Matty and James Lyons, 49er
Tortoise Trophy (Lowest placed boat sailing both races):
Ramsey Shaw, Open Canoe, OCSG

Matty and James finishing

The Lord Birkett Tea Room

Posted on 04 July 2016 (Archive on 01 August 2016)
Posted by 51  Contributed by 51


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second year at the birkett, congratulations to everyone at the club for a fantastic event
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