Lord Birkett @ Ullswater Yatch Club
Penrith CA10 2NA
The quest for the ‘Holy Grail’ of a Birkett win attracts keen sailors from national champions to novices from all over the country in a huge range of different boats all racing the full length of Ullswater and back on both days. The winner will not only take home the sought-after Birkett silver salver but also get to spend a night at luxury hotel, the Sharrow Bay. The club’s next door neighbour, the prestigious Sharrow Bay country house hotel has generously offered a prize for the winner – bed and breakfast for two.
One of the most spectacular sailing events in the North, the Birkett was rated number eight in the top 50 ‘must do’ sailing regattas by Yachts and Yachting magazine. The unique race was first sailed in 1963 to commemorate the successful defence by Lord Norman Birkett of the right of public access to Ullswater which was threatened with reservoir status.
The Birkett is open to all monohulls with a recognised handicap rating below below 1340. All boats race 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.
A traditional feature of the event is the Saturday Birkett Cruise run by Ullswater Steamers. The cruise will leave Pooley Bridge pier at 12.30pm and follow the racing down to Kailpot Crag where the Lord Birkett memorial plaque is placed and will again have an on-board commentary from members of UYC. Families and friends are able to follow the racing at close hand on the water and experience some of the excitement. Please book direct with Ullswater Steamers via their website www.ullswater-steamers.co.uk The ‘Birkett’ field next to the club will again be in use for camping and campervans and for the popular hospitality marquee where there will be two live bands over the weekend.