Garmin Summer Series 2014 - Round 4 - Lord Birkett Memorial Trophy
Garmin Summer Series Round 4 - the Lord Birkett Memorial Trophy at Ullswater
An RS400 wins for the second year in a row, but a different team at the front
With a record 174 boats entering via SailRacer and a final entry of 210 boats, the 2014 Lord Birkett Trophy was set for a bumper year on 5th & 6th July. Ullswater Yacht Club was packed inside and out, with many camping and enjoying the festival atmosphere of the traditional first weekend of July to celebrate Lord Birkett's efforts to save Ullswater Lake being turned into a reservoir.
After a wet and windy Friday, the weather Gods smiled on this iconic event (and the campers) over the weekend, with sunshine and good breezes. 14 knots of breeze on Saturday saw the faster skiffs stretch their legs, with the local 49ers of Matty & James Lyons and Lester Noble & John McAfee completing the 12 mile course, down and up the lake, in around 90 minutes - some 15 minutes ahead of third finisher Richard Stenhouse in his Musto Skiff. Not surprisingly, once corrected times had been crunched, the overnight leaders were a horde of trapeezing skiffs, with Ann Noble in her VX-One sports boat sneaking in at 9th to make the top 10 a clean sweep of Ovington Boats, including 6 Musto Skiffs. Putting in a solid but unnoticed 11th place score was the RS400 of Chris Pickles and Matthew Sharman.
It was the turn of the slower boats to dominate Day 2, consistency, as ever in the tricky Ullswater conditions, was key across the weekend.
An earlier start on Sunday and around 8 knots of breeze in the bright sunshine again saw three attempts to get around 200 boats away on the club line stretching the width of the lake. The slower boats seemed to get away quicker, with the Lasers and RS200s leading the charge down the Lake. On the SailRacer live tracking it was the X1 of Martin Dixon that was pushing for the lead for the first part of the beat towards the island at Glenridding. Overnight leaders in their 49er, the Lyons brothers, managed to break clear of the pack after 10 minutes but took an extra hour to complete the course compared to their domination of Saturday's race.
With skies darkening, the slower boats gained a boost in the breeze, with the added bonus for some of a shift that saw a group reaching to the finish instead of beating with the rest. The Wayfarer of Charles & David Chandler took a surprise win on corrected time from the Firefly of Steve & Ben Tylecote, together with a couple of Enterprises, but some boats took over 5 hours to complete the race. The RS400 of Chris Pickles & Matthew Sharman sneaked into fifth, bettering their 3rd of 2013 to take the overall event win - and the top prize of a Garmin VIRB Elite action camera.
Overjoyed local Dylan Noble collected the other Garmin VIRB Elite at the briefing on arrival at the event. Dylan got some great footage on Saturday on-board his Musto Skiff as he sailed to a 5th place on the first day, but for once wasn't too disappointed when he dropped lower down the standings on Sunday. "So made up with the camera and my fiancée is too as we will be off on honeymoon soon. Awesome prize and all I had to do was enter!"
Eight different classes of boats were represented in the overall top 10, with the RS400s taking 3 of those places - seemingly capitalising on being a day for the asymmetric classes on Saturday and the hiking classes on Sunday, fitting neatly into both categories. Within the top 10 were symmetrical, asymmetrical, one- two- and three-handed boats, keelboats and even in 7th Jonathon Modral-Gibbons & Colin Meadows's Tempest representing the trapeezing keelboats. With many of the big handicap events often attracting more singlehanders than doublehanders, the entry/results list for the Lord Birkett shows it to be a very much more of a family affair, with siblings, couples and family members in two-handed boats all the way through the fleet. Richard Stenhouse may have been second in his singlehander, but even he was on the water with his wife, Kit, in her own Musto Skiff. The next singlehanders were Graham Priestley and Ben Pickering in 13th and 14th respectively and previous Garmin VIRB winner Tim Keen in 18th.
Rewarded for that early break from the pack on Sunday was the 49er of Matty & James Lyons who did enough to finish 3rd overall. Last years winners, Dave Exley & Nigel Hall were ahead of fellow RS400 sailors Hamish & Rachel Gledhill in 4th and 5th. Despite a strong entry from the home club, visitors finished high in the ranking, including 2 visiting Ospreys - Kielder's Rob Shaw & Ian Little in 6th and West Riding's Mark Weston & Tim Keighley in 11th. Lucy Boreham and Richard Anderton made the journey from Chichester to again post a top 10 result in their Fireball.
Full results here: Lord Birkett Memorial Trophy 2014 Result
The Lord Birkett was the penultimate round of the fantastic new Garmin Summer Series, a series of 5 handicap events around the country from May to August. The final round is a three-day regatta at Calshot Activities Centre on the Southern shore of the New Forest, GJW Direct SailFest on 23/24/25 August (bank holiday weekend). Racing, socials, sports activities (velodrome, climbing, remote control yachting, and much more), accommodation and, of course, further chances to win Garmin VIRB Elite action cameras. Enter by midnight on Sunday 10th August for the next chance to win! Enter here now: garmin.sailracer.org
Photo : © SailRacer