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Lord Birkett

  • Lord Birkett 2021
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Round 4 of the Rope4Boats RS400 Northern Tour at the Lord Birkett Trophy Race, Ullswater SC (3rd & 4th July)


Round 4 of the Rope4Boats RS400 Northern Tour was held as part of the iconic Lord Birkett Trophy at Ullswater Yacht Club. The normal 200+ entry list was restricted to a mere 160 for this year’s edition due to COVID-19.  13 RS400’s were amongst the runners and riders, with a mixture of Northern Tour regulars and others making a very welcome first appearance.

Birkett regulars are accustomed to watching Windguru in the fortnight leading up to the event, hoping for a F5 south-westerly, and generally being disappointed on the day.  This year was no exception, with a lovely F3 southerly on Friday being replaced on Saturday by a F2 westerly/southerly/easterly (at best)!

The Birkett is held over the entire length of Ullswater, preferably turning at the third island.  In a nod to the conditions, the Race Officer shortened to Norfolk Island as a windward(?) mark, and leeward marks just downwind of the club.  Nevertheless, the first boat home, a 49er, only just scraped in in under 3 hours.

The RS400’s made their customary appearance at the front of the fleet, with Richard Catchpole and Gary Coop (Leigh and Lowton) making the early running, closely followed by Chris Pickles and Matt Sharman (Bassenthwaite SC), Barrie Thornton and Nick Hunt (Scaling Dam), Hamish Gledill and Andy Dawson (West Riding) and Alistair Coates and Ben Tylecote (Budworth / Rutland).  It was a close battle to Norfolk Island, with Coates/Tylecote just edging round as first RS400, amongst the much faster VX One’s and 49ers, with the other RS400’s not far behind.

It was a tricky run / beat / reach back to the club, with the first 4 boats staying close throughout, and success depending very much on whether you got a gust that no-one else did.  Finishing hot on the heels of many faster boats, including beating all the Musto Skiffs on the water, it was a lockout of the first four places by RS400’s, with Coates/Tylecote holding on to their slender advantage to the end. 

Sunday dawned with the lake a beautiful, mirror finish, and no-one holding out too much hope of change.  The Race Officer postponed for an hour or so before a raincloud brought with it a lovely F2-3 from the South.  Sadly, by the time everyone was afloat, the rain had gone (yeah!), but so too had the wind (blast!).  Sailing a shortened course up to Howtown and back, there was enough wind to get a start away at the second attempt and, again, it was Catchpole/Coop who made the best getaway, closely followed by Coates/Tylecote, Thornton/Hunt, Pickles/Sharman and Richard and Heather Marsh from Hollingworth Lake SC.  Catchpole/Coop stayed comfortably in front this time, despite the wind filling in from behind, helping the slower handicap boats add a certain amount of tension, bewilderment and downright panic to the minds of the early finishers while they waited for the handicaps to be calculated.

The tension rose as the prizegiving got underway, with early signs that the slower boats had indeed done well.  None better than long time RS400 stalwarts, Louise Mckeand and Nige Hall in their Wayfarer.  Tying with a Lightning on corrected time for first place in the second race they were both awarded 1.5 points, meaning Mckeand/Hall missed out on first place overall by half a point.  Instead, victory went to (a very emotional) Coates/Tylecote, with Catchpole/Coop in fifth, Thornton/Hunt sixth and Pickles/Sharman seventh.

Ian Turnbull from Rope4Boats held a raffle from the competitors present. Chris Mulholland (Ullswater YC) won Rope4Boats hats, Harvey Jackson (Leigh and Lowton SC) won a £20 Rope4Boats voucher and David Sparkes (Loch Lomond SC) won a £10 Rope4Boats voucher.

After a summer break the Tour next moves on to the Northern Championships at the legendary Notts County SC on 4th&5th September – see you there.


Report by Alistair Coates


Rank Boat SailNo Club HelmName CrewName HelmAgeGroup R1 R2 Total
1st   498 Budworth / Rutland Alistair Coates Ben Tylecote   1 20 21
2nd   1508 Leigh & Lowton SC Richard Catchpoe Gary Coop   17 8 25
3rd   1437 Scaling Dam SC Barrie Thornton Nick Hunt   3 25 28
4th   1283 Bassenthwaite SC Chris Pickles Matt Sharman   2 32 34
5th   1150 Hollingworth Lake SC Richard Marsh Heather Marsh   10 34 44
6th   1503 Shoreham Sailing
Peter Snowdon Louise Carr   24 36.5 60.5
7th   1316 Beaver Oli Groves Sam Waller   18 63 81
8th   1511 West Riding SC Hamish Gledhill Andy Dawson   4 156 160
9th   1148 Dalgety Bay Hester Robertson Richard Hope   125 66 191
10th   1069 Ullswater YC Chris Mulholland Harriot Pulman   122 91 213
11th   738 Largs SC Ian Nichols Gareth Owen   124 156 280
12th   619 Loch Lomond SC David S Sparkes Fergus Duncanson   126 156 282
13th   947 Leigh and Lowton Harvey Jackson Chris Roberts   134 156 290


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