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Garmin Summer Series Round 4 this weekend at Ullswater

Almost as legendary as the Lord Birkett Memorial Trophy itself is the Noble family members with a plethora of appearances on the Birkett trophies. Hence the announcement was made with some trepidation that the Garmin prize draw for early entry revealed that very name - though statistically, with 4 entries, the Nobles were up there with a chance on probability. 
The Garmin VIRB Elite cameras have been capturing the action throughout the series and 2 camera packages have been presented as prizes at each event. So far winners have represented a wide range of classes and the Ullswater early entry winner, Dylan Noble, will be sailing his Musto Skiff this weekend. The event falls a week in advance of his wedding - doubtless planned to avoid a clash! Finishing 5th in last years event, Dylan is unlikely to have things all his own way even within his own class, facing the formidable duo of MPS stalwarts Richard and Kit Stenhouse. 
The memorial trophy event follows the traditional format of two races, one on Saturday and one on Sunday. Not for the faint-hearted, neither competitor nor race officer, with a startline extending from the east to west shore at the northern end of Ullswater Lake, "rounding the island" 7 miles away at the south end of the lake and heading back though the start/finish line.  Not unlike the Solent's Round the Island race, for many competitors this is their race of the year, not generally travelling to events.  However, the entrants list is not without a hefty sprinkling of champions including this year Nathan Batchelor (crewing in a VX-One), Ben Pickering the recent 2014 Blaze Nationals winner, Martin Boatman (RS800) and Andy Smith at the Birkett in a GP14 but with a string of Fireball, Mirror and Scorpion results to his name.
Predominantly a northern gathering, the Lord Birkett attracts strong fleets from clubs such as Scaling Dam, Leigh & Lowton, Loch Lomond and West Riding, but many travellers also make an annual pilgrimage, or to complete a one-off 'bucket list' tick off including entrants this year from South Wales, the Broads and the South East coast.
Class representation at the Lord Birkett is fantastically diverse, from the classic Shearwater open canoes to yachts that are resident on the lake. The largest fleet entered for the 52nd edition are the RS400s, including Dave Exley and Nigel Hall, winners of the 2013 event and Chris Pickles and Matthew Sharman who were 3rd.  Winners in 2012, Judy & Paul Armstrong in their Albacore, will be wanting to better their 10th of 2013 when the asymmetrics dominated the top 10.  Keelboats are strongly represented this year with a fleet of 11 Flying Fifteens alongside Tempests, the small yachts and brace of VX-Ones.  Alongside a strong contingent of skiffs there are posses of more traditional Lightnings, Ospreys, Wayfarers, Albacores and Enterprises.
The Ullswater Steamers Trophy is awarded to the boat passing the Lord Birkett plaque in the position equal to the edition of the event on Saturday - so this year the 52rd placed boat. This might make for some interesting maths and place changing as the plaque draws near.
175 entries were made by the time on-line entry, via SailRacer, closed on Monday morning but with a capacity of 230 starters many more entries are expected on the day, especially with the breeze forecast for the weekend.
SailRacer will be tracking the progress of the race on their GPS trackers with positions shown ashore at Ullswater YC and you can watch the race live here:

4/7/2014 11:02


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