Town Cup format change revives interest in east coast’s premier regatta.
Breaking with tradition and opening up the entry to allow more classes to take part in Burnham Week’s signature event – The Town Cup on the final Saturday – has sparked interest, which indicates more entries are lining up to take part in 2015.
With just over six weeks before the start of Burnham Week, one of the East Coast’s premier family regattas (29 August to 5 September, 2015), the number of entries is up on this time last year. The organisers – the Joint Clubs Committee (JCC) – say that as a results of giving all yachts rated under IRC/SER (0.890 and above) an opportunity to take part in the Town Cup, instead of the traditional IRC Class 1 yachts only, there are positive signs that interest in the regatta is starting to build.
Duncan Haley who regularly competes at Burnham Week in his SJ320 – Double Trouble – says he is delighted that that he’ll finally be able to take part and have a chance of winning the coveted Town Cup. “Opening up the entry is great news not only because it gives us a chance to win the magnificent and historic piece of silverware, but also because it seems to be attracting a flourish of interest. Now even boats like Quarter Tonners can take part which will make it really exciting.”
Tony Merewether, who will be there to defend the Town Cup title he won last year with his team on Amazon (Jeanneau Sunfast 3200), added: “The Town Cup is still the premier trophy in Burnham Week and I welcome the decision to open up the entry to as many IRC yachts as possible, particularly as the average size of racing yachts seem to be getting smaller.”
The regatta action kicks off on the Bank Holiday weekend with a chance for IRC/SER yachts to contest the Commodores Cup on Bank Holiday Monday. There will be races for local handicap cruisers (spinnaker and non-spinnaker), one-designs including Dragons, Squibs, 707s, Royal Corinthian, Royal Burnham, and also several dinghy classes notably Ospreys and Phantoms plus fast and slow dinghy handicap.
The Mid Week Regatta that runs from Tuesday to Friday will see plenty of activity this year particularly with the addition of Hunter 707 class that will contest its national championship (1-4 September). Squibs, Royal Corinthian and Royal Burnham One-Designs will make up the bulk of the other mid-week classes, plus a new format for cruiser/racers, which gives an opportunity to compete under local handicap in two classes, is likely to generate more interest.
Classes that don’t qualify for entry to the Town Cup on the final Saturday will compete for individual class trophies, all of which will be presented at the prize giving later that evening.
The JCC-supported Quay Day on Bank Holiday Monday is expected to kick start Burnham Week’s legendary shore-side activities. There’ll be plenty of stalls and activities including local crafts, and food, plus a play area for children which includes face painting and pony rides. Pubs, cafes and some of the local yacht clubs including the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club will be open to visitors for food and refreshments all day.
By popular demand to account for growing population of motorboaters based on the east coast, the JCC have introduced Bank Holiday weekend motorboat classes with results based on predicted logs.
Gig racing, which proved highly popular last year is expected to be even more competitive with at least 18 teams already signed up for the JCC-supported races on Sunday, and Quay Day racing for the Nelson Cup to commemorate the Battle of Trafalgar, on the Bank Holiday Monday. The start of this challenging five-mile sprint is 1330 from the Town Quay. Spectators are advised to arrive early to secure a prominent vantage point along the shoreline.
Burnham Week sponsors include Fambridge Yacht Haven, Mickey Gooch, Craft Insure, Burnham Yacht Harbour and Premium Liferaft Services
Photo credit: East Coast Photos