IT’S time to sign up for a prestigious regatta.
Entry is now open for Burnham Week, one of the east coast’s premier regattas – which incorporates the prestigious Town Cup for big boats on the final Saturday.
This popular family regatta, which will be held on August 23-30, offers challenging racing and a festival shoreside spirit and is not only one of major regattas of its type but is also one of the oldest, dating back to the early 1900s.
The success of the three-part regatta format, introduced several years ago to encourage a healthier participation at the event, and the introduction of Quay Day last year that resulted in hundreds of extra visitors to the town, means the organisers – Joint Clubs Committee (JCC) – are optimistic about the future of the event.
Chairman of the JCC, Jo Barker, said: “The move to adapt to the increasingly busy lifestyle we all find ourselves in, thankfully, proved successful because we have seen a gradual increase in entries over the last few years.
“I don’t think that would have been the case had we continued to run it as one entire series.
“The popular flexible format we now have in place means that those limited by time or work still have a chance to enjoy fun, vibrant racing.”
While the number of entries and the size of yachts competing at Burnham Week will probably never reach the event’s heyday years of the 1960s/70s when big, ocean racers headed to Burnham for the final regatta of the season after completing the Fastnet Race, the variety of classes and the opportunity to take part has never been better.
The format gives competitors the chance to race one or all three independent sections (first Bank Holiday Weekend series, week series, and final Saturday) or participate in the entire week.
In addition to IRC and local handicap fleets, class racing is possible for International Dragons, multihulls, RS Elites, Hunter 707s, Sonatas, Squibs, Sandhoppers, Stellas, Royal Burnham One-Designs, Royal Corinthian One-Designs, East Coast One-Designs or any class that can muster six or more boats.
There is also a White Sails class for non-spinnaker boats aimed at those new to racing, and a dinghy section, including Ospreys and Phantoms, as well as fast and slow handicap fleet.
Big boats are expected to turn out en masse at the weekends with the first weekend incorporating the Burnham stage of IRC SailEast Regatta Series, and the final Saturday IRC Class One will compete for the Town Cup and, Class Two, the Commodores Cup.
Burnham Week is particularly popular for spectators with miles of grass seawall that provides a natural amphitheatre to view race starts and enjoy a picnic with family and friends.
The introduction of Quay Day last year was enjoyed by hundreds of visitors, and it is hoped that this year’s one-day festival on Bank Holiday Monday, August 25, will be even more popular.
With stalls, entertainment, and an art exhibition, plus race starts off the quayside to give spectators a chance to engage in the racing, there’ll be no shortage of excitement.
Visitors will also be able to pick up a free Burnham Week guide that includes a brief explanation of the racing and class identification, as well as an update on all the shore side events including details on the final Saturday grand fireworks display.