The countdown to Burnham Week 2023 has already started with entries now open writes Sue Pelling. This East Coast regatta that traditionally takes in the August Bank Holiday weekend, this year runs from 26 August-2 September. With eight days of racing and prizes on offer for both weekend and mid-week racing, for a wide range of classes, it is not surprising Burnham Week is one of the most popular late summer, family holiday regattas.
As well as spinnaker and non-spinnaker racing divisions, classes such as the Dragon, RS Elite, Squib, and local Royal Burnham and Royal Corinthian One-Designs enjoy close, competitive racing. After a successful regatta last year with seven boats, the Sandhopper class (bilge keel version of the Squib) is making a welcome return with entries from Thorpe Bay YC on the Thames Estuary and Maylandsea Bay YC on the River Blackwater. Another class making the passage round to Burnham from the River Blackwater is the East Coast One-Design fleet.
Scott James – chairman of the Sandhopper class association – said there’ll be more boats this year for sure: “The competition was exceptional last year and this has prompted a lot of interest for the 2023 event. In fact, we already have eight boats from Thorpe Bay preparing to sail round [from Thorpe Bay to Burnham] at this stage, and realistically we expect at least 10, if not more in total.”
Edwin Buckley – Burnham Week’s Principal Race Officer – said he is delighted there seems to be such a growing interest from visitors: “We are looking forward to welcoming not only local teams, but also visitors to this East Coast August spectacular. As well as a full-on racing schedule for cruisers, dinghies, and keelboats with the likes of the ECODs also returning this year, we are pleased that the local gig rowing teams will be in full force once again on the first weekend. With racing for the Nelson Cup taking place just off the quay, it’s hugely popular with spectators. In addition to this we’ve introduced the Interclub Rowing Competition, whereby members of all three clubs – Royal Corinthian YC, Royal Burnham YC and Burnham SC – have a chance to go head-to-head. We’re also planning some friendly competition between local paddleboard teams the same weekend, so we look forward to seeing everyone there.”
Other highlights of the Bank Holiday weekend include racing for the Multihull Offshore Cruising & Racing Association (MOCRA), and a full schedule of dinghy racing for the Osprey, Blaze, Phantom, RS200, ILCA, mixed handicap classes, and any class that can muster a fleet of seven.
Among the prizes on offer for IRC classes on Trophy Day (the final Saturday), is Burnham Week’s signature event – the Town Cup – which is being run alongside the Houghton Cup (one of the oldest offshore races on the East Coast) in conjunction with EAORA (East Anglian Offshore Racing Association).
Shore side entertainment including live bands, parties and prizegivings are lined up for the week at all three clubs (Royal Corinthian YC, Royal Burnham YC, Burnham SC), and the celebrated grand fireworks display to mark the end of the regatta will take place on the final Saturday evening.
The most cost-effective way of signing up for the regatta is Burnham Week’s Early Bird discount [www.burnhamweek.com/fleets/] which runs until Tuesday 1 August. Understanding competitors’ wishes for a flexible entry system however, regatta organiser – Burnham Week Ltd – continues to run its pay-by-the-day for those who cannot commit to a full week until nearer the time.
For more information about the regatta, including updates and how to enter, go to https://www.burnhamweek.com. Here you’ll also find the Notice of Race and details about the Town Cup – Burnham Week’s signature event.