Burnham Week 2014

Burnham Week 2014
Countdown to east coast premier regatta

Burnham Week (23-30 August) final preparations are underway to welcome visitors to the town, and provide competitors with challenging racing at this popular east coast sailing venue.

Although the Burnham Week ‘festival’ takes place over eight days, the three-series racing format (first Bank Holiday Weekend series, week series, and final Saturday) gives competitors an opportunity to race one or all three independent sections or participate in the entire week.

Entries are flowing in, which means top class competition is expected in all fleets including IRC and local handicap fleets. Some of the biggest entries will be the International Dragon, multihull, RS Elite, Hunter 707, Sonata, Squib, Royal Burnham One-Design, and Royal Corinthian One-Design fleets, with interest in the Sandhopper, Stella, and East Coast One-Design fleets starting to build. There is also a vibrant dinghy section with Phantoms, in particular, establishing an impressive fleet.

Malcolm Hutchings and Andy Ramsey, local Squib sailors and winners of Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week last year (from an 800-strong fleet), say the Squib is an ideal boat to race at Burnham Week. Ramsey commented: “Although we feel honoured to have won Cowes Week overall in 2013, there is something special about coming back to the East Coast to race Burnham Week. The Squib class at Burnham is always fun, yet competitive and it looks as though even more visitors are planning to take part this year. For us, of course, the event is right on our doorstep so what more could we ask for?”

The festival shore-side spirit that Burnham Week is known for looks set to continue. Quay Day, that was introduced last year and enjoyed by hundreds of visitors, is scheduled to take place once again on Bank Holiday Monday (25 August) and an even larger crowd is expected. In addition to the stalls and entertainment, there’s an art exhibition at Burnham Museum, and there’ll be an opportunity for spectators to really engage with the regatta including a chance to see race starts from the quayside, and a special display of gig racing. BBC Essex Radio presenters will also be out and about to capture the atmosphere of this quintessential British family regatta.

Racing, and social events run throughout the week culminating with the grand firework display to mark the end of the regatta and celebrate the winner of the Town Cup, which will be presented by Ron Pratt, the Mayor, at Crouch Yacht Club. John Whittingdale OBE MP for Maldon will present the remaining Burnham Week trophies. The annual ‘duck’ race to raise funds for the Essex Air Ambulance – the event’s official charity – is also scheduled for the final Saturday.

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, is available at shops and sailing clubs throughout the town.