Sailors rum like the wind for inaugural regatta race

Alnwick Rum Run  at Blyth'Nick Spurr's yacht, the Spurreli, arrives at Blyth's South Harbour
Alnwick Rum Run at Blyth'Nick Spurr's yacht, the Spurreli, arrives at Blyth's South Harbour

A new yacht race sponsored by a north Northumberland specialist drinks company got off to a flying start on Sunday – as did a new cocktail.

Sailors from along the North East coast descended on Blyth for its annual regatta, held over the course of the weekend, and a thrilling series of races.

And it also marked the launch of a new partnership between hosts Royal Northumberland Yacht Club and Spirit of Northumberland – the creators of Alnwick Rum.

The firm, which has also revived a range of beers once made by the former Alnwick Brewery, put forward a trophy for a new race it has sponsored, dubbed the Alnwick Rum Run.

Seventeen crews were eager to take up the challenge, which saw them track north to Alnmouth, turn around and head back to Blyth’s South Harbour.

But it wasn’t all plain sailing, as the glorious weather didn’t leave much in the way of wind to push their yachts along.

A number were left becalmed en-route and had no option but to sit and wait for the breeze to pick up.

Back on shore, however, and there was a welcome drink waiting to refresh them, including the new Percy Warmer cocktail, a blend of Alnwick Rum and green ginger wine.

Low Fell yachtsman Colin Davidson, aboard the aptly-named Summer Wine, was the first rum-runner home,

There to present the new trophy – a striking composition in wood and steel – was Spirit of Northumberland director David Ainsley and chairman Rory Mclean, who is a former Royal Navy Vice-Admiral who once commanded HMS Invincible. Rory was also rum bosum during his naval career, with the responsibilty of seeing that each man got his fair allocation of grog.

David said: “We couldn’t have asked for a more glorious day on which to stage the inaugural Alnwick Rum Run, although the lack of wind made it a trickier job for the competitors.

“We’re delighted to be working alongside the Royal Northumberland Yacht Club, which has laid on a very impressive regatta, and look forward to a very productive relationship in the future. This is exactly the kind of partnership Spirit of Northumberland was looking for.”

Vice-Admiral Mclean added: “There’s a very long and proud connection between rum and the sea and we’re delighted to have re-established it here with Royal Northumberland Yacht Club.”

The regatta itself, raced over both days, was won by Amble Boat Company owner Nick Spurr, aboard the Spurreli.