ROWING - Stratford Boat Club’s annual fun regatta to take place this weekend - The Stratford Observer

ROWING - Stratford Boat Club’s annual fun regatta to take place this weekend

Aaron Sutcliffe 9th Jul, 2024 Updated: 10th Jul, 2024   0

STRATFORD-upon-Avon Boat Club’s annual fun regatta takes place this weekend (Saturday, July 13).

This year’s fun regatta, the third since two years off the calendar due to Covid, has again attracted competitors from local companies, villages and groups of friends.

Some 23 crews with just three hours of training, will compete in a number of side by side races in the club’s learn-to-row stable boats, often in fancy dress.

Fun Regatta organiser, Adam Franklin, said: “We’d like to encourage everybody to come down to the Boat Club or the river to support the crews. It is great to watch as there’s lots of splashing, some crazy outfits and plenty of competitive banter.

Stratford Boat Club chairman, Dawson Curnock, added: “It is a fabulous ‘fun’ day for all the family and it also helps the club raise vital funds to buy boats and equipment for future, current and adaptive athletes.

“We’re very grateful for the support of all our hard working members who run the regatta and the tea tent. We’re especially grateful to our river neighbours for their tolerance during this event and for sponsors such as the Crowne Plaza Stratford who have helped us organise this event.”




Racing starts at 9am with the victors crowned by around 4.30pm, other water traffic permitting.

Stratford’s Deputy Mayor Coun Dani Hunter, together with Dawson Curnock, the club’s Chairman, will present prizes for the winning and the best fancy dressed crew.


The fun regatta, originally called the Pubs and Clubs Regatta, began on the Sunday following the main June regatta, however, as the event grew in size, and popularity, it became a standalone event in July.

Entry requirements are simple, a crew of four people (with a basic swimming ability) with each team given three one-hour training sessions ahead of race day with one the Boat Club’s volunteer coaches.

On the day of the fun regatta, each crew will have a cox and compete in a minimum of three side-by-side races with the fastest crews qualifying for the semi-finals and the finals.

Fancy dress has become a major part of the day, with separate prizes for the best dressed and named crews.

Over the years, crews have featured Ghostbusters (complete with backpack zappers), totally blue Smurfs, Abba, Wizard of Oz (named Follow The Yellow Brick Rowed), Top Gun and rock group Kiss.

This year, crews include: The Front Row from Stratford Rugby Club, BDR Buccaneers from the BDR Group, Dodgy Builders from Denville Interiors, ROWtorious also from the BDR Group, OARganised Chaos from Stratford, Usain Boat#2 from a local kitchen, design, supply and installation company, Nevermind the Rollocks 2.0.

Emerge N Sea (NHS), The Cox Inhibitors (NHS), SWFT Encounter (South Warwickshire Foundation Trust), Rowmeo and the Juliets (NHS), EDdy Currents (NHS), Blood Vessel (NHS), ED Voyager (NHS), Four in a Bed (NHS).

The Flappers, The Barley Fields Gangsters, Becky Spencer Training, The Owls and Grumpy Cat, Extr-oar-dinary Lasses, Plastic Fantastic, Shakespeare’s Sistas and ROWdies from Solicitors Robert Lunn and Lowth.

Crews use stable Learn to Row boats, part funded by a grant by the Town Trust, which are useful all year round for those taking part in the Boat Club’s courses and help beginners gain confidence and skills as they take up and progress within the sport.

Stratford Boat Club’s president, Paul Stanton, said: “We’re more than ready to go with the Fun Regatta We know that the Fun Regatta is going to be a great day.

“There is excellent viewing from the Rec, RSC terrace, Bancroft Gardens and especially from the club grounds where there will be a tea tent, food wagon and Sip ‘n’ Swig’s famous bar.

“All are very welcome. We are so pleased to see eight teams from local NHS Trusts raising money towards a revamp of mental health facilities in the area, we hope too that all the NHS crews will take time to have a great day away from their very demanding work.”

And while club members are preparing for the fun regatta, the club’s junior squad are busy putting in their final training for the prestigious British Rowing Junior Championships at The National Watersport Centre at Nottingham later in month.

Junior co-ordinator, Steve Wellstead, said: “For some more senior junior athletes, this will be one of their last regattas as a junior, we wish them luck at the National Championships and in their future as senior rowers.”

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