STRATFORD-upon-Avon Boat Club’s Fun Regatta returns to the water after a two-year absence this weekend.
The regatta has once again attracted competitors from local companies, villages and groups of friends with 16 crews set to take part.
All crews will have just three hours training before competing in a number of ‘side-by-side’ races in the club’s learn-to-row stable boats.
And living up to its name, many crews are expected to wear fancy dress with the action set to get underway at 9am until 4.30pm depending on water traffic.
Fun Regatta joint organiser Simon Price said: “We’d like to encourage people 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!”
Chris Belcher joint organiser 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 and current athletes.
“We’re very grateful for the support of all our hard working members who run the regatta, tea tent and barbecue.
“We’re especially grateful to our river neighbours for their tolerance during this event and for sponsors such as the Crowne Plaza Stratford.”
Crews will consist of four people, each with a basic swimming ability, who are given three one-hour training sessions ahead of race day with one of Stratford’s volunteer coaches.
And each crew will be given a cox on the day and compete in a minimum of three side-by-side races with the fastest crews qualifying for the semi-finals and 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 dressed up as Ghostbusters, (complete with backpack zappers), totally blue Smurfs, Abba, Wizard of Oz (Tinman, Scarecrow, Dorothy and Lion named Follow The Yellow Brick ‘Rowed’, Top Gun, pop group Kiss and several pirate crews including one which mounted a cannon on their boat and pumped out coloured smoke as they raced.
Crews will use stable ‘learn-to-row’ boats which are part funded by a grant from the Town Trust.
These are also used 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
Boat Club Chairman Dawson Curnock said: “After two years off the river, 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 great viewing from the Rec, RSC terrace, Bancroft Gardens and the Club grounds where there will be a tea tent, food wagon and bar. All are very welcome!”
Whilst club members are preparing for the Fun Regatta, Stratford’s junior squad are busy training for the prestigious British Rowing’s Junior Championships at The National Watersport Centre at Nottingham later this 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 Championship and in their future as senior rowers!”
Stratford’s Fun Regatta takes place on Saturday, July 9 with racing set to start at 9am.