1 of 7
Dartmouth Regatta Montage
2 of 7
3 of 7
4 of 7
5 of 7
6 of 7
7 of 7
22 Things to do at the 2013 Dartmouth Regatta
- We start with the first event – the Regatta fete on the opening Saturday. A fun event full of the anticipation of the coming festivities – there are performances, music and stalls with food and gifts. There’s even the Regatta Dog show! Held in the Royal Avenue Gardens, this is a light hearted and fun way to start your Regatta experience. It starts at 11.30am on Saturday August 24th.
- Opening Ceremony – Wednesday night is the official beginning of the Regatta and the opening ceremony is suitably formal and full of pomp. A procession of the Regatta committee and many VIPs makes its way down Victoria Road to the Royal Avenue Gardens. As the procession enters the Gardens, a maroon (a rocket traditionally used to call lifeboatmen to a shout) is fired. Then it’s down to the serious business of opening the festivities with the proclamation. This is a statement announcing that there will be a ‘fair’ within the confines of the town and a regatta on the water. It contains the very welcome instruction to all to “eat, drink and be merry”. Well, don’t mind if I do!
- Bungee Rowing – held in the Boatfloat at the heart of the town, this is a remarkable event in which rowers try to row as far as they can whilst being tethered by a bungee rope. Despite sounding like a frustrating exercise, it creates compelling watching as teams of top local rowers push themselves to the limit to win. A real treat!
- The Regatta Proms – this is a fantastic, tub thumping, patriotic singalong for everyone. Held in the Royal Avenue Gardens on the opening Saturday evening, this has pomp, a big band and all your favourite proms classics, including the extravaganza that is ‘Land of Hope and Glory’ and of course ‘Rule Britannia’. Get your Union Jacks out and you’re ready to join in!
- Family Day - Friday has always been family day at Regatta and the morning is filled with madcap and fun events everyone can enjoy. There is the Waiters and Waitresses Race, in which competitors run up and down the Embankment carrying pints of ale, the International Trolley Grandprix, where contestants have to fill a wire trolley with ‘fuel’ (water) in tanks that have holes in them. Teams of two compete, with one poor soul charged with running back and forward with cans full of water. There’s also the barrel rolling competition and the Crabbing Competition (competitive parents beware: catch crabs for your children and they will be disqualified!).
- The funfair is a huge part of Regatta – placed in the Mayors Avenue car park, it provides excitement, colour and music for the duration of the festivities. A perfect place to take the kids for an hour or two of harmless fun – just make sure they don’t have too much candyfloss and then get on the dodgems...
- Red Arrows and Air displays - the world’s most famous air display team return for another stunning performance. If you have never seen them perform along the Dart you are missing out, as the valley location gives the display a special something. The sound echoes between the hills and seeing the planes turning and twisting incredibly just a few feet above the masts of moored yachts is something else. On the day, get here early - if the weather is good, the town will be buzzing! Throughout the week, there are other jaw-dropping displays, from ‘the Blades’ Aeronautic team, the Black Cats helicopters, the Sea Fury, the Sea King and the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.
- Regatta Night Out – a top musical night in the Regatta Marquee on Coronation Park. This is an event the town of Dartmouth has learnt to love: there has been a musical extravaganza on Regatta Wednesday for decades. This year, the fun factor is higher than ever, with a Take That cover band and lots of other great acts.
- Regatta Ball – for those who want something a little more refined than the Night Out, there is the Regatta Grand Ball. Taking place in the Marquee on Regatta Tuesday. The Ball is a chance to don a sparkly dress or tux and feel like a million dollars – a debonair and relaxed event.
- Regatta Shindig - and for those who want to have fun with all the family, there is the Regatta Shindig: featuring a Ceilidh and activities for kids, this is the best event for a family to all enjoy together at the Marquee this year. Held on Regatta Monday, it is a celebration of fun music, families being together and the spirit of Regatta. Get your dancing shoes on!
- West of England Amateur Rowing Association (WEARA) Rowing – this is a fierce and competitive championship which features some of the best young rowers in the country; Olympians have come here in the past for the event, which always takes place on Regatta Thursday. It is a huge challenge for the rowers, who have to scull their delicate boats around a corner, often against the prevailing tide – rowing is a massive athletic challenge and the Dart is a supreme test for the competitors – very much worth a watch.
- Local Rowing - running throughout the week, but with its culmination on Regatta Friday, this is an event very close to the hearts of most Dartmothians. Every pub enters numerous teams, everyone knows someone who is taking part, and the passion and effort people spend in its completion would put last year’s Olympics to shame. Rowing heavy wooden boats – from one-man dinghies to massive, eight-man whalers (the rowing of which is described as ‘rowing a skip with a long toothpick’) - the men and women of the Dart give their all in the hot sunshine and the racing is often incredibly close and exciting. Get yourself a place on the Embankment and enjoy the drama.
- Fireworks - one fireworks display is not enough, clearly, for Dartmouth Regatta. On Regatta Thursday and Regatta Saturday the sky will be lit up by a majestic and awe-inspiring display of explosions, often set to music. The river Dart creates a unique and dramatic backdrop for the fireworks, which are launched from a barge in the centre of the river - stunning!
- Music – there is a LOT of music at Regatta. The Bandstand in the Royal Avenue Gardens will host a number of great gigs throughout the week, including Hot Diggity, the Hot Bullets and other local favourites. There are also the beautiful Regatta Recitals and others dotted around the town. Keep your eye on the Regatta Programme for other musical events that are sure to be worth checking out.
- The Illuminated River Procession – a traditional event that many thought was dead and gone forever thanks to Health and Safety. This used to be a trip down the Dart with flaming torches, but insurance concerns put a stop to that. Now, thanks to Health and Safety, it’s a beautiful and haunting event that the whole family can get involved in. If you have a boat and would like to get involved (using non-combustible light sources of course) then go to the Regatta website (www.dartmouthregatta.co.uk) and download a form to join in on the evening of Regatta Wednesday.
- Regatta Tennis Tournament – the Open Tournament is a fully-fledged LTA-recognised event that brings some of the best players in the South West to Dartmouth every year. The standard is high, the competition is fierce and what better way is there to relive Andy Murray’s Wimbledon victory than watching this beautiful game in the Dartmouth sunshine? Runs throughout the week.
- Competition crazy! There are a multitude of competitions for young and old to get involved with throughout the week – so if you are competitive there is something for you to get your teeth into! There is the pavement art competition, the Spot the Oddity Competition (find all the ‘oddities’ out of place in participating shop windows), the children’s fancy dress competition, the Photographic Competition and the Junior Scavenger Hunt. There is also, for the very adventurous, the Waterborne Treasure Hunt! Get a programme during the week for full details of how to enter.
- Road Races – with Races for Junior and Senior runners, the Regatta Road races are now in their 36th Year. They feature challenging courses through beautiful countryside with a finishing strait in front of cheering crowds on the Embankment. You earn those cheers though, because the 5.1mile senior course is tough and demanding! Takes place on Regatta Saturday.
- Tug of War - on Regatta Saturday, Coronation Park is a scene of tough rivalry and hard competition as the Tug o War gets underway. Again, this is a favourite of locals with many pub teams competing (the Crab and Bucket are the reigning champions). The Tug o War is a great competition that can be enjoyed by all and if you could get a team together, there’s also a chance of a bit of glory!
- The Shopping Village – the Marquee, used for many fun events during the evenings early on in Regatta week, is transformed into the Shopping Village, a haven of artisans and small companies, selling high-quality merchandise and giving you the chance to pick up a bargain or a unique gift. The Village is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
- Sailing Week – running in its 169th year, the Dartmouth Sailing Week, organised by the Joint Regatta Sailing Committee on behalf of the Regatta Committee and hosted by the Royal Dart Yacht Club, is a treat for anyone who loves sailing. Taking place out in Start Bay, it features hard racing with some great competitors.
- The Review of Classic Craft – a relaxed event bringing to life a bygone age, this is a treat for anyone who loves beautiful old boats in a variety of shapes and sizes – sit on the Embankment and take in the stunning boats as they sail past with a well-researched and loving commentary.
Further details in the Official Regatta Programme – for sale in many outlets around the town. See also www.dartmouthregatta.co.uk
First Published August 2013 By The Dart