Saturday, 18 September 2021

Crews get wet and wild at fun regatta

Dozens of competitors, and more spectators, ended up with soggy clothes at a wet Hurley Regatta on Saturday (20)

Dozens of competitors, and more spectators, ended up with soggy clothes at a wet Hurley Regatta on Saturday (20).

The 44th annual event saw races along a stretch of the River Thames, with contests in dongolas, dinghies and the popular raft race.

Teams built rafts from wooden planks and plastic barrels before taking to the water, though several competitors ended up in the river after their creations fell apart.

One team even swam the entire course with their raft in tow after failing to stay aboard at the start.

The event was won by Moobers and Shakers, who beat Hurley Hayseeds, winners in the last two years.

Other inventive team names included We are having a Gi-Raft, HMS Boaty McBoatFace and In the pub by noon, which was actually crewed by a team of 14-year-olds.

The regatta was hit by rain showers and high winds during parts of the afternoon but that failed to dampen spirits as there were more than 40 races throughout the day. The dragon boat final saw two crews of about 16 people race the course, each with a “cox” banging a drum to set the rhythm of the rowers.

It was won by Dew Drop Pirates against Draggy McDragface, with the victors them showing off their skills with a victory lap of the course.

The Draggy McDragface crew included sports presenter Steve Rider, who lives in Maidenhead.

In the paddleboarding, one competitors nearly tumbled in the the river as he struggled to keep his footing, while one of the canoe races went one better as a member of the leading crew plunged in to the water as he attempted to switch places with his teammate.

There was also a bathtub race where several competitors ended up in the river and a tug of war where two rafts were joined by a rope and had to row away from each other. This was won by Aylesbury Ducks for the second year in a row.

In the “damsel in distress” contest, canoeists had to collect a “damsel” from a boat and take her to the finish without dropping her in the water.

There were also more serious races including punting, canoeing and the men’s single sculls.

Between two races in the afternoon, there was a “row past” from two boats, with one crew representing “the North” as they dressed in tartan and ginger wigs.

On dry land, entertainment included a land-based tug of war, egg throwing and dog racing. A miniature train took children on a loop of the site, while there were also fairground rides provided by Pelham’s Funfair.

Irish folk singer Steve Carroll performed in the evening and children’s performer Smartie Artie entertained youngsters, while there was also food and drink available all day for visitors.

This year’s regatta was raising money for Braywick Heath Employment Skills Training, which is based at Braywick Heath Nurseries in Maidenhead and had a stall at the event, while prizes were presented by Windsor and Maidenhead mayor Sayonara Luxton.

Regatta chairman Martin Fry said: “It was a very good regatta. We had concerns about the weather but in the end we didn’t that much rain, just strong winds.

“All the feedback we’ve had has been good. Entries were down a little bit on last year as people were put off by the forecast but everyone who did come along had fun.

“The bath race is always the event I love the most. The challenge is to get to the finish without sinking and quite a few sank this year, which is always a good laugh!”

He added: “People look forward to it. People have started coming from a considerable distance to see the regatta and we also have a lot of regulars.”

Next year’s regatta will be held on Saturday, August 19.

Full results and more pictures are in this week's Henley Standard, out on Friday.



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