Since the first race in 1829, there has been no stopping to sailboat racing. This adventurous and refreshing sport has a very interesting history and throughout the year, there are numerous racing events that keep the racers busy, active and competent. Let’s take a look at some of them:
Beer Can Regatta
Also known as the Darwin Beer Can Regatta, the Beer Can Regatta is an annual event held in Mindil Beach, Darwin, Northern Territory in Australia. This event is attended by tens of thousands of people witnessing the participating vessels which are made of — you guess it — beer and soda cans! The highlights of the most recent regatta are the appearance of Extravacans, a motorboat built with 30,000 cans!
The idea of building cardboard boats (and actually sailing on them) started at Southeastern Illinois University as a demonstration for engineering design. Not long after the idea spread and became popular among college and high school kids. The boats are made from corrugated fiber cardboard; participants use these boats to race on shallow waters. The oars are also made of similar material. As expected, the boats will either sink or be flooded, but what matters most is the fun and high spirits that take the students’ cares away from anything Academical for a while.
Concrete Canoe Championship
Like in the cardboard boat competition, concrete canoes were initially created to demonstrate if something unfloatable could float. However, this exercise eventually resulted in an experiment to produce better materials such as improving better concrete. Intramural concrete canoe competitions started during the 1960s, and they were soon held in several schools across the country.
International Regatta of Bathtubs
The Belgian city of Dinant holds a strange competition every August called the Le Regate des Baignoires or The International Regatta of Bathtubs. All participating boats must contain a bathtub and no motor. Contestants slug it out by making the most creative and striking bathtub-boats, as well as managing to make it first to the finish line.
Milk Carton Boats
A central city in Latvia named Jegalva holds The Milk, Bread and Honey Festival every end of August. In that festival, there is a wacky boat race called the Milk Carton Boat Race, which was established in the early 2000s. These human-powered boats should be built entirely of empty milk cartons. This event aims to encourage everyone to drink milk as well as to get involved in recycling.
Every Memorial Day weekend folks over in Key West, Florida hold another wacky annual boating competition called the Schooner Wharf Bar Minimal Regatta. Participating boats are usually made of a sheet of plywood, some 2×4’s, duct tape and other odds and ends. Prizes are given for the boats that win the race, boats that otherwise never make it (and sink), and for the most creative boats.
Nehru Trophy Boat Race
The Nehru Trophy Boat Race is one of the biggest tourist events in the city of Alappuzha (also known as Alleppey), Kerala, and India. This boating race is held on the Vembanad Lake (popularly known as Punnamada Lake) and is one of the biggest and most competitive boating sports in Kerala. The “Chundam Vallams” (or “Snake Boats”) is one of this competition’s most important event, where certain boats called “chundam” are the star there. These immense boats are 100 to 120 feet long and can carry 90 to 100 rowers who row as fast as 90 to 120 strokes per minute! In five minutes or less these boats can cover a distance of about 1.4 kilometers, surely not an easy feat for human-powered vessels!
Another boat race guaranteed to make you amused is the Pumpkin Paddling, where participants mount on carved giant pumpkins and row against each other. The Damariscotta Pumpkinfest & Regatta, held in the town of Damariscotta, Maine, celebrates the vegetable through several events such as pumpkin carving and the pumpkin regatta which draws the biggest crowd.
Stanley International Dragon Boat Race
The Dragon Boat Festival is a centuries-old tradition in China as well as is also a legal holiday in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau. One of the highlights of this festival is the Stanley International Boat Race, where over 140 teams from many parts of the world participate. The competition is visually stunning with colorful dragon boats racing against each other in the vast waters. Standard boats usually carry 22 paddlers, a sweeper (steerer) and a drummer. The drummer leads and dictates the paddlers throughout the race by beating the drum rhythmically to denote the frequency and the harmony of-of the rowers’ paddling.
Super Boat International Boat Race
The Super Boat International Boat Race is home to the world’s fastest speed boats in the world, with these speed monsters race through the blue waters off Key West, Florida. They could go as fast as 200 mph through six rectangular courses, which average six miles long.
The Great River Amazon Raft Race
This is undoubtedly a boat race like no other mainly because it happens in the mighty Amazon River. Given the vastness of the river, racers usually take about three days to complete the race! Not only that, participants are required to build their own log rafts just a day before the race. It started in July 1999 at the Nanay River, the tributary of the Amazon River which was 12 miles long.
The Boat Race/Xchanging Boat Race
Known simply as the Boat Race, this prestigious event is the centuries-battle between the boat clubs of England’s top universities, Oxford and Cambridge, and is held in the river Thames. Since 1856 (for the exception of the cholera outbreak and World War I and II), this event has been held annually. Eight rowers ride on Olympic-class rowing boats (called “Eight”), and the course is 4.25 miles starting from Putney and ending at Mortlake.
Who knew there were so many boat racing events, with such interesting titles and history and methodology using pumpkins, milk cartons, beer cans and bathtubs. So if you are a boat racer, it’s time you polish your skills and show some speed to get a title.