And this year your Regatta needs you.
Dartmouth has changed significantly over the years, as has the Regatta. When it first started in 1822 by the gentlemen of the town, the event was very small with only three sailing races, one rowing race, a military band performance at the Castle, and a Regatta Ball held at the Castle Inn for 120 people.
The Regatta is always held on the last Friday of August to ensure no clashes with the National Sailing programme and so it won’t clash with other Regattas such as Cowes Week.
Over the years the Regatta has seen many sailing races with all sizes of yachts, rowing races fiercely fought among the local pubs, air displays that have literally left your heart in your mouth and much much more.
Did you know Queen Victoria bestowed the Royal title on our towns Regatta in 1856, after enjoying her visit to Dartmouth due to bad weather en route to Plymouth with Prince Albert or that Prince Andrew, our current patron, attended the 150th Regatta in 1994?
He started the Open Whaler Race by firing a canon, and in the same year we had a visiting Argentinian ship in harbour, one of the first after the Falklands conflict.
Such is the success of the event over the years we even had Sir Steve Redgrave CBE and Andrew Holmes among the winning crew of Leander (Star & Arrow) in the Open Eights in 1986.
In 2018, the committee had to make a change, we do not receive any funding, but rely on donations and sponsorship, and funds were low.
This is not just unique to Dartmouth, you will have heard of festivals and events around the county struggling for money as associated costs rise at an alarming rate.
It was decided to take the event back to its roots: ‘A series of rowing and sailing races on the water’. This was decided to ensure all of the community in Dartmouth and Kingswear and their families, could enjoy and spend quality time together.
There will always be plenty for spectators and competitors families to take part in on land, such as the famous Spot the Oddity competition, the Tennis Tournament, the Road Races or the Junior Crabbing competition, but the committee would really like the 175th celebrations to have even more focus on the river, which after all is at the heart of our community.
The committee need your help to keep your Regatta going!
To this end a ‘Donate now’ button has been set up. The committee is aiming high and would be very grateful for any donations from all of you Regatta lovers, no matter how big or small.
If you donated £1.75 a month that would be £21 a year and every penny will go towards a special event on the water for our 175th Regatta in 2019, and hopefully for many years to come.
Regatta committee member, Kevin Pyne said: “Everyone enjoyed last year’s regatta so much that we need to find another way of funding what we like to do every year at the end of August.
“I’d like to ask the locals and regular visitors alike to donate £1.75 a month so that we can hold a basic regatta.
“It would not be much more than one round of drinks for four people during the festivities.”
The committee really hopes to continue with what is described as the loveliest Regatta in the world by John Scott Hughes of The Times 50 years ago, so please help.