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HOW REGATTA WORKS


Regatta is a massive event – it brings around 72,000 people to Dartmouth over four days every August. That’s 18,000 people, a day, coming to a town of 5,400 – or three and a bit times its population. That’s the equivalent of 26million people visiting London for the Olympics, each day. This huge affair, with more than 100 individual competitions, happenings and events, is organised by a committee of just about 50 people. They don’t get paid, they simply do it because they love Regatta and they love Dartmouth. The first planning meeting for a Regatta is held ONE WEEK after the last one finishes. Basil Williams, one of the organising committee, says that he loves the fact there are so many


sporting events at Regatta. “There are more than 2,000 competitors in twelve sporting competitions we hold,” he says. “It is a massive sporting event – one of the most varied events you could ever hope to see in a town this size. I don’t know of any other like it. Prince Andrew is our patron, and he likes an update on how things are going – he is always amazed by the variety. He told me “it’s like a mini Olympics!”” The sporting events include the sailing, the West of England Amateur Rowing, the popular local whaler rowing, the Swimming Competition, the tug of war, the waterborne tug of war, the running race, bowls, the tennis competition and others. If you add to this the social events and attractions, the scale of Regatta starts to become clear: the shopping village, the Regatta ball, the Regatta rock, the opening day fete,


the window dressing competition, the spot the oddity competition, the waterborne treasure hunt, the pavement art competition, not to mention the air displays (including the Red Arrows) and the two massive fireworks displays on Thursday night and Saturday night. That’s a lot of people and a lot of events. They require organisation and a lot of responsibility on a small, albeit totally dedicated, band of volunteers.


Each event gets a sub committee and each sub committee has a chairman, who takes overall responsibility for that event. It’s estimated that each one of the events has a band of other volunteers – family and friends of the committee members – who help on the week itself – perhaps up to another 250 people giving their time for free to make it possible to hold the Regatta.





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