For those of you familiar with the Henley on Thames, from which our event takes its name, our regatta has almost nothing in common. On the Thames, the upper crust dress in their finest whites and sit on leafy lawns to watch world class rowing. Here, we sit on the dry river bank and watch friends and strangers carry bathtubs and shovel sand.
The arena is situated much like the Olympic gymnastics floor space. There are multiple events going on at once and the spectators simply choose what to watch. The boat races, of course, start the day. From homemade craft of plastic piping and duct tape that hold 4 to sponsored, metal yachts that hold 8, different groups from around town come forth and race.
After a long day of cheering and racing there was time for one last race. It was time to see which which country would have bragging rights for the next year. In 2012, the Aussies used a flexible boat design to out maneuver the American sailors. In response the American’s changed their boat design for 2013. As the teams lined up for the race, the judges introduced a wrinkle for this year. Two sponsored boats were pulled up and each team was assigned one. Each team looked evenly matched, having been selected for speed, strength, and sure-footedness. The starter fired his pistol and the teams took off. As they neared the turn the Americans held a slight advantage. However many a team had floundered at the turn. The rigid frames of the boats forced each team to turn wide. In the last twenty yards the Americans pulled away and won by a boat length.
Last, but not least, was the epic boat battle between the Vikings, Pirates, and Navy. Water cannons and flour bombs were employed as each team tried to earn the support of the crowd. All in all, it was a crazy day and we can’t even begin to describe it to you in words. This is one case where seeing is believing.
For more pictures, check it out here.