Get building now for raft race at Sidmouth Regatta

Sidmouth Regatta raft race on Saturday evening. The team from All Saints church catch a wave and sur

Sidmouth Regatta raft race on Saturday evening. The team from All Saints church catch a wave and surf into the beach. - Credit: Archant

The organisers of Sidmouth Regatta’s raft race are calling on families and community groups to make some memories on the water this summer.

There was a time that dozens of teams set to work building a makeshift boat and hoping they would float so they could claim the glory of being first back to shore.

But numbers have fallen to a handful in recent years, and Rebecca Knight is urging more teams to come forward and join the race on Saturday, August 27.

“It’s always a fun family weekend. It becomes part of growing up,” said Rebecca, whose dad Keith has organised the annual event with Oliver and Adele Salter for years.

“It’s my favourite weekend of the year, and it really draws a crowd.

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“There’s something for everyone at the regatta.”

Everything from the raft to the paddles has to be handmade. Typical materials include barrels, ladders, chairs and bins.

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There are competitions for the best fancy dress, as well as the fastest back to Port Royal from the Millennium Walkway.

The regatta weekend will kick off on Friday, August 26, with a Red Arrows display organised by Sidmouth Town Council.

The weekend will boast the usual three-legged pub crawl, swimming and sailing races, a shop window competition and children’s events, with proceeds going to the RNLI and Sidmouth Lifeboat.

Regular entrant James Trevett said: “Why should people get involved in the raft race? Well it’s simple really - it’s a great laugh!

“It’s not about winning the race for us – it’s all about the battle on the water.”

James said he wants to see rivalries between businesses and clubs – army cadets against air cadets, Waitrose versus Tesco, Dukes facing the Anchor.

The Sidmouth Regatta programme will be on sale soon at Sidmouth Information Centre.

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