200 crews sign up for regatta

MORE than 200 crews will be competing in 100 races in this year’s annual Sudbury Regatta, hosted by Sudbury Rowing Club.

The event takes place on Saturday, August 4, on the River Stour in Friars Meadow, with racing starting at 9am and carrying on all day until 5pm.

Those not taking part in the races can enjoy the mini-beer festival set up in the riverside beer tent, a hog roast, barbecue, bouncy castle and music from a jazz band – although not necessarily in that order. Entrance is free.

Since its foundation in 1874, Sudbury Rowing Club has held a regatta on the first Saturday of August each year.

Rowing club chairman Mike Arnott said: “The event has grown over the years and has had more than its fair share of drama.

“During the 1920s, the punt ferrying the Sudbury Town Band across the river sank, leaving band members floundering in the shallows.

“Rowers made repeated dives, and eventually all but one of the instruments were retrieved and, after a little drying out, the band played on.

“A few years later, in 1931, a fire destroyed the boathouse and fleet just seven days before the regatta, but nearby rowing clubs lent enough boats for the regatta to go ahead.”

He said the competition attracts crews from across the UK and Europe.

“This year’s healthy turnout is indicative of the enduring popularity of the sport and its appeal across all ages and abilities,” he said. “Rowing is one of the few sports that allow you to compete from the age of 14 to 84 and beyond and, at Sudbury, we like to cater for everyone.

“The narrow width and snaking bends of the river mean the spectators are right next to the action. The racing is really hard and really serious but it’s a relaxed rivalry.”