I must admit, I hadn’t heard about the Henley-on-Todd Regatta until reader ‘Snoggeramus’ e-mailed me with a link to the video below. Wikipedia describes the Regatta as follows:
The Henley-on-Todd Regatta (also called the Todd River Race) is a “boat” race held annually in the typically dry sandy bed of the Todd River in Alice Springs, Australia. It began – and continues – cautiously as a joke at the expense of the original British settlers and the formal atmosphere of the British river races which continue today.
Every year in the spring, around September, the town holds a mock regatta which large numbers of locals and tourists attend. Food and drink are sold at stalls, “no fishing” signs are put up, and the celebration takes all day. It’s the only dry river regatta in the world; thus, it’s the only regatta ever cancelled because of wet weather and there was actually water in the river. This happened in 1993, when the event was cancelled for the year due to flooding.
. . .
Reg Smith at the Alice Springs Meteorological Bureau proposed for an actual regatta along the lines of the famous Henley Royal Regatta (at Henley-on-Thames, thus the name of the regatta) in 1962. The idea was taken up by the Rotary club of Alice Springs, and despite the fact that the town was 1,500 km from the nearest large body of water this was never seen as a problem.
Watching seemingly sane people race in bottomless “eights”, “Oxford tubs”, “bath tubs” and yachts through the deep coarse sand of the Todd River is a unique spectacle amongst world sporting events and attracts many local and international participants.
There’s more at the link. Here’s how this year’s regatta unfolded.
Looks like a good (albeit dry and dusty) time was had by all!