From Glyndebourne to Glastonbury - A social calendar for the 21st century
Port of Dartmouth Royal Regatta
29 August, 2013 - 31 August, 2013
The Dartmouth Regatta in South Devon, which takes place over three days in late August, is a water-based extravaganza of rowing, displays of historic craft, river tug-of-war, yacht racing and traditional passage races.
Over 200 craft of different sizes, from yachts to dinghies, compete in over 15 events. There's also the popular rowing regatta, with local eights, fours and pairs fighting it out over a very testing course.
But there's more besides: air displays (usually featuring the Red Arrows) and two stunning firework displays, while the town is transformed for Dartmouth Regatta week by a funfair, music, dancing, and market stalls and a shopping village.
For centuries, sailors have set out all over the world from Dartmouth's deep-water harbour, which is surrounded by steep hillsides packed with brightly coloured houses. Dartmouth first hosted a regatta in 1822, with royal patronage coming in 1856 after Queen Victoria made a chance visit due to bad weather. It's now patronised by HRH the Duke of York, who trained at the town's naval college, and the regatta always has one naval guard-ship in the harbour.
The official opening ceremony features a procession led by the band of Her Majesty's Royal Marines from the college, who then 'Beat Retreat' - a tradition dating back to medieval battles, when a drummer boy would be sent along the infantry ranks, his drumming telling the soldiers to retire to their overnight quarters or garrison.