Sunday evening, the 23rd of August, saw the start of the annual Shaldon Regatta with the running of the Dawlish to Shaldon marathon row. A fine turn-out of fifty-five regatta dinghies were towed to the start line with the usual array of crews ranging from the young and eager to the more mature, but just as keen. The weather had threatened to put a dampener on the proceedings, but the rain was swept away and the sun shone through for the evening opener to the regatta. This event has been in place since 1971 and it was good to see the first winners, Bernard Howard and Roger Stoyle, on the beach to witness the winners of the Chirney Cup for the first Mens’ Pair, Patrick Forster and Paul Carpenter, cross the line ahead of Simon Hounsell and Rupert Holliday, the latter also receiving the Collyer cup for the over-45s. Various other trophies were up for grabs including the Sarah Jane Cup for the first Ladies’ pair home which was won by Catherine Lovell and Kate Rew, who also won the Duchess Cup for the Ladies over-45s; both men and ladies showing that the older generation are able to more than hold their own with the younger upstarts. The president Mark Pile then officially opened the weeks’ proceedings hoping that all would enjoy the ten days of both water-based and onshore events.
Monday afternoon saw a brave collection of plucky and brave swimmers ready to tackle the wind and rain in the first of the Happy-go-Lucky swimming events with a number of children taking to the water a number of times including fine showings from Daniel Tucker-Bailey, Harriet Endall and Lewis Orchard.
Following the swimming the beach was cleared for the beach rounders where the Natives team were to prove that local knowledge of beach conditions is critical as they made their way through the heats to win the Simons Trophy.
Early Tuesday morning looked fairly grim as the Otter sailing dinghies were rigged for the first of the harbour-based races with the weather threatening to make life difficult for the participants. This was to prove the case as just as the first heat for the Patrick Nicholls Trophy for the under fourteens set off the wind started to gust and the rain swept in; as such the rest of the programme was unfortunately cancelled, although all were reminded that a second set of races was in place for the following day. As usual the beach volleyball was an eagerly contested event with the more serious teams of six seen limbering up beforehand, being cooled by the Summer downpour. The Natives, a team of Shaldon locals, won a tight-fought final to win the trophy for the third year running, beating the regular visitors, a Bunch of Brummies as the sun finally made an appearance.
The second set of Happy-go-Lucky swimming events saw many of the same competitors once again brave conditions of the beach with the Frank Smith Memorial Cup for boys not yet 12 years old going to Callum Tucker-Bailey and the Phil Smith Memorial Trophy for girls not yet 12 years old going to Maisy Gregory.
The rest of the regatta week is filled with events on the water and beach to be enjoyed by both participants and spectators alike with the bank holiday weekend especially catering for the youngsters with sandcastle competitions and beach sports alongside sailing, rowing and other varied spectacles.