Whitby Regatta this year was a very memorable experience for many individuals over the weekend of the 13th, 141th and 15th August 2011. Over the 3 days the weather was lovely, and the sun shone wonderfully on the Regatta Monday.
Whitby Regatta is one of the oldest regattas in this country, and this year was the 171st time the event has been held.Primarily originating from the racing of local fishermen and their fishing boats, it has evolved into its present day format. This comprises not only the amateur rowing teams but various things to do on the West Cliff and West Cliff beach together with the fair on Whitby West Pier and the breathtaking firework display, which brings the 3 day event to a close.
The Whitby Regatta Committee and their squad of volunteers work very hard to arrange the events. Any contributions collected from the public are used for events the following year.
This year large crowds all along the harbour and piers, cheered on the rowing races. The teams of rowers comprising of girls, boys, ladies and men all of varying ages, are testament to the dedication of the rowing club's organisers' commitment to the youth of Whitby.
For the three day event on Whitby's West Cliff there were a huge number of attractions to include the glamorous grandmothers competition and the beautiful baby contest to a motorbike and quad gymkhana on the beach. Beautiful vintage cars were on display alongside their proud owners on the grassy banks and on the opposite side of the road, tractors, motorbikes and scooters gleamed in the Royal Crescent Gardens.
The army, navy and airforce 'roadshows' were in attendance as in previous years. This time there was an addition of the obstacle course provided free by the army much to the delight of the youngsters (and those not so young). A dog show attracted a number of entrants and, keeping on the animal theme, there were birds of prey, owls and reptiles on display. A new novelty this year was the pig racing viewed with much amusement by the crowds.
A mountain bike display, a fun-run, the annuual tug-of-war, bouncy castles, dodgems, pick-a-pen, trampolines, sweet stalls a 'witch', punch and judy, face-painting and many more activities added to the atmosphere on the Whitby's West Cliff over the weekend.
In addition to the rowing races out to sea and in the harbour, there was the added amusement of the annual raft race. The lifeboat led the yachts into the harbour for the sailpast adding to the maritime feel.
Miss Regatta led the parade on Regatta Monday. This was followed closely by 16 men pulling the old lifeboat, the William Riley, (no mean feat when considering at one point the parade marched uphill on Khyber Pass). Two jazz bands marched with musical accompaniment, the glamorous granny winner rode in a pony and trap and a charabanc and minature steam train were all in the procession in addition to some original and colourful floats (mechanical and walking). The absolute stars of the parade were undoubtedly the fancy-dress entrants. There were 92 childrenin total, in the parade in some stunning costumes which had obviously taken a great deal of time in the making. There were some truly original and comical characters displayed and it must have been extremely difficult for the judges to award the prizes.
The team of the Red Arrows thrilled and delighted the crowd on the West Cliff. Significant crowds waited in expectation for the arrival of the 9 Red Arrow acrobatic team in their traditional red hawk jets. Although perhaps not the clearest of skies, the visual impact of the jets and their trademark coloured vapour trails held the crown in awe and suspense. As they performed their acrobatic display there were audible cheers and applause making this one of the most memorable aspects of the regatta for many of the crowd. Sadly, nearly a week later, one of the Red Arrow's team crashed in Dorset. Our sympathies are with the family, friends and colleagues of the pilot involved.
The fair on Regatta Monday which extended along Pier Road and to the end of Whitby West Pier was, as always, a mixture of rides, stalls, thrills and spills. The crowds were milling around from dawn to dusk enjoying the 'fun of the fair'.
The conclusion of the 3 day Whitby Regatta was the explosive firework display on Monday evening on the East Pier. To the delight of the crowd they were treated to a breathtaking pyrotechnic event. This year's display was especially spellbinding and a fitting finale to the 171st Whitby Regatta, a festival on land, sea and air.