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Regatta team gears up for 2013 centenary celebration

By Herald Express  |  Posted: September 08, 2012

  • AHOY THERE: 'Captain' Mark Jenkins of The Hotel takes part in the Torquay rowing regatta

  • HIGH FLIERS: Red Arrows at Torquay Regatta Joe Widdecombe

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BEFORE this year's 199th Torbay Royal Regatta was even over, organiser Debbie Selley was already making plans for next year's bumper 200th anniversary.

The bi-centenary celebrations in 2013 will run from May to September.

This year's regatta was marked by the return of the Red Arrows which had not flown over Tor Bay since 2009, a comedy turn in a rowing event by the star of TV's The Hotel and huge crowds despite the changeable weather.

Regatta secretary Debbie Selley, who will be organising the event for the 25th time next year, said: "Torbay is believed to be the first royal regatta to reach its bi-centenary."

The first regatta was held in August 1813 after three local men decided they wanted to get together and have a race.

Queen Victoria became its patron in 1839, but she had intimated her willingness to be the patroness six years before, when she was still a princess.

This year's on-off weather caused the cancellation of the rowing regatta and the one-day postponement of the fireworks.

Mrs Selley thanked the public on behalf of the organising committee.

She said: "We were absolutely amazed at how members of the public put up with the fact the fireworks were put back one day, and still turned out in force.

"And on the day of the Red Arrows again they had to tolerate terrible weather earlier in the day and we wanted to thank them for still pitching up and waiting to see if the Red Arrows were able to fly.

"It was very nerve-wracking for the committee."

The West of England Rowing Championships were cancelled but the first Pubs and Clubs Regatta for non-rowers went ahead despite 'challenging' conditions.

A team from The Grosvenor were accompanied by a film crew from Channel 4, back in the Bay filming the fly-on-the-wall documentary The Hotel.

The Hotel team dressed as sailors and a lifeguard, and were led by 'Captain' Mark Jenkins.

After some trouble getting to the start, and with the safety boat having to rescue Captain Mark's hat from the water, a crowd of around 100 people cheered them to the finish at Haldon Pier and a place in the final.

A team from Dartmouth rugby club coached by Tieneka Drew beat The Hotel in the final by three boat lengths.

Rowing club Captain Richard Cudmore introduced current Miss Torbay, his daughter Katie Cudmore and her ladies-in-waiting who presented the winners from Dartmouth Rugby Club with their gold medals and all competitors with their silver medals.

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