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Salcombe Town Regatta, Saturday 3rd to Saturday 10th August

Salcombe Town Regatta week is jam packed with activities on land and sea for all ages, from sailing and swimming to fireworks and fancy dress. The name “Regatta” means a series of boat races (either rowing or sailing) and this particular regatta is now in its 166th year! The team at Coast & Country Cottages love the Salcombe Regatta, and lucky for us, our offices are situated on Island Street, right at the heart of the the regatta festivities. Do pop up and say hello if you’re passing by!

Debbie Hainey, the Salcombe Town Regatta chairman, says that all involved try and keep the events true to the original spirit, with lots going on for all ages and interests. If you’re not one for the water, indulge in the Salcombe Dairy ice-cream contest, have a go at the popular sandcastle contest or an art competition.

For more information about family-friendly events that are taking place on land and sea, receive updates on the Salcombe Town Regatta via its Facebook page here.

Salcombe Town Regatta

What’s on during the Salcombe Regatta

Here’s a look at some of the events taking place throughout the week:

Saturday 3rd August

Bang & Go Back Race
Harbour Swim Registration
Pub Quiz Trail

Sunday 4th August

Fun Run
Parachuting Teddies
Beer Festival
Island Street Party
George’s Marvellous Medicine Slime Making
Harbour Swim Registration
Live Music – All Jazzed Up
Family Water Treasure Hunt
Pavement Drawing
Sailing Welcome Reception
Church Service

Monday 5th August

Art Exhibition & Stalls
Land Treasure Hunt
Mud Race
Beach Yoga
Church Fete
Fancy Dress Parade
Children’s Disco
Live Music: Tom Baker

Tuesday 6th August

Group Crab Catching
Greasy Pole
Salcombe Boat Show
Invitational Raft Race
Public Raft Race
Sandcastle Competition
Live Music
Salcombe Lifeboat 150 years film

Wednesday 7th August

Crab Catching
Retail Stalls
Greasy Pole
Donkey Rides & Bouncy Castle
Elfic’s Comedy Juggling Show
Children’s Sports
Mark The Magician
Teddy Bears Picnic
Family Fun Day
Beach Yoga
The US Navy In Salcombe Film
Live Music
Emergency Services Display

Thursday 8th August

Cycling Sportive
Retail Stalls
Crab Catching
Ice Cream Eating Competition
Live Music: Jolly Roger
Hog Roast
Live Music: All Jazzed Up
Morris Dancing
Estuary of Light

Friday 9th August

Harbour Swim
Regatta Food Festival
Swimming Gala
Water Carnival
Sailing Prize Giving

Saturday 10th August

Children’s Rowing
Family Sports Day
Regatta Prize Giving
Gara Rock Regatta Closing Party

For further information on events and what’s on during the Salcombe Regatta, visit their website here. Alternatively, programmes with full information are on sale now from Bonningtons, Cranch’s Sweetshop, Salcombe Information Centre, West End Garage, Spar or Kingsbridge Tourist Information.

Highlights of the Salcombe Town Regatta

My earliest memories of the Salcombe Town Regatta involve the harbour swim, where hundreds of people (around 600) start from Smalls Cove and swim to Salcombe Harbour Hotel. The harbour swim and the fun run are held early in the morning so the harbour authority can block off the traffic on land and sea.

Get involved in the harbour swim! All you will need to do is sign a pre-registration form and turn up for a splash.

The sandcastle competition on South Sands beach is always well attended, with over 100 castles and sculptures being crafted by children and adults at low tide boasting a fantastic atmosphere. Some other events that occur during low tide are mud races and crab catching.

A large crowd always gather to cheer the children on mid-week on Whitestrand for the greasy pole competition, whereby a telegraph pole is put over the water for kids to battle with pillows to stay on.

Salcombe Town Regatta

The week culminates with an exciting firework display on the Thursday evening, which has a long-standing tradition as being the Salcombe Town Regatta’s pinnacle. On the Friday, there is a popular Water Carnival where entrants are invited to decorate their boat and wear fancy dress!

For some of the most unspoilt views of the race, watch from The Ferry Inn or from Cliff House Gardens.

There’s also the prize giving and torch-lit lantern procession that take place. This includes a number of different types of boats on the estuary with lit lanterns to create an astounding display – everyone enjoys seeing the twinkling lights slowly disappear into the night.

Salcombe Town Regatta

Going to the Salcombe Town Regatta with small children

Local mother of two, Samantha Bidwell shares some of her fondest memories of the events at the Salcombe Town Regatta she attends each year.

The family festival has lots of children’s land and water treasure hunts. “The ‘spot the bloomer’ is popular with the kids, involving a quest for odd objects in shop windows to find and put answers in the programme. (Cranches is usually one of the most challenging.)”

What’s more, the regatta enjoys numerous activities throughout the week that are focused on children such as the Family Fun Day at the Winking Prawn, donkey rides, teddy bears picnic, sandcastle competition, crab catching and much, much more!

Sailing in the Salcombe Town Regatta

We asked East Portlemouth-raised sailor and author Scratch Hitchen to tell us more about the Salcombe Town Regatta. If you’d like to learn more about the history of Salcombe and how it’s changed, Scratch, who had sailed around the world five times by the age of 19, has is the author of ‘Better Born Lucky than Rich’.

Have a look at our blog where we lucky enough to interviewed Scratch – The Salcombe Yawl: Q&A with Scratch Hitchen

Salcombe Town Regatta

The timings of the Salcombe Town Regatta events vary according to the tide times with the majority of sailing taking place in the mornings. Special events, such as the crabbers’ race, take place at high tide in the evening which is quite a sight to behold!

On the sailing side there are two different types of races. The new designs of sailing boats are made of fibre-glass making them quicker than the traditional Salcombe yawls, so they normally race separately. It’s a bit like trying to race classic cars with racing cars.

You can identify the newer makes, as they are individually numbered higher than Y14. Anything lower is the older type of yacht. To see some of the oldest photographs of the races pop into Explosures on Fore Street.

Salcombe Town Regatta

Getting to the Salcombe Regatta

We would suggest using the Park and Ride in Salcombe which operates every day throughout the summer and late on firework night. You can travel in by boat from Kingsbridge and the surrounding ports at any time. Events are popular, so it is always worth arriving slightly earlier to ensure you can take part.

Don’t miss out on your chance to be right at the centre of one of this fun filled regattas in the country this summer. There’s still time to book your  Salcombe holiday today and start looking forward to a break filled with great music, delicious food, sailing, rowing and much, much more.