Delay as popular cardboard boat regatta goes virtual in 2020

Bideford Rotary Club president Jacquie Willoughby with one of the model boats.

Bideford Rotary Club president Jacquie Willoughby with one of the model boats. - Credit: Contributed

Organisers of Bideford Water Festival have had to reschedule this year’s model boat regatta.

Bideford Rotary Club president Jacquie Willoughby with one of the model boats.

Bideford Rotary Club president Jacquie Willoughby with one of the model boats. - Credit: Contributed

The virtual model boat regatta, organised in place of the popular cardboard boat regatta, will now be streamed on social media on September 6 – a week later than planned.

Bideford Rotary Club was hoping to film the races in the weeks prior to August 30, but the heavy rain and poor conditions meant the filming, which will take place at a secret location, has been delayed.

Rotary club president Jacquie Willoughby said: “We’re not able to hold our usual Water Festival as understandably public gatherings aren’t allowed this year but we didn’t want Covid to spoil all the fun, so we invited entries of model boats and planned a virtual regatta.

“The model boats will be raced at a secret location without anyone being there. The idea was to film the races this week but with all this wet weather there’s too much water in the river!”

Scenes from Bideford Water Festival 2019. Picture: Graham Hobbs

Scenes from Bideford Water Festival 2019. Picture: Graham Hobbs - Credit: Graham Hobbs


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The cardboard boat regatta has proved to be a popular event, with huge crowds of spectators gathering to watch people race in boats they had built from cardboard,

When the event had to be cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, rotarians wanted to keep the charity fundraiser going in a different form and the main sponsor, cardboard box makers Atlas Packaging, still wanted to provide their support.

All funds raised will be split between the RNLI and local charities and organisations. To find out more, follow the Bideford Rotary Club on Facebook.

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