Dragon boat races set to return at Cookham Regatta

Adrian Williams

Adrian Williams


Majestic dragon boats are set to sail into view for the Cookham Regatta at Cookham Moor this September.

The Cookham Regatta is set to return on Saturday, September 3 – hoped to be even bigger than last year, when it was back for the first time after COVID.

Throughout the day there will be dragon boat racing – traditionally a folk ritual which dates back 2,500 years, originating in China.

Like the originators of dragon boat racing, organisers and rowers alike may also be hoping to appease the rain gods – although this time, to keep rain away, rather than to encourage it.

Cookham’s own regatta dates back many years into history, revived again in recent years.

For the race, there will be two dragon boats – and teams of nine (four either side and the coxswain) will take it turns to battle it out on the water.

Other boating activities on the day will include paddle boat trials with expert supervision and dingy demonstrations.

There will also be some events for landlubbers of all ages, including a dog show, bouncy castles, fair rides, a bungee trampoline, classic vehicle display, children’s activities, charity stalls and a silent auction.

The Bisham Concert Band will be providing entertainment and food stalls plus a bar will be available all day.

The event is organised jointly by the Rotary Clubs of Cookham Bridge and Marlow Thames to provide funds mainly for local charities and raise awareness for charities at home and overseas.

The lead charity this year will be the Thames Valley Adventure Playground – which provides an adventure space for children and adults with disabilities.

Weather dependent, organisers hope to draw 3,000 to 4,000 people. John Prout of the Marlow Thames Club said:

“We took 2020 out due to COVID and came back last year – we had about two to two-and-a-half thousand people. We’re hoping to have an even better year this year.

“People love the dragon boats, they’re extremely popular. What makes the Cookham Regatta special is it’s not serious like the Henley or Marlow ones – it’s not rowing clubs, it’s local businesses.

“It’s a family regatta, like a village fête by the river.”

The regatta will be on Saturday, September 3, 11am to 5.30pm. The organisers will be taking entries for the race up until August 31.

Keith Miller, regatta committee chairman, said: “The deadline for race entries is looming and we encourage teams to go to the website and register as soon as is possible.”

“Team entries will be accepted on a first come basis – so check out the options on the website and get your entry in as soon as you can.”

Full details can be found on www.cookhamregatta.org.uk

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