PORTADOWN Boat Club’s annual showpiece will pass the 100-race mark tomorrow (Saturday) along the River Bann.
Weather may dictate the strength of public support for the weekend regatta but clubs from across Ireland have confirmed entry into the popular fixture.
Officials have painstakingly mapped out a race programme featuring no fewer than 110 contests, with the first crews scheduled to hit the water around 9 o’clock in the morning.
Racing will continue up to 6 o’clock at a race pace of one every four minutes.
“It is the biggest day in our club calendar so to have such wonderful support from clubs across the country really means a lot,” said Portadown Boat Club’s Kevin McDonagh. “We expect the in-form rowers from Queen’s University to travel to Portadown, along with crews representing clubs such as Bann and Carrick-on-Shannon.
“We have formed strong links with numerous clubs over the years and can always count on loyal backing when it comes to the regatta.
“Our clubhouse redevelopment work forced us to change the regatta date last year and, as a result, the race programme dropped to 86.
“However, normal service has been resumed and we welcome those clubs who may have missed out last year on a look at our revamped clubhouse.
“The clubhouse will be open on the day to members of the public and we would encourage anyone interested in the sport or our facilities to come down and have a look.
“As well as the fun on the water, we have a few games planned inside the gym, for example, enthusiasts will be competing to clock up the best time across 100 metres on the rowing machines.
“We will also welcome Portadown College into the regatta for the first time and certainly the school’s decision to enter into competitive racing provides another step forward in the development of the sport.
“Club members have been working hard in preparation for the weekend but, as always, the weather can play a big part.
“We remain extremely grateful to our loyal sponsors for such continued backing and would love to see members of the public turn out in force for what promises to be a wonderful day of sport.”