If you knew exactly where Alice Springs was, you would be wondering just why there is a boating regatta in the middle of the desert. If the main ingredient for a boating regatta is water so that boats can navigate and steer, then this river doesn’t provide any of that. Because of the lack of water it’s more appropriate to have wheels and legs to get you across the line. This dry river is more suited to racing camels, rather than boat races.The race called the Henley on Todd is staged in the dry river bed of the Todd River in Alice Springs. The strangest thing about this regatta is that when there is water in the river the race cannot be staged.
The Henley on Todd assembles all the finest bottomless boats that you can imagine. The design criteria? The skies the limit. Just get your crew together, and give them incentive to get across the finish line first. Usually a winners check that ensures a stomach full of booze for these fun loving race goers is incentive enough for the fatest race in a bottomless boat they have ever raced.
So what makes for a standard boat. A common material is a boat made of old beer cans or bath tubs
Alice Springs, in the arid Centre, is the scene for the yearly Henley-on-Todd Regatta, where “boatraces” are held with bottomless boats, held up by the contestants who have to run through the dry riverbed. There are crazy bathtub races too and whole naval battles by, among others, “Vikings” and “Pirates” crewing battle boats on truck’s chassis, bristling with mortars and high pressure coloured water cannons hurling flour bombs at their opponents.
Being held in mid August, which is close to spring for”the Alice”, and being in the middle of the desert it can be either a hot or a cold day. If it is a hot day, it’s always good to get cooled down with water canon. Temperatures can vary at this time of year from 15°C to 35 °C. If it’s cold steer clear. To view more of this article from OZ Outback click here
If you think the idea of having a regatta on dry land the person who started the race, Reg Smith a local based his idea on the famous boating regatta the Henley-on-Thames in England. Tis river actually has water, but some ideas had to be changed to accomodate for the near permanent lack of water.