Whitby Regatta returns after being cancelled for the first time since Second World War due to Covid-19 pandemic

The historical Whitby Regatta has returned after the Covid pandemic caused last year’s event to be cancelled for only the first time since World War Two.

By Rob Waugh
Sunday, 22nd August 2021, 1:36 pm
Updated Sunday, 22nd August 2021, 1:38 pm
Whitby Regatta was cancelled last year due to the pandemic
Whitby Regatta was cancelled last year due to the pandemic

The Regatta, which features yacht and rowing races, a parade, fireworks display and other free entertainment, has been held in the town since 1847.

A delay to lockdown measures being eased meant the event had to be scaled back but many of the traditional features remained.

Chairman Ivor Greer said: “I think it’s gone very, very well. Obviously it’s been scaled down but we are completely happy with everything that’s taken place. People are still a little bit sceptical because of Covid but that hasn’t deterred people from coming to the event and trying to get back to a bit of normality.”

Around 15,000 people attended the event this year

Mr Greer estimated between 10,000 and 15,000 people had attended, down from the typical 20,000 visitors over a usual regatta weekend.

The event has included rowing races between Whitby’s Friendship and Fishermen’s crews, as well as Scarborough.

The West Cliff area hosted stalls, Doctor Phantasma’s show of circus-type acts, Capri Club cars, Japanese bikes, plus vintage cars and tractors.

A motorcycle gymkhana took place on the beach and there is also a fair from 10am today down Pier Road and along part of the west pier.

The regatta will conclude with a spectacular fireworks display at 9.45pm on Monday (Aug 23).

Mr Greer said this year’s regatta will be self-funded after the economic impact of the pandemic. “We didn’t think it was fair going round with a begging bowl to businesses after the past year but they can still help if they wish.”

The event is an important part of Whitby’s heritage, being one of the last two surviving Victorian sea regattas that still take place on the north-east coast.

The Regatta began with local fishermen racing each other in small cobble boats before yachting was introduced.

Competitive rowing was added to the programme in 1872, with many of the original clubs from Whitby and Scarborough still participating today.