The Beer Can Regatta
Australia Travel Blog› entry 3 of 26 › view all entries
Darwin - the capital of the Top End (Northern Territory).
I experienced my first Beer Can Regatta when I was 7 years old. My family had recently moved to Darwin from one of the southern capital and I had never seen anything like this before. Over the years I have enjoyed the fun and games of many more Beer Can Regatta’s, always from a safe vantage point on the beach.
The Beer Can Regatta is very much a family day out for locals and is rapidly becoming a spectacular for the tourists to Darwin who line Mindil Beach cheering as the home made boats of cans wallow, flounder and sink. The fleet includes all kinds of boats; sometimes with fire hoses and other top-secret weaponry.
The Darwin Beer Can Regatta started as an unusual by-product of the devastation caused to Darwin by “Cyclone Tracy” in 1974.
Owing to the considerable damage caused by the cyclone, large quantities of materials and manpower from interstate were brought to Darwin to assist in the rebuilding of the city.
As many of the rebuilding work force personnel were from the southern states, and were not used to the humidity, the consumption of canned beer increased dramatically.
This resulted in an abundance of empty beer cans littering the many work sites around Darwin, and as there were no recycling programmes in effect at the time, the beer cans became a litter problem.
A Darwin citizen, Lutz Frankenfeld, came up with the suggestion that Darwin should hold a boat race, with all the boats fabricated out of beer cans. The theory was that this would give the local population and workers alike, an incentive to clear up some of the empty beer cans, and at the same time have a day of fun.
The inaugural beer can regatta in 1975 was an instant success, and it was decided that it would be an annual event.
Over the years it has developed into a major event on the Darwin social calendar. Organised by various groups over the years it went from success to success, with boat entries ranging in numbers from 15 to 30, and in size from 1 metre to 12 metres.
For anyone interested in making their own Can Boat, here is a link to the Canstructors guide to Canstructing your own Can boat. http://www.beercanregatta.org.au/rules.html