The grand finale of the Henley-on-Todd Regatta was the battle boat event. It was really fun to watch and hear. There were three battle boats: the Buccaneers, the Vikings and the Navy. All were armed with cannons that shot flour and confetti, high power water hoses, and water balloons. See also a videoclip of each (Buccaneers, Vikings, and Navy battle boats) as they entered the arena and parked in front of the Judges' Stand before the battle.
It had been a memorable day at the Henley-on-Todd Regatta, but now the sun was setting and people were leaving. The flags on Anzac Hill overlooking the Regatta were blowing gently in the breeze and the CD angel returned to her jewel sleeve.
Seabiscuit had a short but memorable career. Not many boats get to commemorate a fine gentleman named Jeff, be in the Henley-on-Todd Regatta, and sail along the Todd River in Alice Springs. Bob was in charge of decommissioning the small, beloved ship, and Zyg assisted.
The Henley-on-Todd Regatta was over. It was around 16:30. We went to the boatyard in the VIP area to pick up Seabiscuit for one last voyage back to her home port at the Desert Palms Resort (see a travelogue).
I don't know how the battle boats are judged but we found out later that the Buccaneers won. Actually it was three days later at the Barrow Creek Hotel when Zyg and I found out. Michael Romeo (the guy in the pictures with the shaved head, beard and orange shirt) runs the hotel in Barrow Creek and saw my Henley-on-Todd cap. He showed us his medal and their trophy.
This was definitely the highlight of the Henley-on-Todd Regatta. If you are going to watch any videoclips, the two of the battle boats "fighting" should be your choices. It was a miracle that they never ran into each other. The fans on the riverbank got some of the action too, since there was collateral damage from the water hoses and flour cannons.
The Anchor the Boat contests were tug-of-wars with the winner indicated by a boat connected to two ropes being pulled off the edge of a platform. The program indicated men's and women's events; however, we saw kids particpating and even men against women. In the latter contest, the women almost won when some big male judges helped them and one of the women flashed the men during the tug-of-war. It was difficult to get a picture of both sides of a tug-of-war from where I was sitting, but I did take a videoclip of one heat.
The Henley-on-Todd sand ski event used water skis. However, instead of one person on water, it had four people on sand. The crews of four were all ages. This event really took a lot of teamwork and even young teams could be quite good. Making the turn at the barrels was the hardest part. See also a videoclip of one of the heats.
Right after the BYOB races came the sand shoveling contests. These were individual events for men, women, and under 16 girls and boys. The men had a 44 gallon drum to fill, and all the rest 22 gallon drums. The men used long-handled flat blade shovels and the women smaller round point shovels. See also a videoclip.
After the National Anthem (see a videoclip), the Bring Your Own Boat (BYOB) preliminary heats were preceded by a review of the boats by the judges and spectators as they and their crews circled the arena area (see videoclips of Seabiscuit in BYOB Parade at Henley-on-Todd and More BYOB Parade at Henley-on-Todd). There were preliminary heats and a final race. I took a videoclip of the Seabiscuit heat rather than pictures (see Seabiscuit BYOB Heat at Henley-on-Todd). The Seabiscuit crew of four was Bob, Zyg, George and Steve. I assume that the crew was considered "mixed" because Bob wore a blue and white curly-hair wig. Fortunately the Royal Flying Doctors Service had a BYOB in another race, so there was plenty of medical help on-hand. Although they raced well, Seabiscuit did not make it out of her heat.
The Henley-on-Todd Parade starts at 10:30 AM by the hospital on Todd Street in Alice Springs and goes northeast through the Todd Mall to the riverbed north of the mall. We watched the parade from the south end of the Todd Mall. The Seabiscuit crew had to hold the boat to walk in the parade, so we had the marshmallow guns. Some kids around us wondered what they were, so we let them play with them. I took a videoclip (VT Seabiscuit in the Henley-on-Todd Parade) instead of pictures when the Seabiscuit passed us. See also two other videoclips of the parade in Todd Mall (Henley-on-Todd Parade Scenes & Sounds #1 and #2). That way you can hear how noisy it was too.
The Henley Royal Regatta is a rowing event held every year on the River Thames by the town of Henley-on-Thames, England. The Royal Regatta is sometimes referred to as the Henley Regatta, which was its original name before having Royal patronage. There is even a dress code for the Henley Royal Regatta. Of course the fun-loving Aussies had to have their own regatta, but the Henley-on-Todd Regatta is definitely not royal, and is no doubt way more fun.
The Henley-on-Todd Regatta is held each year on the Todd River in Alice Springs (2011 will be the 50th year) which is on the edge of the Simpson Desert. The catch is that the Todd River is normally almost totally dry, so the races are held in the sandy river bed! In fact, in 1993 there was too much water in the Todd River and the event had to be cancelled due to flooding! Instead of a royal sponsor, the three Rotary Clubs based in Alice Springs run the regatta entirely on a volunteer basis. There are plenty of food, drink and souvenir stalls. See a travelogue for a map and more pictures of the grounds. BTW, even though there is a sign that says "No Nude Bathing," there were a couple of flashers!
The crazy events include a parade through the Todd Mall, sand races in bottomless "bring your own boats," "rowing fours and eights," "oxford tubs," "bath tubs," and yachts. There are also sand-shoveling contests, tug-of-wars, sand ski races, and boogie board races. The real highlight though comes at the end with the Battle Boat Spectacular, where three battle boats, powered by four wheel drives, churn through the sand and fight it out with flour mortars, water balloons, and high powered water cannons. The parade starts at 10:30 AM and the races at 11:45. See also several other tips and videoclips.
By the next morning when Zyg and I got back, Deb, Rosie and Betty had added the plastic cover to Seabiscuit's frame. They also brought pictures of Jeff's friends to tape on the sides and pictures of him for flags. I think it was Jeff's sister that sent his bright green shorts for a banner. There was even a mustache on the front. By 09:30 Seabiscuit was finished and ready for the parade at 10:30.
The 2010 VT group had entered a bring your own boat (BYOB) in the Henley-on-Todd Regatta in memory of VT member, Seabiscuit (Jeff), who had been planning to attend but had unfortunately passed away in May. Bob had brought the PVC tubing, fittings and glue to make the frame. It was an ad hoc design done on the day before the race, but seemed to have turned out okay. That was probably because we got such good supervision from Deb and Betty.
Since we had leftover PVC tubing and fittings after building Seabiscuit's frame, I suggested that we make four marshmallow guns so that the crew could be properly armed. Who knows? There could be pirates. We had everything we needed except the end caps, but duct tape was a good substitute for those. See also a videoclip.