Strewth Mate!

It’s the Beercan Regatta

Just like those London buses you wait for one Aussie festival and two come along in quick succession and this one is no less of a belter. You’ve got to love the Australians; tucked away down there left up to their own devices they have the most brilliant solutions to modern day problems. Due to the country’s drink issues there are a lot of empty aluminium cans. The Aussies saw this situation, took on board the enormity of the problem and promptly decided to make boats out of them.

When Is It?

Yep, eschewing the rest of the world’s obsession with recycling bins in car parks our cousins down under have turned rubbish into a sport and it’s a winner. The Darwin Beercan Regatta takes place in July at Mindil Beach, Darwin and anyone who fancies turning their drinking habit into something a little more positive can register on the day and pay their registration fee of a gold coin donation.

The History

The event is run by the Darwin Lions Club, which is part of a worldwide organisation that has around 1.4 million members and seems to be a cross between the Masons and your local Rotary Club, however, all the money raised goes to local charity and everyone has a hoot in the process. It started out in 1974 as apparently a by product of the devastation caused by Cyclone Tracy as workers brought in to rebuild the area got through quite a lot of tinnies. On the other hand many disagree and believe it began life 5 months before the hurricane…more lager anyone?

The Categories

There are quite a few categories to get involved with from The Best Beercan Boat, The Best Soft Drink Boat and The Best Novelty Boat, kayak races, kids races an Iron Man Challenge and it goes without saying The Best Novelty Hat. Then it’s on to the Blue Ribbon events; The Boat Challenge and The Battle of Mindil. The former is a 4 man rowing race event and the latter requires teams to use their boat to find an object under the water whilst being bombarded by flour bombs and water cannons.

The Rules

There’s a guide to building a beercan boat on their website but as a rough estimate you should be looking at around 1500 cans and your craft will be assessed by the committee to ensure it reaches safety standards and all crew have to wear life jackets. Aussies have had some defining moments in history: Gallipoli, Bouncer’s wedding ceremony and Harold Bishop returning from the dead, and the Beercan Regatta stands proudly amongst them. That and the thong throwing competition.