Darwin Beer Can Regatta

Never seen a ship made out of tin cans? Imagine racing boats are racing on a beach. Well, the view can be seen in the show titled Darwin Beer Can Regatta held at Mindil Beach, Darwin.

The Darwin Beer Can Regatta is an event which has been held annually since 1974 in Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia at Mindil Beach. Participants create boats using empty beer cans, soft drink (soda) cans, soft drink bottle and milk cartons. The vessels are not tested for seaworthiness, prior to water events, and those that fall apart are part of the day's entertainment. A great many sundry events go along with the regatta, including concerts, a thong-throwing contest and the "Henley-on-Mindil" competition (named after the Henley-on-Todd Regatta), where participants run their "boats" around like Flintstones cars.

Typical more or less floating construction used in the regatta, now a piece of the collection at the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney.

The first Beer Can Regatta was held on 16 June 1974, at Vestey's Beach. This is contrary to popular belief that the regatta started in the aftermath of Cyclone Tracy. Cycclone Tracy actually hit Darwin on Christmas Eve 1974, about 6 months after the regatta.

The 1st Beer Can Regatta was the brainchild of Lutz Frankenfeld and Paul Rice-Chapman, both of whom were members of the Darwin Regional Tourism Promotion Association. At the time, Paul (working at local newspaper "The NT News") had a deal with Swan Breweries to stage a water festival of some sort, and was developing the idea of building rafts out of empty beer cans. Lutz took this idea a step further and added an outboard motor to the vessel, and things grew from there.

The Beer Can Regatta is now managed by the Darwin Lions Beer Can Regatta Association Inc, which is essentially a partnership of the three Lions Clubs of the Darwin region, to 1/ promote tourism in the Northern Territory, 2/ raise funds for charitable purposes, and 3/ promote Lionism.

The Darwin Beer Can Regatta is now known as the Darwin Lions Beer Can Regatta.

The Darwin Lions Beer Can Regatta has been held at Vestey's Beach and Mindil Beach since 1974, on the following dates.


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