The Queen Once Made Us Break the “First Wednesday in August” Rule
Every townie knows when Regatta is: the first Wednesday of August. But this wasn’t the case in 1978, when the queen was coming to Newfoundland in July, and wanted to see the whole regatta shebang when she damn well pleased.
It’s a Truly Unique Civic Holiday, but Not Because of Its Activities
The Royal St. John’s Regatta is the only civic holiday in North America to be declared by a committee of people not affiliated with a government. AND it is the only civic holiday dependent on weather.
Starting a Team Is Easy but Finding a Coxswain Isn’t
Starting a team is simple: find 5 others who wanna row in the Regatta. There’s even an online bulletin for folks looking to form a team. But a team needs a “Coxswain” to be allowed to row in the races. What the hell is a Coxswain? Pretty badass term right? A Coxswain is a trained “steerman of a ship.” Basically the man or woman steering the boat and shouting orders at you like a military leader who expects more from you. They control the speed, steering, and motions of the boat. They’re not easy to find. Some people ask around docks, others consult the aforementioned bulletin board.
The St. John’s Regatta is “an Atypical Boat Race”
Instead of just racing the length of the pond, as in similar races worldwide, those racing in the Royal St. John’s Regatta must race to, then round a buoy and head back to the starting line which becomes the finish line. This is atypical, and, makes the race more grueling in length, and, adds a twist: the first crew reaching their buoy will be given right of way to round the buoy.
The Origin of “The Oldest Organized Sporting Event in North America”
It’s been happening for 2 years shy of 200 years. Rowing matches among ship crews gave rise to the Royal St. John’s Regatta, so, it was an unofficial thing even longer than 200 years back.