The Inflatable Regatta started with a dozen mates spending an afternoon floating down the Yarra on inflatable boats, just for the hell of it. The following summer they made a public Facebook event to see who else would like to join them. Turned out 15,000 people did. So in 2016 the Inflatable Regatta was born.
This year, though, the event has run aground onto an organisational sandbar of sorts. Seoul Express – the ship carrying the regatta’s inflatable boats – was held up by stormy weather in the Philippine Sea on its way from China, forcing organisers to delay the event by a fortnight. This kicked off a chain of misfortune.
“After the bad weather delay, the boat we had organised to be an express to Melbourne then changed its shipping itinerary, taking it to Sydney first, through customs for a few days, then to Melbourne – scheduled to arrive after the event was to take place,” says organiser Courtney Carthy.
“Tickets sold out the day before we found out about the boats. We then had to let 2500 people know personally about the change and make sure no one slipped through the cracks.”
Aside from the date change, the event will run as planned. Starting at Richmond and ending in Hawthorn, rowers can expect a two-kilometre paddle along the river and food, drinks and live entertainment at the finish line.
There will be stages set up on jetties at different points along the journey; eight different Melbourne acts will perform throughout the day.
The Inflatable Regatta takes place Saturday February 24. Snap up the remaining tickets before they sell out.
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