Bathtub battle at Bowentown

Bowentown Boating and Sport Fishing Club commodore John Fagan, front, and Marc Lane will be racing in the club’s annual Bath Tub Regatta on February 24. Photo: Bruce Barnard.

If you’ve got an old bathtub lying around and fancy giving it a new lease of life, the Bowentown Boating and Sport Fishing Club is holding its annual Bathtub Regatta on Saturday, February 24.

While bathtub racing once involved simply fitting an outrigger or similar, tubs are now built into other water craft and fitted with 8hp or 15hp engines for some serious racing.

“The boats have to be a certain width and length with your bathtub inside that,” says commodore John Fagan, who will be racing his own tub on the day. “It’s most exciting and great viewing from the club.”

The regatta will feature five races, including a 15hp open class race, with the course from the boat club, out to and around the markers, and back to the boat club.

John says the event usually attracts 12-20 tubs, including some from clubs in Auckland, Paihia and Whangamata.

The event gets underway at 9am on Saturday, February 24, with check in and scrutineering from 9-10.45am, practice from 10.45-11.15am and racing starting at midday.

The club’s restaurant and bar will be open throughout the afternoon and there will be a children’s lolly scramble. For more information phone the club on: 07 863 5006.

Bathtub racing started in Nanaimo, British Columbia in 1967 with the mayor of the time, Frank Ney, avidly participating dressed as a pirate.

Bowentown held the first New Zealand bath tub races, and they have since been held in Paihia, upper Waitemata and Whitianga.