Darwin’s Beercan Regatta is undoubtedly the ‘event of the season’. The regatta is a fun day with thousands of people flocking to Mindil Beach for a day of activities, creative competitions and events for all ages!
Preparation for the regatta starts weeks before race day with a very unique BIY (Build It Yourself) boat building competition. The brief is to create a floatable structure using recycled beer and softdrink cans, softdrink bottles and milk containers (with a few specific rules of course).
Competitors plan, collect components (beg, steal or borrow) and conspire in secrecy to build the craft of their dreams!
An impossible task you may think?
you may be right!
The Beercan Regatta competitions are entered to with some degree of seriousness. There’s a number of the events carrying lucrative prizes and ‘chest pounding’ kudos for the win!
A full day of friendly competitions and a number of key events, including the Softdrinkcan Boat Race and the Beercan Boat Race in the lead up to the event of the day — the Battle of Mindil.
The Battle of Mindil is the boat race where anything goes; flour bombs, brightly coloured marine flares, powerful water canons and a range of other tactical strategies employed. Sailors are armed but not particularly dangerous!
The objective is to locate the booty. The challenge is for the opposing ‘boats’ to ‘Pirate’ the booty by whatever means they can, and surrender it to the officials on the beach!
On the Beach
So the big question is “what happens if your boat don’t float”? Always have Plan B. There are boat races (Henley style) for the non floating flotilla. The Henley on Mindil is a keenly contested race!
There are Ironmen (and women) competitions, Tug-of-War Competitions, Kids Sand Castle competitions and lots of novelty beach races throughout the day including the popular Ladies & Mens Thong Throwing Competition (thongs for your feet, that is).
The first Beercan Regatta was run in June 1974, proposed as a solution to the littering issues that existed in Darwin at the time. Rumour has it that if you had lined up all the littered beer cans end to end, they would span from Darwin to Katherine (over 320 kilometres)!
Today this regatta has become one of the largest fundraising events for Darwin charities drawing thousands to the beach to participate in the events.
The Beercan Regatta is coordinated by the Lions Clubs of Darwin! These guys have a great sense of humour and impose the following set of rules!
The Ten Can-mandments
- Thou shalt enter the event in the right spirit.
- Thou shalt build the craft of cans.
- The craft shall float by cans alone.
- Thou shalt not drown.
- Thou shalt not take the name of the craft in vain: any craft bearing signs or lettering that may be offensive will be barred.
- Thou shalt not drift from the straight and narrow and end up at Mandorah.
- Thou shalt not protest too much.
- Thou shall honor thy Committee.
- Thou shalt not commit adultery – nothing really to do with the Regatta, but it gives us an air of responsibility and respect.
- Thou shalt go back and read the first can-mandment again.
I love the Beercan Regatta! It’s a fun day for everyone! Kids (and big kids) playing on the sandy beach! Families out for a day in the sunshine, activities for everyone to join in and Mindil markets open all day for food and drinks!
It’s so nice to spend a Sunday on the beach with the sand under your feet surrounded by thousands of people enjoying the fun!
The sun is fierce in the Top End even in the winter months, remember to Slip, Slop and Slap! Slip on a shirt, slop on sunscreen and slap on a hat. Protect yourself from the sun!