Hello rafters!

Great Waterside Raft Race Sunday 26th August 2018

First Race 11.00am

Hythe Marina, near Southampton

Raft Race Cancelled!

After all the good weather this year, we had the worst day of summer on 26th August. High winds and driving rain! A decision was reluctantly made, on the grounds of safety, that the raft race could not go ahead. So for the first time in 32 years, the race day had to be cancelled. Apologies are extended to everyone disappointed by this decision.

The following was the notice put out on all local social media to explain the decision by the Publicity Officer Dan Poole

“The Hythe & Calshot RNLI fundraisers, together with the crew from Calshot Lifeboat Station, have been overwhelmed with the outpouring of support and understanding following the sad cancellation of this year’s Raft Race on Bank Holiday Sunday.

The difficult decision to cancel was taken on the Friday by our Chairman in communication with the Calshot Lifeboat Operations Manager, once Sunday’s stormy weather had been issued by the Met Office.

The safety of volunteers, spectators and participants, both on land and sea, had to be carefully considered and sufficient time allowed to communicate the cancelled message as widely as possible. The power of social media was extremely helpful in this respect and we thank all those that shared our post.

Regrettably, we will not be able to reschedule this year but plans are already afoot for next year’s Great Waterside Raft Race, which will be held on SUNDAY 14TH JULY.

Many local businesses make a donation for their details to be included in our advertising programme or to sponsor a race. 3/4 of this material had already been widely distributed to local outlets, camp sites, and personally handed out to people on Calshot Beach watching the Red Arrows and Cowes Fireworks. If any local business now wishes to be refunded, this can be arranged by contacting our Secretary, Colin Thompson, via e-mail: fidowatson7a@gmail.com. We will, of course, be refunding the entry fees received from participating teams.

Lastly, as previously mentioned, we are extremely grateful for all the good wishes from the many people that have been in contact. As the Raft Race is by far the biggest fundraiser our small team of volunteers organises each year, we are now regrettably expecting to be heavily down on the total funds we would normally achieve. As some of you have very kindly offered to give to the local Calshot Branch, you may do so by donating at any of the RNLI boxes locally or by dropping your donation in to The Herald office in Hythe. Alternatively you may donate online via the national RNLI website: https://rnli.org/support-us/give-money/donate.

A HUGE thank you once more for your ongoing support, understanding and positive comments.”

This was the Great Waterside Raft Race 32nd year and is run to raise money for the RNLI. Last year it has raised just under £8,000. It is one of the few raft races that are held on the sea, which adds an element of excitement not found on river races. The course is set out between Hythe Marina and Hythe Pier and is always held between the 2 high tides unique to the Solent area.

This year there would have been 6 races, starting with the Decorated Rafts Next the Formula 1 Race, a longer course just for fast racing rafts. This is followed by the popular Ladies Race. then the hotly contested Pub Race, with other teams trying to take the ‘Handpump’ trophy away from Ebeneezer’s who have won this trophy from its introduction. Fifth is the Junior Race for 17′s and under. Last year this was well attended with over 40 children enjoying paddling a raft.

The final exciting race of the day is the big event, the Handicap Race, a race for all rafts, which has a staggered start so any raft could win.

A Safety rib for the day was to be provided by Aquawaves (www.aquawaves.com) a local company that provides boat training, charter and maintenance. Both ribs from the local Calshot Station would also be on hand to provide further assistance unless they are called away to a ‘shout’

Medals and trophies are presented to the race winners, plus trophies for ‘Best Presented,’ and ‘Most Ingenious’ rafts, plus ‘Best Overall Effort’.  Please see the results page for the list of last years winners

The day is aimed at being a fun day out, to be enjoyed by spectators as well as participants.  There are side stalls and fun fair, drinks and BBQ provided so contestants and visitors can enjoy some refreshments before and during the races.

The Entry Forms etc.  for anyone wishing to enter a raft, plus rules for construction and teams, safety forms, poster, team sign-up sheets and most important – the sponsorship form can be downloaded from the Entry Forms menu.

Don’t forget, this event is to raise money for the RNLI, every bit of sponsorship helps!

Many thanks to Hythe Marina Village for supporting the RNLI

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