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Dartmouth Regatta crouds refuse to let rain dampen spirits

2014 Port of Dartmouth Royal Regatta was dedicated to stalwart committee member Pam Moore, who died unexpectedly a few days before. At last Wednesday night’s opening ceremony, regatta chairman Jonathan Hawkins spoke about the ‘illustrious history’ of Dartmouth and Kingswear, including the Crusades, the Armada, the Mayflower, the Pilgrim Fathers and more recently D-Day. ‘Dartmouth is the home of the Royal Navy with the Britannia Royal Naval College and, with our unique environment, there is no better place to celebrate the sea and put on a royal regatta,’ he said. He described the regatta as being like a ‘giant jigsaw’ made up of many events that cost more than £200,000 to stage, but which attracted more than 100,000 visitors. It all started with the rowing, and this year’s regatta saw a record number of entries in the local classes, while the sailing is one of the country’s largest competitions on the water and the air displays rival any in Britain. Other attractions included races, music, entertainment and the fun fair. Bad weather affected some events, but visitors continued to pour into town, anxious to be a part of the 170th regatta. In fact, hundreds of people had to be turned away at one point, as waterlogged fields made car parking impossible. Mr Hawkins said the rain would damage the finances, but did little to dampen the enjoyment and enthusiasm of those who took part and supported the regatta. The weather problems meant the Red Arrows could only do a limited display last Friday, though. But spectators were delighted to see the famous aerobatic team in the port after it had to cancel Torquay’s display on Wednesday. Earlier in the day the Blades display team had to cancel its Dartmouth show for the second time in the week, but the RAF Typhoon jet did fly for the event. Air displays on Saturday featured the Royal Navy Raiders parachute team, a Chinook helicopter that wowed the crowd with twists and turns and a Royal Navy Sea King helicopter on exercise with the RNLI. The Battle of Britain memorial flight saw Spitfires take to the air. Unfortunately, neither of the Lancaster bombers were able to fly. The Canadian Lancaster had to pull out after it suffered an oil leak.

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