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Boating festivals

Milk Carton Derby
Where: Green Lake, Seattle, Washington State, USA
When: Early to Mid July
If you’ve got a few milk cartons lying around you might like to take part in this annual event just outside Seattle. All of the 100 plus vessels in the event are designed out of milk cartons and compete for prizes.

Henley-on-Todd Regatta

Where: Alice Springs, Northern Territory, Australia When: Mid to late August Despite being some 1500kms from water, the Rotary Club of Alice Springs has held a regatta on the sandy bed of the Todd River since 1962. The idea was to replicate something of the famous Henley-on-Thames race between the Cambridge and Oxford Universities. In dry central Australia however this has created a unique event in which participants race in bottomless tubs and yachts or paddle canoes with sand shovels.

La Regate des Baignoires (International Regatta of Bathtubs)
Where: Dinant, Belgium When: Mid August On the River Meuse in Dinant in summer participants take to their bathtubs for one of the world's most unusual regattas. The event is open to anyone with a raft that uses a bathtub in its construction. There are prizes for speed, originality and beauty so it's not just about winning, although certainly the teams get competitive and water fights usually ensue.

International Dragon Boat Festival
Where: San Francisco, California, USA
When: Late September
Over 100 dragon boat teams and some 3000 paddlers from across North America race this 500m and 300m course. It's the largest competitive festival of its kind in the USA and there are plenty of landlubber features as well including live dance and music, children's activities, food, arts and crafts. If you love dragon boating there are other events held in Montreal, Hong Kong and the annual world championships run by the International Dragon Boat Federation.

Boat Racing Festival
Where: Vientiane, Laos
When: October or November
This festival is held in conjunction with Ork Pansa marking the end of Buddhist Lent, a three month fast during the wet season. In the weeks prior to the races market stalls are set up along the Mekong River. On the evening of Ork Pansa there are candle lit processions around the city’s temples where people make offerings. Many also go to the river to float flowers or candles down the river. This is followed by a day of long boat racing, plenty of eating, singing and good cheer.

Bom Om Tuk festival
Where: Phom Penh or Siem Reap, Cambodia
When: Early November
This three-day festivity celebrates the end of the wet season when the Tonle Sap river reverses its current and flows away from the sea and into lake Tonle Sap near Siem Reap. The lake swells in size providing fish and as the shoreline shrinks after the monsoon rains there is provision of fertile land. The event draws people from every province and canoes are displayed and then raced during the festival.

Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race
Where: Sydney (New South Wales, Australia) and Hobart (Tasmania, Australia)
When: Starts December 26
The Sydney Hobart Yacht Race is a 630 nautical mile (1170km) race across the notorious Bass Strait, the lethal crossing between the mainland and Tasmania. The race starts in gorgeous Sydney Harbour on Boxing Day (December 26) and finishes in Hobart. It first began in 1945 and is now one of the top three offshore yacht races in the world.

America's Cup
Where: Varied locations
When: Varies
This regatta is the most prestigious in the sport of sailing. Its ornate silver trophy is also the oldest in international sport (crafted in 1848) and the event even predates the Olympics. The Cup attracts the world’s top sailors and yacht designers who compete for boat and sail design, fundraising and management skills. The actual racing is a series of matches between two yachts, one the current title holder and the other the winner of the challenger selection series.
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