BATHTUBS were back in Littlehampton harbour on Sunday, as a small but enthusiastic fleet of crews raced on the River Arun for the first time in many years.
Organiser Martin Harvey switched the event to Littlehampton after a rift with Arundel Festival, which organised its own race on the river there in 2013 and again this year (see page 16), ending his long record of staging the contest in Arundel.
Just seven tubs set off from the slipway next to the Look & Sea Centre, but Martin hopes the race will grow from its small beginnings. Back in the 1980s, when crews paddled from Arundel down to Littlehampton, more than 100 teams regularly took part.
The weird-looking Bam-a-Lam-a-Ding-Dong Trolls, Mark Christensen and Chris Headon, of BAM Nuttall civil engineers, were first across the finishing line on the up-and-back course, turning beyond the A259 road bridge.
“We like the new venue – it’s good for the spectators,” said Mark.
“We are both boaters and are down the harbour all the time, so when we heard it was going to be here, we had to take part,” said Chris. “It’s a killer on your arms and legs and shoulders, but the crowd gives you a real lift.”
Littlehampton couple Nikki and Gary Cooke took second place, dressed as native American Indians and with a tepee, totem pole and camp fire on their tub. They also won the best dressed tub/crew award.
Hula 1, crewed by Rupert and Charlotte Coler, Stuart Sellors and Lyndsey Burton, was the first over-size tub and won the best design award.
The first all-woman crew was Angela and Jodie Brewer on board ‘122 Days to Go’ (to Christmas) and the wooden spoon went to The Cowboys (as in builders), Nigel Cooke and Sarah Watson.
“We would have liked more entries, but the teams taking part were very enthusiastic, which made up for not having so many, and the weather was great,” said Martin.
An estimated £300 was raised for Chestnut Tree House children’s hospice.