Melbourne's 'flotilla of fun' a sellout as 1800 set to float down Yarra
A thousand blow-up boats will float down the Yarra River in Hawthorn on Saturday after tickets to the second Inflatable Regatta sold out this week.
Founder Courtney Carthy said the finishing touches are being added - lifejackets counted, marquees checked, pontoons dragged up the river - for Inflatable Regatta 2017, supported by Melbourne Water. It’s believed to be the biggest inflatable boating event in the Southern Hemisphere.
He said it was hard to believe the Regatta, which began in 2008 with a few friends floating down the Yarra, had turned into a mass celebration of Melbourne’s iconic river.
“This year we’ll have a longer course, double the boats and triple the people compared to last year,” said Carthy.
“With the generous support of Melbourne Water, the Inflatable Regatta is all about giving Melburnians an inexpensive way to experience the Yarra from the centre of the river.”
Melbourne Water Acting General Manager Waterways and Land, Tim Wood, said Melbourne’s waterways are vital to its status as one of the world’s most liveable cities.
“Melburnians love riding, jogging and rowing along the Yarra, and Melbourne Water is proud to partner with Inflatable Regatta to help Melburnians get up close and personal with our iconic river in a whole new way.”
“Events like this not only provide a great community day out but also help raise awareness of the role we all have to play in protecting our waterways and contributing to a healthy environment,” he said.
“Clean, healthy waterways that we can all enjoy are a huge part of what makes a city liveable. Over 90 million visits are made to our rivers and creeks every year – they’re an important part of our city and a source of recreation for so many people.”
The boats will take off throughout the day, launching from Yarra Bank Reserve in Hawthorn and ending at Scotsburn Street Reserve, where refreshments and food trucks will greet the finishers.
And this year, a floating stage has been deployed in partnership with online music gig platform Parlour, with music acts such as Phia and Eastward performing for participants.
Carthy said that even if they weren’t taking part, Melburnians could still watch the spectacle from the west side of the Yarra River on the Capital City Trail running / cycling track. Best spots are from Bridge Rd heading south down to Burnley.
“Come down on Saturday. It’s going to be quite a sight,” he said.
Boats start launching from 9am and continue throughout the day.