Experiencing My First Beer Can Regatta

I can hear you ask yourself, what`s a beer can regatta? The Darwin Lions Beer Can Regatta is a charity event where boats race each other, the special thing about it is, that the boats are made out of cans: beer cans, soda cans, …

Boat made out of beer cans at Darwin`s Beer Can Regatta

I had the opportunity to speak to Des Gellert, the big boss of the Beer Can Regatta of Darwin. When being asked how all of this started he answered following: “There were two fella`s named Lutz Frankenfeld and Paul Rice-Chapman, that came up with the idea while talking over a few beers. One of them, Paul had a deal with a local brewery to organize a water festival to promote tourism and the idea rose to build boats out of cans and having a race. In 1974 the first Beer Can Regatta took place. Late 1974 Darwin was hit by cyclone Tracy and the idea became to clean up Darwin from the litter the cyclone left. So there was a second purpose to the regatta.” When asked why they came up with such an idea, Des answered: “We`re Territorians, we`re unique.” And so they are!

Extravaganza, boat made out of 30000 cans

This year there was a special boat, one made of more than 30 000 cans, catamaran style. When talking to Mike (who`s the co-owner and builder of the boat), he tells us the secret to building a good boat is to gather the right people, who like to have fun and are passionate.

Some of the other boats:

Boat at Darwin`s Beer Can Regatta

The Lobster boat at the Beer Can Regatta, Darwin

Boat brought out to the waters at Darwin

It`s a day filled with fun for the whole family, there are food stalls to satisfy your appetite while enjoying the sun and the activities on the beach, as it`s not only boats racing, there is sandcastle building, kayaking and not to forget Ladies and Men`s Thong Throwing (and a thong in Oz is a flip-flop, just to be clear on that).

Men`s Thong Throw at Darwin Beer Can Regatta

The Beer Can Regatta is a yearly event and if you think you have the talent to enter in this competition next year, then check out the Ten Can-Mandments as found in the Territory Regional Weekly:

  1. Thou Shalt Enter The Event In The Right Spirit – to have a bloody great time.
  2. Thou Shalt Build Thy Craft Of Cans – which must be drink cans, open, emptied and in more of less their original state. Any attempts to enter a submarine (i.e. a craft made of full cans) will result in confiscation and disposal by the Committee.
  3. Thy Craft Shall Float By Cans Alone – They have to provide at least 90% of your flotation. Anything can be used to stick them together, so long as it doesn`t break this rule. The outer hull must be made of cans and at two thirds of them have to be uncovered and visible.
  4. Thou Shalt Not Drown – Any hull design is O.K. – so long as it`s safe. Everyone on board must wear a proper flotation jacket. To avoid a repeat of the Poseidon Adventure, two cans of not more than 30 emp. Fl. Oz. (850 ml) must be used for every pound weight of craft and crew.
  5. Thou Shalt Not Take the Name Of Thy Craft In Vain – Any craft bearing signs or lettering that may be offensive will be barred.
  6. Thou Shalt Not Drift From The Straight And Narrow And End Up in Mandorah – If anything goes wrong, we want you to get you to shore safely and without disrupting the others. Make sure you have a tow rope that`s no longer than the craft itself.
  7. Thou Shalt Not Protest Too Much – No protests regarding eligibility will be considered once a race has started.
  8. Thou Shalt Honor Thy Committee – Swearing, threats, stamping of feet and floods of tears will have NO effect on committee decisions regarding eligibility and protests. Bribes of strong drink will be accepted, but will also have NO effect on decisions.
  9. Thou Shalt Not Committee Adultery – Nothing really to with the Regatta, but it gives us an air of responsibility and respect.
  10. Thou Shalt Go Back And Read The First Canmandment Again.


I got invited to Darwin by the Northern Territory Tourism Board. As always the opinion in this post are my own.

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