The oldest regatta in the world gets underway on Saturday and will see 200 crews from 16 clubs competing on the Dee in Chester.
City clubs Grosvenor, Royal Chester, Queen’s Park High School, The King’s School Chester and Chester University will pit their wits against crews from the North West and beyond in the Chester Regatta.
Jan Chillery-Belcher, secretary of Chester Regatta for 13 years, says supporters are eagerly anticipating the weekend’s competition but says there could be big changes in the future.
“Recently the committee has looked hard at alternative competition structures, so it may well be that next year’s Chester Regatta departs radically from this year’s event,” said Jan, an associate solicitor at Aaron & Partners in Chester.
“Traditionally, regatta entries are organised according to status. Senior crews are matched against other senior crews using a points system, one point per event win.
“Junior and master (veteran) crews are matched against each other according to age. However, the Chester Regatta committee is considering shaking things up in 2015.
“We will be asking crews at this year’s regatta to let us know what they think about racing against crews matched only for speed.
“A good junior crew might find themselves competiting against pensioners – if the pensioners were ex-Cambridge blues!
“We will be using Facebook and Twitter to canvass 2014 competitors about the future of Chester Regatta.”
The first record of Chester Regatta is in 1733, giving the annual rowing competition 100 years more history than the illustrious Henley Royal Regatta and world-famous Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race.
And this year’s event will see big entries from Grange School (Hartford), Merchant Taylors’ School, Keele University, Mersey and North Staffordshire rowing clubs, as well as competitors from Agecroft, Liverpool University, Runcorn, Northwich, Tyne and Hughes Hall (Cambridge).
Engraved Victor Ludorum trophies will be awarded to the club, school or university winning the most points in senior, junior and overall categories.
The Lord Mayor of Chester, Cllr Bob Rudd, the Lady Mayoress Sandra Rudd and MP for Chester, Stephen Mosley, will all be presenting the trophies, tankards and medals at prizegiving from 4pm.