FOR the third time in five years, Chester Regatta will not go ahead - but organisers say they are determined to keep the 272-year-old event alive.
The rowing event was to be held at Sandy Lane tomorrow but was cancelled due to a lack of team entries.
'It was a very hard decision,' said Jan Chillery, secretary of the regatta committee.
'The deadline for the draw was 6pm on Sunday, August 14. Shortly after that we had a meeting to discuss the entries.
'It was clear that we had not received the support we needed from a number of the North West rowing clubs.
'We carefully considered the best interests of the regatta, its sponsors, spectators and competitors and decided it was better for all if we cancelled this year's event.'
The regatta, which was established in 1733, was not held in 2001 after radical changes were made to the organising committee and the foot-and-mouth crisis affected preparations.
The event was also called off in 2002 as it clashed with the Commonwealth Games in Manchester.
A huge amount of effort had been put into this year's regatta.
The committee is returning sponsorship money to donors and is worried that, with some expenses already incurred, this year's non-event will make a loss.
Organisers are also hoping the prizes for the event, engraved lead crystal goblets made by Celebration Crystal in Shrews-bury made specially for this year, can be altered so that they can be used next year.
'We are determined to ensure there is a regatta next year,' said Jan.
'Popularity is not waning because in 2003 we launched a successful new format for the event and in 2004 team entries were up 33%.
'It is possible that when we decided to move it to high summer we made a mistake.
'We wanted to make sure it didn't clash with any other event but perhaps there are no other events at this time for a reason.
'We will consult with local clubs and, if we find they couldn't raise teams because of holidays and such, we will see ask them when they think we should hold it.
'We want to make the regatta something they want to be a part of and can be a part of because it has so much heritage and we do not want to lose that.'
She added: 'Chester Regatta is one of the very few rowing regattas in Britain which is not run by a single rowing club.
'Instead, it is run as a co-operative effort of all rowing clubs on the River Dee at Chester.
'In some ways that is a strength, but sometimes it can be a disadvantage when local clubs don't pull as hard as they would if it was their own event.'