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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Soggy Bottom regatta moves to Cataract Gorge

Tasmania’s most spectacular cardboard boat racing event is moving to a new venue this year at Launceston’s iconic Cataract Gorge.

The Soggy Bottom Cardboard Box Boat Regatta and Family Fun Day, coordinated by the Youngtown Rotary Club, has traditionally been held at Waverley Lake.

However, following poor water quality readings at Waverley Lake earlier this month — likely due to wildlife and ongoing warm weather — organisers have made the decision to relocate the Sunday March 5 event to the Cataract Gorge’s First Basin swimming pool.

Event spokesman, Leigh Dyson said it was exciting to see the event moving to one of Tasmania’s most well-known recreational and tourism hotspots.

“It’s hard to think of a more magnificent location for the 2023 Soggy Bottom Cardboard Box Boat Regatta and Family Fun Day than the Cataract Gorge,” Mr Dyson said.

“Not only do we have the First Basin swimming pool, but all the associated facilities and natural open space for on-land family entertainment and activities for everyone to enjoy as part of the family fun day.

“We know that all across Northern Tasmania right now there are prospective competitors putting together their cardboard boats, and now they’re really going to be able to compete in style.

“Best of all, following the regatta, every participant will have the opportunity to visit leading international maritime institute, the Australian Maritime College, to find out how technology is being used to design the boats of the future.”

This year, the event will support JCP Youth’s BEAST Program – which supports at-risk youth – as well as family camp programs run by Diabetes Tasmania.

The event also has a brand new website and online registration process for 2023.

“People are invited to get a team together to build and paddle a boat and register online at
www.soggybottomregatta.com.au. The website has information on rules and tips for building your boat, race day rules, as well as information on our community partners and sponsors,” said Mr Dyson.

“The event is free to participate in, and we encourage all teams to raise money for their boat. Prizes will be awarded to teams that are randomly chosen from those who raise more than $200 so any team could win.”

Mr Dyson said organisers were pleased to have been able to work collaboratively with the Council on finding an alternate location for the 2023 event.

“Council officers from different departments have put a lot of effort in to ensuring our event is a success, and it’s been wonderful to collaborate with them,” he said.

Launceston Mayor, Danny Gibson said he was pleased the Council had been able to work with event organisers to secure an alternate location.

“We’re delighted the Soggy Bottom Cardboard Box Boat Regatta and Family Fun Day will be held at Launceston’s Cataract Gorge on Sunday, March 5,” Mayor Gibson said.

“While the Council is not entering a boat this year, I have co-captained a cardboard vessel at a previous regatta. I learned the hard way the seafaring and structural engineering skills required, and I hope to be able to bring those lessons to bear at a future regatta at Waverley Lake.

“It’s shaping up to be a fun day for both competitors and spectators and I’m looking forward to seeing the creativity and engineering behind some of the boats — and which teams sink or swim.”

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