5 weird boat races around the world

If the excitement of a typical boat race doesn’t do it for you, you may get a kick out of these very weird alternatives. Yep, these boats races actually happen, in real life, right here in Australia and around the world. (We could hardly believe it too!)

Here’s what made our top 5!

  1. Pumpkin Regatta

There’s tough competition in pumpkin paddling. This ‘boat’ race sees participants grow, carve and decorate their own pumpkins, then board them to paddle through a course in Damariscotta, Maine.

Pumpkinfest features a host of pumpkin-centric events, including a Pumpkin Parade and a Pumpkin Drop, which sees huge pumpkins dropped from a giant crane. But, the regatta is the major draw card, and we can see why. Watch a video of the race here!

Happens midday on Monday 8 October 2018.

  1. Beer Can Regatta

Okay, we never advocate drinking and boating, and neither does this race. But, it does require participants to build a boat out of empty beer cans, which means a lot of Sunday barbeques with friends to stock up on empties. (Although soda cans and milk cartons are accepted too!)

The Darwin Lions Club in the Northern Territory of Australia organises this one, which allows racers to slow each other down in whatever means possible. The iconic event happens at Mindil Beach and has been running since 1974.

This year the Beer Can Regatta will be held on Sunday July 22.

  1. Concrete Canoe Championships

Building canoes from concrete started as a challenge for engineering students in California, who wanted to show the principles of physics in action. The boats were so good; the students evolved to focusing on developing better and better concrete.

Whatever the motivating factor, the race still happens every year. It started in the sixties, and in the seventies became an inter-school phenomenon. Race sponsors include the American Concrete Institute, Bank of America and UPS. Yep, it’s kind of a big deal.

Learn more here.

  1. Minimal Regatta

The concept of this race is simple – build a boat out of minimal materials and race a course at Key West Bight. Entrants can only use the following materials to build their boat, but they can be as creative as possible with them:

  • A sheet of plywood
  • Half a kilo of fasteners
  • One roll of 2″ x 180 foot duct tape
  • Epoxy paint (no adhesives).
  • Boats may be painted.


Of course, the race is meant to be a laugh, and prizes are awarded for the winner, as well as boats that sink, and those designed in creative ways.

The event is typically held on Memorial Day weekend.

  1. Red Bull Dinghy Derby

The small town of Renmark in South Australia is usually a low-key spot for its 8,000 residents. Except of course, when the Dinghy Derby comes to town. Since 1981, the race has transformed how Australians see the typically slow and steady dinghy.

The action-packed race sees participants hit speeds of 80 kph on the banks of the usually serene Murray River. Participants literally soup up the outboards on their dinghies and get to work. They seem to know what they’re doing, as we wouldn’t recommend this for novices!

See a video of the action here!

We won’t cover your souped up dinghy

But, we do cover most boats and vessels that are used responsibly on the water! Talk to us about securing comprehensive insurance that protects you on those days we’d all prefer just didn’t happen.

Ask for an obligation free quite today and stay safe out there!

Beer Can Regatta

Darwin Beer Can Regatta