A RECORD-breaking regatta drew crowds of hundreds at the weekend.

Christchurch Rowing Club’s annual regatta, held in its current form since 1948, attracts coastal teams from around the south each year, and each of the 11 categories was fiercely contested.

But the host club celebrated one of the biggest wins of the event, taking home the trophy for the most successes notched up throughout the day. Mike Kelly, who helped to organise the regatta, said: “The post-Olympic effect seems to have taken hold with rowing, and we had a huge number of spectators turn out on the river bank to watch.

“If it wasn’t the highest-number of people coming along we’ve ever had, I’d say it was very close.”

But if there was any doubt about the numbers in the crowd, there could be no denying the popularity of the regatta with rowers.

Mr Kelly said: “In excess of 20 crews took part during the day, and that is a record.

“It was fantastic to see so many people taking part.”

During the event, two teams of competing rowers skim around the 1,250-metre course to try to make it back first.

“With a lot of regattas, a number of crews race at once, but with ours, it’s just one against one,” said Mr Kelly.

“It can get exhausting. For example, in our novice events, the winners and those in second place raced the distance five times. It’s very intense, and it’s a real test of endurance.”

The excitement on the water lasted from 9.30am until 7.30pm due to the number of competitors.

Mr Kelly said: “We had some good results, and at the end of the day we were awarded the trophy for the most wins, which was fantastic.

“It was a great day.”