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Weather cooperates for Royal St. John's Regatta


Royal St. John's Regatta held on the first Wednesday of August
Royal St. John's Regatta held on the first Wednesday of August

Staff writers

August 1, 2012 — Despite cooler temperatures and light winds, the Royal St. John's Regatta was off to the races early Wednesday.

Sun dominated the skies at the Regatta in August, 2000
Sun dominated the skies at the Regatta in August, 2000

Steeped in Newfoundland tradition, the Royal St. John's Regatta is one of the most popular and weather dependent holidays of the year.

The unique holiday always takes place on the first Wednesday of August, and it's on this day that hundreds of rowers and tens of thousands of spectators gather at Quidi Vidi Lake.

"It being a holiday and the middle of the week -- we get anywhere from 40- 50,000 people that come down for several hours," notes Sandy Hickman, a long time member of the Royal St. John's Regatta.

It's one of Canada's oldest sporting events, dating back to 1816.

"These are rowing races that take place in St. John's on the first Wednesday of August and this is the only Civic Holiday in North America that can be declared by a committee of persons not associated with the government body."

Foggy conditions can create low visibility while rowing
Foggy conditions can create low visibility while rowing

Hickman adds that the weather usually plays a big role on the holiday.

"The direction of the wind is a factor and I would say anywhere from 50 to 60 km/h would be enough to cancel in those conditions...More often than not, every four or five years, we'll have a really windy day and have to postpone it until the next day," says Hickman.

This year however, officials say it was an easy decision to go ahead with the event.

The announcement was made at 5:45 am and the committee said the weather conditions are favourable for rowing.

"There's some light drizzle through the early morning hours, but conditions should improve throughout the day," says Dayna Vettese, a meteorologist at The Weather Network.

Despite being a bit cloudy, winds are expected to remain light on Wednesday.

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