Annual regattas have been held at Wivenhoe and Rowhedge since at least 1891. They were originally held jointly, with the two towns taking it in turns to host the event. In those far-off days they had particular significance for local people as they marked the return of the town’s professional seamen from crewing the great racing yachts during the racing season and the commencement of the winter fishing season. Such was the respect in which Colne-siders were held by yacht owners that these regattas often had Royal patronage, as Kings Edward VII and George V were both keen sailors and employed Colne-siders to crew the Royal (sailing) yacht BRITANNIA from the 1890s up until 1936. They took a personal interest in our local events, and before the First World War the King and the Prince of Wales were always No’s. 1 and 2 in the list of sponsors.

The tradition was disrupted by two world wars and more recently by the building of the tidal barrier, which moved the Sailing Club away from the Town Quay. In 2002 the Town Regatta returned and was run initially by an Association formed especially for that purpose. After that Association folded in 2005, the Nottage Maritime Institute determined it would take on organising a Regatta each year. The Nottage Institute is Wivenhoe’s nautical charity, educational facility and local museum.