PERTH - The Rideau Ferry Yacht Club is hoping that the Town of Perth will donate $1,000 to this year’s regatta as a way to promote tourism.
“We are trying to promote tourism on the canal,” said Scott Cameron of the club during the town’s committee-of-the-whole meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 15. “We try and support the local economy as much as we can. We are from this area, Perth and Smiths Falls mostly,” he said of his club’s membership.
Surrounding municipalities like the Town of Perth, Drummond/North Elmsley, Rideau Lakes and Smiths Falls have each kicked in about $1,000 each to the regatta. Cameron pointed out that a flotilla often makes its way up from Rideau Ferry to the Tay Basin in town, before slipping on to the banks to go shopping and for something to eat.
The event costs the non-profit club about $20,000 to run, including insurance, and any profits will go towards a $5,000 goal for a donation to the hoped-for public docks at Rideau Ferry.
Deputy Mayor John Gemmell, who was chairing the meeting, agreed to add the request to the budget deliberations for this year, which will be sorted out at an all-day budget session on Friday, Jan. 25 at town hall at 10 a.m.
Boat racing was popular in Rideau Ferry from the 1800s until the 1970s when the yacht club was closed down, and their lands donated to the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority, on the condition that, once a year, the club could use the land to coordinate a regatta.
“We thought it would be interesting if we could replicate one of the old regattas,” said Cameron, with the first such event taking place in 2007. “With the ethusiasm of the community,” the event proved a success.
In the years to come, the event became bi-annual, switching between Rideau Ferry and Clayton, New York.
Coun. Jim Boldt said that he had fond memories of boat racing with his father, when he claimed to have the fastest boat on Calabogie Lake when he was a teenager.
In listening to Cameron’s presentation, Boldt said “I could just see my long hair flying in the breeze!”
“Anything that brings tourism to town is good by me,” added Boldt. “$1,000 is not a lot.”
The town would also receive one full-page ad in the regatta program in exchange for its donation.
Amongst the antique boats slated to appear is the legendary Miss Canada IV.
“Back in the 1930s, it was recorded doing 200 miles per hour,” said Cameron. “We are expecting it to come to Rideau Ferry this year.”
The sister ship Miss Canada III is also scheduled to appear.
Also on tap for the regatta are cardboard boat and Cameron suggested that it might be a good idea to engage in a bit of friendly rivalry with a neighbouring community to see whose boat could float the furthest.
“It’s a fun thing,” said Cameron. “Hopefully, some politicians will man the boats.”