Regatta History

Image by Katherine McCormack

A Brief History of Regattas

Dating back from the 15th century, the word “Regatta” originates from the Venetian dialect meaning “competition”, or “contest”, and was used to describe rowing races held in the city, where Venetian Gondoliers (- boaters) would wield long, elongated paddles, and race one another along the canals of Venice.


As sailing became more prevalent in an ever-modernising world, sailing yachts became the sports cars of the era, and regattas and sailboat-racing became a luxury for the upper class. The Royal Thames Yacht Club was founded in 1775 by Prince Henry (the brother of King George the Ⅲ), after he put up a silver cup for a race on the Thames and formed the Cumberland Fleet. This is deemed one of the oldest sailing regattas to date. By the mid-1800s, several other yachting clubs had appeared and Regattas became all the trend.

Image by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen
Image by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen

Modern Day Regattas

Nowadays the word ‘Regatta’ is used to describe most water-sport racing such as, sailing, rowing, or windsurfing. Some of the most famous regattas in present times are the Vendee Globe, a non-stop single-handed race around the globe, or the America’s Cup which, founded in 1851, is the oldest international competition still running in any sport.

Image by Renan Brun

The Sitges Regatta

Held at the end of July, the Vela Clasica Sitges is the perfect stop over for sailors finishing the Barcelona XIII Puig Vela Clàssica (14th to the 17th of July) waiting to cross to Menorca’s capital, Mahón, for the XVII Copa del Rey Vela Clásica MenorcaI (25th to the 29th of August).


Rather than enduring a tedious wait before heading to Menorca, the fleet can head down to Sitges, where they can spend time crawling the rustic streets, bustling bars, or the picturesque seafront, before they get back on the water, hoist the sails, and hold fast.


The idyllic town already hosts a large number of events such as the world-renowned Sitges Film Festival, and therefore makes for the perfect place to host a Classic Yacht Regatta. Other than the delicious restaurants and lively bars, you’ll find a number of popup events, food-trucks, bars, and so much more. So come down to Sitges, visit our beloved church, catch the sun by the beach, and enjoy a spectacle of beautiful boats sailing up and down the coastline.