The Incredible Arun Bathtub Race in 2011, a bumper year. Pictures: Stephen Goodger
The Incredible Arun Bathtub Race in 2011, a bumper year. Pictures: Stephen Goodger

The Incredible Arun Bathtub Race: Bumper year for barmy bathtubs on River Arun at Arundel

Wackiness ruled the waves in August 2011 as a flotilla of barmy bathtubs took to the water for Arundel’s alternative regatta. Costumes seemed more outlandish than ever and the crafts reached a new peak of creativity, although that was all some reached, their crews taking an early bath near the start line at The Black Rabbit. There was a bumper entry of 33 teams and 118 brave crew members, much to the delight of organiser Martin Harvey, at the helm for his 10th bathtub race on the River Arun.

Wednesday, 11th August 2021, 4:03 pm
Updated Wednesday, 11th August 2021, 4:15 pm

The standard of boat building and fancy dress was exceptional that year. The boats were bigger, with several twin bath designs, and the number of crew on board increased – S J Gardens (Arundel) fielding a mighty crew of 11. Several teams took a dunking right at the start and there were some runaway baths drifting far over the finish line.

Timon Greenwood and Richard Murphy, of Southern Testing, East Grinstead, steered their Noggin the Nog craft home as overall winners and first metal tub across the line. Second overall and winners of the first multi-crew class were John Chatwood, Nick Jenkins and Noel O’Brien, the Brotherhood of BAM, civil engineers BAM Nuttall, clad in nun outfits. BAM Nuttall also claimed third place overall and first plastic tub, with BAM Las Vegas crewed by Gareth White and Sam Spiller dressed as Elvis in white jumpsuits. Arundel’s Red Lion pub won the oversize class with a tub crewed by Chris Lawrie, Kerry Puttock, A. Hurst, M. Robinson, L. Robinson and M. Banks. And another BAM Nuttall crew, Emily Short, Lauren Beacham, A. Powell and T. Taylor, the BAM Hooters, was the first all-female tub home.

Littlehampton Carnival Queen Kirsty Alderton started the race and chose the best-dressed crew, The Village Idiots. Steve and Phillip Beall, Tom Bezants, Andy Smith and Gary Shimwell were dressed as a biker, builder, cop, cowboy and American Indian for their Village People theme, sailing a bath decked over with a multi-coloured dance floor and DJ booth playing 1970s disco hits, including YMCA, mid-river. The best-design prize went to The Maverick Flyer, with Darren Prior and Jeff Poole the power behind the paddle wheel, their tub decorated as a casino, complete with gaming table, chips and cards. The Custard Tarts, Matt Tunmore and Vicky Brown of Arundel Youth Hostel/The Eagle, won the youth class and Arundel mayor Wendy Eve awarded her Mayor’s Choice prize to Pirates of the Carib Arun, Andrew and James King, Adam Wren and Stephen Cooper.

The wooden spoon for the last tub to finish under its own steam went to The Deadtanic, crewed by Nick Choate, Paul Robinson, Phil and Martyn Coxwell and Ross James of Black and White Scaffolding, Worthing.

Arun Yacht Club, Felpham Sailing Club and Felpham Sea Scouts helped on the safety boats during the event.

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