The first Rag Regatta was held in 1928, the year after John Spedan Lewis’s purchase of the Odney Club. The event quickly turned into an annual highlight, featuring a unique mixture of both racing, swimming competitions and a fair few unique challenges.
One of the most original challenges was called the Leander Race. The basis of the Leander Race was that a ‘lady is bound to the rail on the top of the bridge. The gentleman paddles down in the canoe to the bridge, climbs up and unties the lady’. Another was the Mop Fighting event. Here, two canoes would go head to head against each other. All occupants of the boat would be equipped with a mop, with the sole intention of sending the boat and opposition overboard!
The Rag Regatta grew in popularity and by 1965, the attendance was up to 3000 people. The 1978 Regatta marked the 50th anniversary of the event was the last time the even was held at Odney, as the event was moved the larger venue of Knebworth in 1979.