NEARLY 400 rowing boats will be making a splash on the River Wye this weekend as the host club marks its 90th anniversary.

Monmouth Rowing Club was founded in 1929 and its first regatta is thought to have taken place three years later.

And it is hosting its annual two-day event this Saturday and Sunday (May 25 to 26) on the River Wye, when more than 800 rowers from 38 clubs will go head-to-head over 1500m and 750m sprint courses.

Top outfit Nottingham Rowing Club are making the trip from the Trent alongside fellow Midlanders Derby RC, while the likes of Staines, Falcon, Thames Scullers, Wallingford and Oxford college St Peters will be making tracks from the Thames.

Defending home waters alongside host club Monmouth RC will be Monmouth Comprehensive, Monmouth School, Monmouth School for Girls and Ross RC, with many of the juniors returning from the National Schools Regatta in Nottingham on Saturday to race on the Sunday.

Other top clubs joining the armada are Bath, Cardiff, Cardiff Met, Swansea and Nottingham Trent universities and Forest of Dean outfit Gloucester Hartpury.

The event is rare in river rowing for having a fair straight course, and 208 boats will be launching out on the Saturday over 1500m, followed by 179 in Sunday’s sprint, with 289 races scheduled in total.

Interest in particular will focus on Saturday’s Alec Woods Ladies Plate for women’s eights, named after the club’s late president, with entries from varsity rivals Cardiff and Swansea, plus Derby RC and the men's Phil Mathew Cup where Bath and Swansea universities will battle it out with the likes of Bewdley and Bristol Ariel.

“It’s another decent regatta entry, up on last year, and we’re just hoping for some decent weather,” said regatta spokesman Eric Froggat.

“We pride ourselves on running a tight ship at the regatta, by being well organised and finishing on time while being a friendly and relaxed event, and look forward to some good support from the local community cheering on the home boats.”

Racing is from 9am to 5.30pm on Saturday and 9am to 4pm on Sunday. Entry is free with refreshments available.