MORE than 500 rowers are making a splash on the River Wye this weekend at the annual two-day Monmouth Regatta.

Racers from more than 30 clubs are launching out for some 250 races at the event, which dates back 90 years.

Luckily, there’s plenty of sunshine as well as free riverside parking accessed of the Dixton Church roundabout who wants to cheer the boats on is more than welcome.

Saturday’s 1500m event will see 170 crews  and singles compete in 123 races from 9.30am to 4.30pm.

And Sunday’s 700m sprint has 135 boats entered, with 90 races between 10am and 3.45pm.

Clubs hoping to make a splash include the likes of Nottingham RC, World Class Start centre Bath University, Hartpury University, Dart Totnes, Wimbleball, Staines, City of Bristol and local rivals Hereford and Ross.

Welsh interest is provided by Aberystwyth, Swansea and Cardiff universities, Penarth and Llandaff.

And defending home waters are the three school clubs, Monmouth School RC, Monmouth School for Girls and Monmouth Comprehensive and the town club.

A highlight of the weekend will be the two Blue Riband 8s events on Saturday afternoon.

The Phil Mathew Claret Jug, named after Monmouth RC’s former chairman and regatta commentator, sees a straight final between City of Bristol and Warwick University at 3.17pm.

And the Alec Woods Ladies Plate women’s 8s, named after the club’s former president, has four boats entered, with Llandaff racing Warwick at 2.13pm followed straight afterwards by Bath University facing City of Bristol, with the final around 4pm.

Entry to the riverside is free with refreshments and drinks available.

Monmouth RC are grateful to their regatta sponsors, including –  Abbie Carpets, Monnow Eyecare, Haberdashers’ Monmouth Schools, Pol Roger Portfolio, Hancocks of Monmouth Butchers, Brunel Insurance, Kingstone Brewery, Monmouth MOT Centre, 5 Acres Hire, Towergate Insurance, Tod Security & Fire,  Kilsby Williams, Monmouth Chiropractic Clinic, Paul Jarrold Tyres, Monmouth Canoe Hire and Blaentrothy Cottages.

Friends of the Lower River Wye, who are campaigning to save the river from phosphate pollution, also have a stand at the event.