A frequently asked question is “What is the name of the regatta?’ The ‘popular name’ has become the “Loe Beach Regatta” but the historic name is “St Feock and Pill Creek Regatta”, for which there are records going back to the mid 19th century. The popular name both describes the shorebase venue now used and provides a convenient ‘shorthand’. However, the historic name provides the connection with the community that ‘owns’ and organises the regatta, which it would be a shame to overlook. The longer name is also used on the logo which appears on sweatshirts, prizes and trophies.
The following description (taken from the website) by the late Paul Owers conveys the flavour of the present regatta
One of surviving village regatta’s on the Fal Estuary and surrounding creeks, affectionately known as the “Loe Beach Regatta” from where it is staged, this annual event has been run since the mid 1800's only halting activities for the two World Wars.
Traditionally the first village regatta of the season, it attracts sailors from many classes and age groups from juniors, through dinghies and Sunbeams, through to cruising and racing yachts, and it’s always a joy to see the multi-coloured top sails of the Working Boat fleets who make a strong appearance on the water each year.
A marquee on the lawn of a private garden at the edge of the water, next to Loe Beach, provides a spectacular setting for the refreshment tent serving a wide range of fare produced and organized by residents of the village. With liberty boats available to take sailors ashore from the buoys and anchorages on Loe Beach, a prizegiving ceremony is held in the marquee after the races. There’s a wide variety of silverware for the winners. Many of the trophies embody a long local history.
Initially the regatta took place within sight of Trelissick House, in the waters north of Turnaware Point and thus it mostly attracted the smaller sailing craft and the ubiquitous rowing matches, the prize money attracting crews from across the Fal. Later when the then Chairman of the event, the Rev Phillpotts (see below) purchased a bigger boat, it was moved further south into the Carrick Roads (where racing is organised today) so that larger craft could take part. But the new location allowed larger sailing yachts to compete without the dangers presented by narrow fairways and drying mud which bedevilled the upriver venues. By carefully selecting the date of the regatta to be mindful of the tides the larger working boats and yachts can participate in the regatta.
Possibly the first Feock regatta on the Roads was held on Tues 7th Sept in 1858. The Royal Cornwall Gazette reported that:
It had previously been held at Devoran but as the Hon Mrs Gilbert of Trelissick had kindly thrown open her grounds for the Exhibition of the Royal Horticultural Society it was decided by the committee to hold the regatta on the same day in connection with the fete.…
To the attractions of the show were added the excitement of the regatta which took place in sight of Trelissick lawn. Some thousands of people attended not only from Truro, Falmouth, Penzance, Camborne, Redruth and intermediate parishes but from distant parts of the county.
on the morning not a single boat, and scarcely any mode of conveyance could be procured in the neighbourhood for love nor money, all having been engaged a fortnight previously. A barge for the accommodation of the committee was moored in Trelissick Creek commanding a good view of the course though frequent showers of misty rain at times entirely hid the competing boats from view.
Royal Cornwall Gazette – 1858
The beautiful little port never looked so gay or had so many visitors by railway, steamers and carriages at one time before, as were present on this occasion to witness what has generally acknowledged to be one of the best and most successful regattas of the season.
Royal Cornwall Gazette – 1875
In 1876 another regatta was held, again at Loe, and proposed this time to be “the old Truro Royal Regatta revived”. The chairman, the Rev Phillpotts opened his grounds at Porthgwidden to the public for the occasion. The principal match on this occasion was for yachts not exceeding 20 tons and was won by the Rev Phillpotts, with his 16 tonne yawl Georgiana.
The following year the status of the regatta was further consolidated this time combining the Feock Regatta with that of Truro under the title of the Port of Truro Regatta. The Gazette reported
The position is one of the most lovely that can be imagined. Loe Beach is fringed by wooded heights and sloping green swards and from these, which on Friday were covered with spectators, a splendid view of the whole proceedings could be had. It was the opinion of the oldest inhabitants that so many people were never seen in the district before.
Feock regatta also carried on in strength to the end of the century, and “one of the most successful regattas” was recorded at Loe in 1884.