A regatta is a term used to describe either a boat race, or series of boat races. Although the term typically describes racing events of unpowered water craft, some powerboat race series are also called regattas. Most commonly, a regatta is either a series of rowing, sailing, gondola races or yacht racing. A regatta often includes social and promotional activities which surround the racing event, and except in the case of boat type (or "class") championships, is usually named for the town or venue where the event takes place.
Although regatta are typically amateur competitions, they are usually very highly organized, formally structured events, with complex rules precisely describing the schedule and procedures of the event. Regattas may be organized as championships for a particular area or type of boat, but are often held just for the joy of competition, camaraderie, and general promotion of the sport. Frequently sailing racing events are held for single class, or for one particular model sailboat such as the Islander 36. Regattas may be hosted by a yacht club, sailing association, town or school as in the case of Interscholastic Sailing Association (high school) regattas or Intercollegiate Sailing Association (college) regattas.
One of the largest and most popular regattas is the Henley Royal Regatta held on the River Thames, England. The oldest running regatta in the world is Cowes Week, which is held annually by the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes, England and usually attracts over 900 sailboats. North America's oldest regatta is the Royal St. John's Regatta held on Quidi Vidi Lake in St. John's, Newfoundland every year since 1826. Additional examples of regattas are listed below.
- Henley Royal Regatta, held every year on the river Thames is the most prestigious British event
- Royal St. John's Regatta, held every year on Quidi Vidi Lake in St. John's, Newfoundland, North America's oldest annual sporting event.
- The Boat Race is a rowing race between the Oxford University Boat Club and the Cambridge University Boat Club. It is rowed annually each Spring on the Thames in London.
- Regattas on the River Thames lists all Thames rowing regattas and other rowing events
- Port of Dartmouth Royal Regatta, held annually at the end of August on the River Dart.
- Dad Vail Regatta, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- Head of the Charles Regatta, on the Charles River between Boston and Cambridge, Massachusetts
- Marathon Rowing Championship a continuous 26.2-mile rowing regatta on Cane River Lake in Natchitoches, Louisiana
- maltese regatta
- The Croco's Cup, international rowing regatta at University level held every year in Paris since 1985, organised by students of ENSTA (Paristech).
- COEP regatta held annually at the College of Engineering Pune in India
- America's Cup, hosted by prior winner
- Auckland Anniversary Regatta held annually on the Waitemata Harbour to celebrate Auckland Anniversary Day
- Balmain Regatta held annually on Sydney Harbour, Australia
- Bass Week, Bassenthwaite Lake, Cumbria
- Bay Week, Put-in-Bay, Ohio
- Block Island Race Week, Rhode Island
- Canada's Cup, held periodically on the Great Lakes.
- CORK Regatta, Kingston, Ontario, annually in August.
- CASON Grand Prize Solo Regatta, Lake Balaton, Hungary, held annually in September.
- Cowes Week, Royal Yacht Squadron, England
- Port of Dartmouth Royal Regatta, held annually at the end of August over three days on the River Dart.
- Fowey Royal Regatta, Fowey Cornwall annually in Augusthttp://www.foweyroyalregatta.co.uk/index.htm
- Hangon Regatta, an annual event in the city of Hanko, Finland, infamous for attracting large groups of partying youths with a tangential interest in the sailing itself
- Kamer 2 Sailing Marathon, Kaag, Netherlands, annually in September
- Key West Race Week, Key West, Florida
- Kiel Week, Kiel/Germany - the largest sailing event in the world
- Larchmont Race Week, Larchmont Yacht Club, New York
- Long Beach Race Week, Long Beach, California
- National Offshore One Design (NOOD)
- Port Huron to Mackinac Boat Race, Mighigan
- Round Texel, Texel, Netherlands, annually in June
- Sail Melbourne, Held annually on Melbourne's Port Phillip Bay
- Lysekil Women's Match, Lysekil, Sweden, annually in August
- Tjörn Runt, Tjörn, Sweden, annually in August
- Washington's Birthday Regatta, at the Barnacle Historic State Park, Coconut Grove, Florida, annually in February
- West Highland Yachting Week, Oban, W Coast Scotland
- Youngstown Levels, Youngstown, New York
- Figawi Race, Hyannis, MA
College Sailing Regattas
High school sailing regattas
- Mallory Cup, United States high school sailing national championships.
- The Brentwood Regatta is held in the spring and is one of the largest high school sailing regattas on the west coast of North America.
- The National School Sailing Association Regatta, UK. Annual Sailing reggatta held in various sailing clubs and competed in by many secondary school students.
- Sywoc, the Student Yachting World Cup organized by the students of the Ecole Polytechnique.