Postcard - Beer Can Boat
Every year vessels of all shapes and sizes are created from empty beer cans for the annual Darwin Beer Can Regatta. Despite their builders' best efforts, not all of them float. This four-oared boat was designed by Lutz Frankenfeld, founder of the first Beer Can Regatta in Darwin in 1974. It is built from more than 2000 beer cans donated by the local yacht club. The cans are taped together end-to-end to keep water out of the pop-top holes.
Frankenfeld used a combination of Victoria Bitter and XXXX Bitter cans to pattern the boat in the Australian colours of green and gold. The Viking long boat bow, Galleon stern and Southeast Asian lateen sail reflect the multiculturalism of the Australian community, while the figurehead acknowledges the regatta's sponsor, the Lions Club. In regatta competition, decoration earns as many points as buoyancy and speed.
Darwin's Beer Can Regatta is a major tourist attraction in the Northern Territory. Each year crowds gather to cheer as the most outrageous and ingenious boats made from aluminium cans sink or swim in Darwin Harbour.
The regatta was first held on the June Queens Birthday weekend and its aim was 'to put Darwin on the tourist map' and to help clean up the litter of cans through the city. To Darwin's surprise the novelty event attracted worldwide attention in the 1970s and '80s. But in the sober 1990s civic leaders, keen to reinvent Darwin's image from a hard-drinking tourist haven, renamed the regatta 'On the Beach'. All vessels are made and raced according to strict rules. The event is promoted and sponsored by local business and community groups, from Apex to the armed forces, and from schools to supermarkets.
Image from National Maritime Collection: 00030935
Postcard Size: 10.2 x 14.4 cm