The Sailing for Kids charity regatta, held this weekend in Shanghai, China, will take place at three separate venues this year – further evidence of the continued growth of the boating scene in China.

Until last year the event had been held at a single location on Dianshan Lake. This year, the regatta will also be held at a second site on the opposite side of the lake, with both events taking place simultaneously.

The move has come about because of the growing numbers of boats across the shipping lanes of Shanghai’s largest lake. iSailing, based at Zhong Zhou, will have their own race area, joining the long-time supporters of the race, Shanghai Yacht Club and Shanghai Boat & Yacht Club.

Not to be outdone, Shanghai Sailing Club based at Dishui Lake in the southeast of the city is also holding a branch of the charity regatta.

All three regattas will be sailing under the banner ‘Sailing for Kids’.

Originally run on the Saturday of the China (Shanghai) International Boat Show, and heavily supported by the show as part of their social responsibility programme, the regatta was moved to a separate Saturday due to large numbers of the competitors wishing to do both the regatta and visit the show.

This means that the promotion of boating in Shanghai is spread over one month on the various waters of Shanghai and the regatta is a tidy warm up to the promotion of boating around the city.

The charity regatta on the Saturday is followed on the Sunday by a ‘Try a Boat’ event run at several venues to enable members of the public to get out on the water and get an idea what all the fuss is about.

The Sailing for Kids initiative has so far raised almost RMB400,000 for less fortunate youngsters.

From originally a few boats in an underground car park 21 years ago through a couple of intermediate venues, the China (International) Boat Show is gradually turning into an extended water festival which annually attracts more and more people from Shanghai and the surrounding region. The event takes place this year from April 7-10.

As for boating clubs, there were none in the city in the year 2000. Over the last decade and a half, however, they have sprung up at the rate of around one a year.