Regatta season runs from June – August. The six-mile stretch of fast strong tidal water, the Narrows, at the mouth of Strangford Lough is the scene in mid-July for the traditional Narrows Series, when sailors from all around the Lough and visitors from farther afield, take part over four days of racing.
The first club to appear in that area was Strangford Sailing Club in 1946 on the west shore of the Narrows and opposite in Portaferry the Cooke Street club appeared, possibly also in the 1940s. It closed in 1956 and re-emerged as Portaferry SC in 1970. It seems that the Narrows Series existed in the 1950s.
The series is made up of four events hosted by Strangford and Portaferry. As told in the history of the River Class. “As with many coastal and lakeside Irish towns and villages, there is a tradition of holding ‘regattas’ in the summer. Both Strangford and Portaferry villages probably did so from the early 19th century.
The first race is the Bar Buoy Race run by Strangford Sailing Club, which dates back to the 1950s when Punts and Wychcraft raced between Strangford and Portaferry on the ‘Ferry Course’. When bigger boats wanted to join in a more expansive course round the Bar Buoy outside the mouth of the Lough was set up.
The three regattas, Strangford SC, Portaferry SC and Portaferry Town follow.
Interspersed with regattas and open events are coastal races, namely a race round the South Rock off Kearney Point on the Ards Peninsula eastern coast, the Ardglass race to the fishing port of that name south of the Narrows on the County Down coast as well as the Isle of Man race and cruise.