Give your rivals the slip in greasy pole challenge
BE PREPARED to make a splash at Whitstable Regatta this weekend.
The greasy pole is making its third appearance in as many years and is expected to be more popular than ever.
The slippery challenge was reinstated in 2010 by regatta chairman Mike Shaw after it was axed on health and safety grounds years ago.
He said: "It was ridiculous – how dangerous can it be? I'm told it's great fun – although I won't be trying it!"
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The pole will be lashed to a boat off Tankerton beach and competitors can try their luck at high tide on Saturday, between 1pm and 4pm.
They will have to swim out to the boat, climb up a rope ladder and negotiate the pole to see who can make the farthest distance before dropping off into the see.
A safety boat will be on standby just in case anyone needs rescuing.
The pole was first introduced to the regatta in the 19th century when it was held on the old backwater reservoir, now hidden beneath the Gorrell Tank car park. In those days pigs were involved.
A newspaper reported: "Here such a sight that had not been seen before in Whitstable for years was presented as the visitors surrounded the great pool in crowds to get a glimpse of the struggle of unfortunate pigs dislodged, after many vain attempts, from a box at the end of the greasy pole into the water."
When the regatta moved to Tankerton Slopes, where it is staged today, the pole was strapped to a diving raft. Contestants had to swim out to it, usually after quaffing a pint of ale, and cling on for dear life.
Alcohol is not recommended for this year's event...