(Courier file photo)
(Courier file photo)
This year's Madison Regatta will be trimmed from a three-day event to two days, the organization announced Wednesday.

All racing will be on Saturday and Sunday, rather than the traditional three-days. The reason for the change comes down to the Regatta's desire to have more on-water action and less down-time for its fans.

"Because of the problems we had last year and the success we had last year of putting the boats on Vaughn Drive we decided to go this route," Madison Regatta President Tim Torrance said. "One of the problems we've always had is more water time, keeping something on the water continuously. We thought we could save some money by doing a two-day event and we can make more water time by compacting the schedule."

In addition to the change in the schedule, the Regatta also announced that one-long time event, the annual scholarship pageant, will not be held this year.

Because the actual race did not happen last season, Regatta officials have decided to carry over the court from a year ago to this year giving queen Hayley Franklin a chance to preside over the race.

"We're not going to have any of the pageants this year because the queen didn't get a chance to reign over the events last year," Madison Regatta Festival Chairman Kim Washer said. "We'll hold it again next year but right now, we're looking at other events to fill that spot in the schedule."

High water washed out last year's race but in an effort to give fans something for their money, Regatta and H1 officials moved the boats on Vaughn Drive and drivers met with fans and signed autographs. Despite the steady rain, that portion of the weekend was a success.

The Regatta will duplicate that portion of the event this year. On Friday, boats will be lined up on Vaughn and drivers will be on hand to meet with fans. Admission to the riverfront will either be a wristband or a festival button, which will also be good for the music later that night.

"If people want to just buy the button and come down and see the boats and drivers, they would be able to do that without footing the bill for a wristband," Torrance said. "Then, if they like what they can see, they can buy a wristband for the rest of the weekend."

As for the racing itself, Torrance promised an action-packed two days. While the actual schedule has not been made final, all testing and qualifying will be on Saturday with possibly a Dash for Cash type of race late in the evening. All three sets of preliminary heats as well as the final will be on Sunday.

"We have the river all day if we want it. Until the sun goes down," Torrance said. "I don't know how much we'll use, but it's there if we want it."

As for the race course itself, Torrance said that it will remain at two miles, the same length it has been the past few years. There are no plans to have the course go under the new Madison-Milton Bridge.

In other business:

• The Regatta is seeking associate sponsorship for the annual fireworks show. If interested, contact the Regatta through its website at www.madisonregatta.com.

• Safety and rescue is seeking two pontoon boats to serve in helping with set up of the course. According to chairman Matt True the boats "don't have to be anything fancy."