The regatta was a display of aquatic feats to honour the International Exposition. The races were held on the broad waters of the Seine River, between the bridges of St. Cloud and Surennes, offering lots of viewing area for the intrigued spectators.
Over the course of two days, July 7-8, 1867, two classes were held. The first for amateurs without distinction and the second for countries who held varying levels of competition.
The Carleton Crew chose to race within the first class and registered to compete in two contests with the vessels they had brought with them from Saint John. The first race for in-rigged rowing sculls and the second race for outrigged rowing sculls. The Carleton Crew were widely considered the underdogs and ridiculed for both their rowing style and appearance.
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To top this off, they did not dress properly, as noted by a correspondent of the Manchester Guardian:
Among the strange looking people whom this regatta has brought together, not the least strange were the certain crew of four sturdy New Brunswickers – with their flesh-coloured jerseys, dark cloth trousers, leather braces, and bright pink caps, they were in striking contrast to their neat competitors.
(Brian Flood, Saint John: A Sporting Tradition 1785-1985)