Jason Leonard will race against teams from Gardiner & Theobald and South Bank University as part of Think Regatta

Former England Rugby prop Jason Leonard OBE will race against teams from QS Gardiner & Theobald and South Bank University in the Think Regatta charity boat race, one of the events taking place as part of sustainability conference Think 08.

The competition will consist of five races over two days with the grand final pitting the heat winners against each other in a final showdown.

Jason Leonard and London South Bank University students

Participants will set sail from the Royal Victoria Dock, adjacent to the conference centre ExCel, on 7 and 8 May.

All winners will receive a trophy and contribution to a charity of their choice, while the overall victor will take home the inaugural Regatta trophy and a significant donation to their chosen charity.

Leonard said: "The Think Regatta promotes a healthy, environmentally friendly pastime that shows you don't need exhaust emissions to get an adrenaline rush.

"It sends a clear message to professionals working in the built environment that sustainability is compatible with competitiveness. This is one of the key topics that will be examined at the Think conference and exhibition.

"It's a great idea to give conference scholarships scholarships for Think to students like those of London's South Bank University (sponsors of the regatta). Getting young people interested in sustainability in the built environment is important if we are going to fill the sustainability skills gap in the industry."

Entry costs £1,400, which includes all snacks and refreshments for the crew and a RIB for transfers and safety. Each Benetau Class 8 keelboat will be made up of five people plus an experienced skipper.

Patrick Gulley of Gardiner & Theobald added: "The Think Regatta is an ingenious way of highlighting the benefits of sustainable transport and renewable energy, while having an enormous amount of fun. The event really gets across the message of sustainability that underpins the entire conference. We hope that as many exhibitors as possible will enter – it should be nice and competitive, and raise funds for charity."