“We were trying to think of something new and exciting to do for the Party at the Port,” said Jean Day, marketing and events coordinator for the port. “(Cardboard boats) typically sink unless they are made properly.”
Residents can sign up for the Port of Brookings Harbor Cardboard Boat Regatta by 1:30 p.m. on May 25. It costs $15 to race and all participants must be older than 10.
“I would like a lot of people to come out. If you are not going to participate, to at least watch it,” Day said. “It is a fun event for the community and we would like to see it come back for a second year if this one is successful.”
Participants will be split into heats and race from the boardwalk, around a buoy and back. Trophies will be given for first, second and third places, and also for the best sinker. According to Day, this award is “for the person who sinks in the most fantastic way.”
Three participants made boats for the mock trial out of cardboard and duct tape, all with their own unique style.
The winner of the trials was Doug Lewis, owner of Lewis Industries. He heard about the event on the Internet, and an extensive background in boat building helped him build his “Titanic.”
“In spite of the flawless appearance, it was built in three hours and I only had two pieces of cardboard to stick together. The color is called ‘upchuck green.’ It is designed to make opponents nauseous. Had I not painted it that color, it would have been a much, much closer race,” Lewis said. “I got to admit, painting it the ‘upchuck green’ color definitely gave me an unfair advantage. It just takes the sport out of it if you don’t cheat a little bit. ”
Dan Hoover, a port employee, was “voluntold” to participate. He searched the Internet for what to do to build his boat.
“Mine looks a little on the shabby side, so I am kind of the underdog,” Hoover said. He would have had two pontoons but only had one because he ran out of materials, mainly cardboard.
Hoover’s goals were to win and not get wet, both of which failed. And yes, he said, the water is cold, even through a full-body wet suit.
Ted Fitzgerald, manager at the port, was also “voluntold” to participate. None of the three participants had raced cardboard boats before and were not sure what to expect. Fitzgerald decided that lots of duct tape was the answer to not sinking.
“100 percent coverage,” he laughed.
“I think I got a few bugs to work out of my design a little bit,” Fitzgerald said. “All in all, it was a good workout and that’s about it. I could have sunk the lead boat when he came by on the way back if I had only sharpened my paddle.”
Lewis was quick to point out that this was not unsportsmanlike conduct, as hitting a competitor’s boat is done “to test the integrity of the hull.”
The boats varied in design and buoyancy and all three participants said that they will be doing a different design for the day of the race. No tips were given, however, as that is “classified” they joked.
“I think the public will just have to wait and see what rolls out,” Fitzgerald said.
Entry forms, rules and regulations for the Cardboard Boat Regatta can be found at www.port-brookings-harbor.com.