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Annual Cardboard Boat Regatta inspires ingenuity, competition and sportsmanship

By Staff | Apr 26, 2009

Hundreds attended the Cape Coral Cardboard Boat Regatta this weekend to watch as boat teams attempted to navigate their makeshift boats through Bimini Basin.
The crowd at this year’s regatta swelled across the banks of the basin and was more numerous than in 2008 at Seahawk Park in north Cape Coral. Teams displayed their boats – made of cardboard boxes and layer after layer of glue – as each was called one-by-one to the water.
The height of the action Saturday afternoon brought the Community Bank of Cape Coral facing-off against All Aboard Preschool.
The race began and both teams successfully rounded the basin, but the community bank’s “Yellow Submarine” became caught in a strong wind and capsized leaving the four paddlers from All Aboard Preschool victorious.
The crowd cheered and howled as the preschool carried their boat out of the water.
“It was great, we did awesome,” screamed Kate Sroka, owner of the preschool.
This was the second year that the school participated in the regatta, she said. The year before they didn’t finish the race because the boat stuck too far out of the water and flipped.
“This is a different design, the boat is much lower, it took the wind last year,” said Sroka.
All Aboard Preschool’s short, white boat carried Sroka and three of her students on Saturday – Marcus Nina, 9; Joshua Nina, 9 and Gina Rodriguez, 9.
Team members from the Community Bank of Cape Coral were disappointed that the submarine didn’t finish the race. Overall, it took the team seven weeks to design the boat.
“We are pretty top heavy and we weren’t counting on the wind,” said Bill Gull, representing the community bank team. “We knew it would float but it had too much on top.”
Gull said that the team had fun designing the boat and had a lot of neighbors who wanted to become involved in the building process, though he seem relieved they were done.
“I’d like to have my garage back,” laughed Gull.
Teams went through great lengths to design extravagant cardboard boats including a replica of the Batmobile and James Bond’s Lotus submarine from “The Spy Who Loved Me.” The Merry Mariners, one of the Cape’s oldest boat building teams, designed 007’s car and have created other interesting boats in the past such as authentic helicopters from Vietnam and seaplanes.
This year’s regatta was headlined by the Yard Dogs who performed live music on Friday. It lasted throughout the weekend with food and drink vendors.