Double the vessels, double the fun: Cardboard boat race sets sail
Nearly 40 vessels took to the water Saturday in the Cape Coral Cardboard Boat Regatta.
Hosted by the Rotary Club of Cape Coral, the annual event took place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Four Freedoms Park. It serves as a fund-raiser for the mix of community projects that the club oversees. There were 45 boats entered this year – about double from 2010.
“It’s been great,” Jim Perry, chairman of the regatta, said.
One of the entrants was a group of friends who are also members of the New Resident Club. Frank Kerr, captain of the “Beach Party Barge,” said it was the group’s first year.
“It just seemed like it would be a fun event,” he said. “It’s been thoroughly enjoyable.”
The group used instructions provided by the Rotary Club on how to build a cardboard boat and spent about 12 hours constructing theirs. Choosing a theme was a lot easier.
“After a number of beers, it seemed like a good idea,” Kerr laughed.
And that good idea paid off. The boat not only stayed afloat, it helped the group win its race and earned the circle of friends several awards, including first place for team effort and most whimsical. Beach Party Barge took second place in the people’s choice award.
“We’re all thrilled,” Kerr said. “Pleasantly surprised.”
Following the races, the 50/50 raffle winners and award ceremonies were held.
For a list of the winners, visit the website at: www.capecoralregatta.com .
Perry estimated that between 7,000 and 8,000 people turned out for the weekend festivities, about the same as last year. In 2010, it attracted almost 8,000 spectators.
“We had a fantastic crowd this year, so we had a really great time,” he said.
Bridgett Pasetti stopped by the event Saturday with her husband.
“It was fun,” she said. “It was really amazing.”
Cape residents for five years, this was the first time that they had attended.
“It just seemed to be one event we’ve never gotten around to going to,” she said.
Pasetti’s favorite entry was the multi-person boat by the Florida Gulf Coast University engineers. She was also drawn to the boats that looked like they were made from wood.
“You really had to look at it up close to see they were really made from cardboard,” Pasetti said.
For the first time, the Rotary Club extended the boat races to include the SunCoast DockDogs event. The dogs were judged on how far or how high they jumped off the dock set up. The competition ran Friday through Saturday, with the finals Sunday.
“I think we’ve done pretty good,” Perry said.
The Nauti-Skippers Boat Club hosted the first race in 1994 with only club members participating. The next year the Merry Mariners challenged the Nauti-Skippers, and the following year, participation in the race was opened up to every boat club in the area.
When the Rotary Club took over in 2004, the club allowed the public to join in.
For more information about the Cape Coral Cardboard Boat Regatta or the Rotary Club, call 245-0021, e-mail email@example.com or visit at: www.capecoralregatta.com .