The City of Hobart’s beautiful lakefront featured an unusual sight on Saturday as teachers, boy scouts, and other competitors raced cardboard pencils, dragons, and themed boats in the annual Dam Duck Tape & Cardboard Regatta.
The annual event is a part of the larger Lakefront Festival Hobart hosts each year and sees teams of all sizes building boats out of nothing but cardboard, duct tape, and a lot of imagination. The intrepid boatsmen and women start at the Lake George shoreline in Festival Park, race to the center of the lake, and go around a buoy before sprinting back to land. Hundreds gather to watch the spectacle and the participants receive a wide variety of honors.
“We’re unique for having a lake run right through the middle of our downtown,” said Nikki Lopez, Event Director for the City of Hobart. “This event is just a crazy, fun thing and we really want to use the lake to its full potential.”
A handful of perennial contenders participate every year, advancing their craft and having fun doing it. Boy Scout Troop 65 is one of those regulars and took a simple approach to this year’s vessel: go big or go home. Their massive boat featured a mountain of cardboard and enough duct tape to patch up a battleship, which was necessary to keep their five-man crew afloat.
“Last year we got the Titanic award, for the best sinking,” said Andrew Clemmons, 13, a Life Scout in Troop 65. “We’re just out here to have fun, build a boat, and race. It’s a very weird event, but it’s so fun. We just want to finish this year.”
Troop 65 met their goal, finishing ahead of first-time entrant the S.S. Brickie, which sank on launch and earned the glamorous Titanic Award. Perhaps the most impressive rookie start came from a team of teachers from Ridge View Elementary, who built their boat to get students excited about learning. The teachers worked together to build the boat, while Courtney Farrell paddled it. She was also the only solo participant, and the team won the “Most Creative” award for their pencil-boat and “Straight Outta Pencils” shirts.
“We got together and decided that we want to show the kids that we’re not asking them to do anything that we’re not doing ourselves,” said Courtney Gabriel, a member of the Ridge View team. “We’re just hoping to have fun, and show our kids that when we’re in a classroom with them, we’re just like they are. It’s about telling them to go out, use that imagination, and go out on a limb. If it doesn’t work, that’s okay!”
The race seemed tight at the start, with the rookie, Chicago Bears themed vessel Da Boat, hanging on tight with the defending champion, Corngetters. Da Boat got caught up in a traffic jam around the buoy, allowing the Corngetters to break away and earn their 5th championship, while the Trinity Memorial Lutheran Church nabbed second.
For more information about the Lakefront Festival, please visit http://www.cityofhobart.org/index.aspx?NID=204.