Bideford Rotary Club staged a cardboard boat regatta as part of Bideford Water Festival 2017 on Sunday 2nd July.
Huge crowds gathered to cheer on competitors in several race classes, featuring some imaginative designs. Sponsors Aldi and Atlas Packaging had provided resources for the competition and entered their own impressive looking craft.
Of course, TCi (GB) Ltd took no encouragement in entering, with a plan to set sail atop upturned cardboard desks, dressed as pirates and equipped with kayak paddles…
In the spirit of the event, no testing or training was undertaken prior to race day, with little more than extra wide sellotape keeping water out of the seams!
Three ‘pirates’ entered the water in a specially created category for SUP (Stand Up Paddle) boards. It was immediately apparent that balance would be an issue. Whilst Captain Shaun Wilson and Rear Admiral James McLeod sped off relatively quickly towards the first buoy, First Mate Ben Gibbs was left floundering, handicapped by his single paddle. Within a few metres of the quay, Ben’s desk overturned, launching him into the river. Shaun and James continued on to turn at the first marker buoy to face the outgoing tide, whilst Ben attempted to re-board his vessel. By now, James was racing towards the second marker, but Shaun was beginning to take on water and was sitting lower and lower in the water.
Upon finally reaching the first marker buoy, some way behind the others, Ben was too late to beat the tide and started to get carried towards Instow as the desk started to sink beneath him.
As Ben was rescued by the marshalling canoes and kayaks, Shaun valiantly swam back to shore with the remains of his raft, whilst James rowed his craft back to victory.
Of course, all the cardboard was recovered and taken away for recycling!
It was a great event on the river, blessed with stunning sunshine, brought to a close with music from Soul Intention and a grand prize-giving ceremony.
The Cardboard Boat Regatta is open to participation from businesses, schools, youth groups, groups of friends, and non-profit organizations desiring to build a boat and participate. This is a wonderful team-building experience; giving friends and employees an opportunity to work together toward a common goal and have a lot of fun doing it.
Rotary is a global network of 1.2 million neighbors, friends, leaders, and problem-solvers who come together to make positive, lasting change in communities at home and abroad.
N.B. The ECO360 cardboard desks used in this competition were specially prepared (within the rules of the contest) and sailed by professional pirates with many years of sea-going experience, wearing appropriate safety equipment. ECO360 is designed and tested for use as office furniture and as such is not recommended for recreational boating or ocean voyages.