It was a question of who could float their boat at the first ever Pirates’ Week cardboard boat race at Hog Sty Bay, George Town, Saturday afternoon.
And the answer – to the surprise of a 500 strong crowd and many of the crews themselves – was many; exceptionally well.
To the chagrin of some, a crew from Red Sail Sports narrowly edged out a smaller Livingston Group Pith Heads vessel to take out the inaugural cup, with the Tequila Pirates coming in third.
Red Sail’s Dan Bond said his crew had simply hoped for buoyancy.
“Things went better than expected,” he said.
“When we first built the boat we designed it for two people but it kept getting bigger, weighing in at about 300 pounds of cardboard. So we put six people on it and just hoped that it would float – and it did.”
Captain of the sleek Livingston Pith Heads vessel Mike Fullerton said his crew was undone by a poor start.
“You have to hand it to Red Sail – boy, those guys were fast. We almost capsized our boat on the launch, the water was above my head and I wasn’t even in the boat. Once we were in the boat we made up good time and managed to pass Red Sail but they got us just at the end.”
Commodore Jason Signora from Livingston explained the team’s engineering concept: “Lots of glue, lots of cardboard layers; it was pretty solid. We weren’t afraid of it sinking.”
The Planning Department’s entry – a Caymanian style floating cardboard house – was further back in the field, but it took out the title of best boat design.
“We came in seventh place but we were first in everyone’s hearts and that’s what really counts,” said crew member Darren Enns.
“I would like to say we came up with some really intricate plans for the boat, but we really just stole them from plans submitted to building control,” he joked.
“Actually it weighs about 300 pounds. Hundreds of man hours went into this. We really wanted to embrace our Caymanian heritage so we based it on a Caymanian house.
“We want to take it up a notch next year. Maybe build a Caymanian mansion.”
Mr. Enns said his crew planned to celebrate by burning their beloved cottage in a bonfire on the beach.
X107.1’s boat – which made it little more than a few boat lengths before capsizing – took out the day’s two most dubious awards: most spectacular sinking and shortest race.
After the race, competitors told the Caymanian Compass they think the event has the potential to become a showcase event on the Pirates’ Week Calendar.
“It was so much fun,” said Capt. Fullerton.
“We spent five or six weeks building the boat and it was just a great teambuilding experience. We really had a lot of fun doing it on the weekends,’ he said.
“Look at this place. There are so many people here to watch; it’s just fantastic.”