Splashy finish for cardboard boat race


Pirates Week festivities wound down with a splash as hundreds circled the waterfront in George Town to watch the Cardboard Boat Race on Saturday. 

The crowd cheered on the seven teams as they braved the deep waters of Hog Sty Bay with nothing more than a paddle and a boat made entirely of cardboard. Participants did not shy away from being creative with their designs. The carefully crafted boats sported themes ranging from the Flintstones to the gladiators. 

The water-soaked race involves a loop around Rock Island and back to the beach, with the police marine unit on hand to assist any sinking ships.  

The race kicked off with a bang as paddlers fought to keep their boats afloat, but Green Tech Solar’s team was the first to sink, landing them the Best Sinking award. 

MEPCO Limited took the gold in their cardboard canoe, and JML International Limited followed shortly after, in second place. 

Sunrise Adult Training Centre, which provides support for adults with disabilities, nabbed third place. It was a close call, though, because at one point during the race their boat was at a standstill. But Special Olympics athlete Andrew Smiley was there to keep the paddling going. “The boat was steady and we were paddling good and we were taking turns,” said Mr. Smiley. 

It took a week and a half of solid work for the team to complete the boat, said team member Daniel John, an instructor at Sunrise. “This is the first time the Sunrise Adult Training Centre has put a boat into the race, and it has been a pleasure working with the adults in the training center, helping us build it, rolling cardboard and painting it,” he said.  

Credit Suisse and Maples Technology were neck and neck toward the end of the race, but it was Credit Suisse who snatched fourth place. 

“The participants did a wonderful job,” said Kendrick Webster, owner of Webster’s Tours, who came to George Town to watch the race. 

Although Cayman Enterprise City/UCCI’s team did not score a place in the race, they won the hearts of the crowd and landed the team spirit award.  

The boat race, which began in 2007, has been known to attract more than 3,000 people, but this year the crowd appeared to be significantly smaller. 

“The turnout this afternoon was not as spectacular as I expected it to be,” said Mr. Webster.  

Pirates Week events ended in Grand Cayman on Sunday with the “To Hell and Back” 10K run and the Mike Lockwood Memorial International Swim Meet. 

The Pirates Week celebrations will end in Little Cayman, with a float parade on Friday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m, followed by a costume competition and fireworks on Saturday. 


Participants started the race with a splash, spirits were high and all hands were on deck. – PHOTO: STEPHEN CLARKE

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  1. Well it seems that folks are still enjoying the Harbor activities of the Pirates Week festivities. Very good. Many residents however, are not showing that much interest any more, and I believe for this to continue in the districts there has to be a change of venue. I will comment on the Bodden Town activities. It was the worse ever. First, those in Command need to locate a much better place to hold the district activities. Where it takes place is a major problem. It is not exposed enough to passers by, that would stop in and grab a plate of food or drink and just enjoy some time. The Park down in the back is just not the place. It was hot, dirty and no one wanted to come off the Highway driving through alleys and private homes. There was absolutely no support, and I believe that it will be even worse next year. I always hoped the Heritage day activities would stay alive, because it gave the districts residents the opportunity to keep up with their traditional cooking and showing off their talents in arts and crafts.
    This year I only attended the Bodden Town day, but was disappointed. There were only about three food stalls, only one craft stall and not much of interest shown by the few visitors. By mid afternoon as the busses with the children left, it ended. I do not know about the event at the Agriculture ground but hopefully it went well.
    Listening to people talk from this district and various others, they had the same impact. Not too much of a good day.
    Now the question was why. I was made to understand that in George Town a FOOD COURT was held every day causing the visitors, tourist and residents to remain in George Town and not visiting the outer districts to sample and taste or enjoy their activities. NOT GOOD.
    The days activity in Bodden Town was so poorly attended, that if this happens next year I see the Heritage days dwindling away shortly. Something has gone wrong, but it is just not the same.