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.