A tub stuffed with mermaids, an errant bottle and a sort-of floating banana were among the naval vessels battling it out at Saturday’s cardboard boat race in Hog Sty Bay, a tradition of Pirates Week.
“We’re still not sure if it’s going to float,” said Coralie Moran, one of six women that dubbed themselves Maples’ Mermaids, as they prepared for the race. “We’re all wearing mermaid costumes also, so we won’t be able to swim.”
If the boat foundered, she said, “We’re just going to drown.”
As it turned out, the mermaids constructed perhaps the most buoyant of the five craft entered in the race. Had that been the only criteria, they certainly would have won. But there was that whole navigation thing. The mermaids could not buy a straight line.
The crew in the Banana Split, a yellow contraption with an upturned front end for a stem, had other problems. Out to an early start, they appeared headed for victory as they rounded the rock in the middle of the bay. It was a surprising start, given the confidence its captain, Giles Hobday, 29, expressed before launching the banana.
“It might be over pretty quickly,” he said, addressing the seaworthiness of the gigantic fruit. “Bananas don’t float either, so if it sinks, that’s OK.”
When that happened, it was passed in short order by the “Jaws” boat, which looked like a shark on shore before the top was removed. The canoe-like boat underneath foundered twice at the start, before it lightened its crew and got under way, slipping by the competition to win.
“It feels good to finally win,” said Harry VanWagenen, 62, who oversaw construction. “We’ll have to see if we can keep it going.”
Last, but undaunted, was the Sunrise Center’s Message in a Bottle, which, like the mermaids, suffered from navigation rather than floatation. Kim Voaden, 38, director of the center, said all of Sunrise’s disabled clientele contributed to the project.
“This is our effort to get our clients out here,” Ms. Voaden said, “and to make a statement that anyone can do it.”
Unless, you are in a giant banana.