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Nanaimo getting ready to build and sail Silly Boats

Silly Boat Regatta, benefiting the Nanaimo Child Development Centre, happens July 16
The Silly Boat Regatta will return to Nanaimo’s harbour on Sunday, July 16 for a day of boat building, racing and family activities. (News Bulletin file photo)

Nanaimo residents are once again preparing to determine who will sink or swim in the Salish Sea at the 37th annual Silly Boat Regatta.

On Sunday, July 16, one of Nanaimo’s premier events will return for a day of boat building and racing at Maffeo Sutton Park, as well as entertainment, food and drink as part of a fundraiser for the Nanaimo Child Development Centre.

Teams will start with building their boat out of recycled materials at the park, and hopefully create a vessel they can paddle from the shore out to a buoy in Nanaimo Harbour and back.

Related: Pirates, clowns and other sailors put their best paddle forward at Silly Boat Regatta

Carson Papke, spokesperson for the Slegg Building Materials team, said although the crew has never won, he feels good about this year as “a lot of good construction people and boat builders” could provide an advantage.

He said the Slegg team has been competing in the Silly Boat races for at least eight years now.

“It’s enjoyable for all of us to get out into the community and just have some good old-fashioned competition with some other local businesses,” said Papke. “We like being out there to support the community that supports us and we really enjoy getting the staff together, putting everything together and in the water and just seeing how it goes.”

Along with the races, the event will have bouncy castles, a kids’ pirate adventure school and pirate parade, and performances from local artists including Canada’s Got Talent finalist Raymond Salgado and America’s Got Talent semifinalists Funkanometry.

On Friday, July 14, the development centre is also hosting a comedy night at the Port Theatre with U.S.-based entertainer Jason Hewlett to kick off the weekend, and all proceeds will go toward the CDC’s family development programs.

Kimberlee Howland, a regatta organizer with the child development centre, said the goal this year is to sell out drinks and comedy show tickets.

Boats can start being assembled at 8 a.m. and teams have four hours to finish and have their boats judged. The first race is expected to start at 1 p.m. Anyone looking to donate to the child development centre can do so by visiting

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Bailey Seymour

About the Author: Bailey Seymour

After graduating from SAIT and stint with the Calgary Herald, I ended up at the Nanaimo News Bulletin/Ladysmith Chronicle in March 2023
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