Katy Dionne

Katy Dionne

Nanaimo’s silly boats stay afloat

The Silly Boat Regatta drew thousands of people to Maffeo Sutton Park on Sunday for a fundraiser for the Nanaimo Child Development Centre.

The boats were silly, yet they were still seaworthy.

The annual Silly Boat Regatta drew thousands of people to Maffeo Sutton Park on Sunday for a highly successful fundraiser for the Nanaimo Child Development Centre.

Superette Foods won the championship by a comfortable margin in the final, ringing the bell in one minute, 59.37 seconds.

Luke Dionne of the winning team said the title means a lot to Superette.

“This is our bathtub race. This is what we look forward to every year,” he said. “It’s become a tradition for Superette and it’s just great for the community.”

He said his team has learned from experience the advantage of a fast start to try to beat the traffic around the buoy.

“The first 20 seconds is just 100 per cent. There’s no synchronicity, it’s just paddle as hard as you can,” he said.

His team was competing in honour of a co-worker, Bill Lysell, who recently died, and Dionne said it was like having a fifth paddler in the boat.

Erica Horsfield, communications officer with the child development centre, was impressed with the finalists, but loved the creativity of all the vessels and enjoyed seeing different kinds of boat-building on display. All told, it was a great day at the park.

“I’ve always been absolutely amazed by what Nanaimo does to come together and support a cause. I think it’s so special,” she said.

Horsfield didn’t have an estimate yet as far as funds raised, but was optimistic. She said the Silly Boat Regatta is such an important fundraiser for the child development centre because the money raised is undesignated funds.

“What that means is that we can use that money in the way to best benefit most families at the centre,” she said.

RBC won the Team Spirit award, Generations Church was chosen Super Silliest Boat, and Long Lake Chiropractic, The Well and Arbour Wellness Centre were Super Silliest Sailors. Mercedes-Benz Nanaimo won Super Silliest Costumes and Costco was First to Sink.

Long Lake Chiropractic was top corporate fundraiser at $6,543, the child development centre was top community fundraiser at $1,275 and the Herrington Family and Friends were the top family fundraiser.