Dave Haslam

Dave Haslam

Silly sailors: Annual Silly Boat Regatta raises money for Nanaimo Child Development Centre

NANAIMO – More than 40 teams participate in annual fundraiser at Swy-a-lana Lagoon.



Some of the Silly Boats were seaworthy and some spilled, but all the sailors splashed back to the beach in high spirits.

The annual Silly Boat Regatta at Maffeo Sutton Park drew thousands of people and raised more than $106,000 for Nanaimo’s Child Development Centre.

“Everywhere I looked people were having fun,” said Michelle Kocourek, resource development coordinator at the CDC. “We’re trying to have a fun event, family oriented … raise awareness and raise money and we accomplished all of those.”

Forty-six teams entered this year, busily building their boats around the park in the morning leading up to the early afternoon’s races.

This year’s champion was the Huong Lan restaurant team, which constructed a paddlewheeler powered by two bicycle frames.

“That paddle was so powerful, so every time it spinned it was like four people paddling at the same time,” said Tom Vuu, team captain.

The Huong Lan team posted the day’s best time in the championship final, and it needed to, as it was pushed by the Generations Church team in a competitive race. Superette Foods placed third.

Vuu said his team had a lot of fun at the Silly Boat Regatta, and winning made it even better.

“It’s kind of cool. I think it’s going to raise the team morale around work,” he said. “They’re going to be happy about this for weeks.”

Silly Boat teams showed spirit on Sunday, win or lose. The Coast Bastion Inn’s vessel, a sturdy-looking plywood canoe, capsized before the occupants could even get their oars in the water.

“I’d like to think we’ll be back next year, with a different design,” said Sean McKee, one of the Coast Bastion team members.

He and his team members ended up swimming around the buoy and back with their boat; they didn’t show up to not complete the race, McKee said.

“We had a great time. Things didn’t go to our plan, but I’m happy that the event was successful.”

Old Navy won the Best Team Spirit award and the Faux family won the Little Tuck Award for youth team spirit. Long Lake Chiropractic won Super Silliest Sailors, the McKee family and friends won Super Silliest Boat and Generations Church won Silliest Costumes. Vision Arts won the First to Sink award.

Long Lake Chiropractic garnered the most pledges among corporate teams with $5,476; the Nanaimo Yacht Club was best among community teams with $3,670; and the McKee family raised the most in the family division with $1,247.