By Jan Beecher
The News Bulletin
After a high-energy day of creativity, innovation and silliness, Superette Foods took the final heat in the Nanaimo Child Development Centre’s Silly Boat Regatta in just two minutes, two seconds.
Sunday’s 27th annual regatta had 40 teams race in eight heats followed by the grand finale.
Paddles, pedals and fins propelled the floating contraptions from Swy-a-lana Lagoon, around the buoy in Nanaimo Harbour and back to the beach to ring the bell.
The event raised more than $100,000 for CDC, attracted more than 10,000 people and kept everyone laughing.
The four-man Superette Foods team won the second heat in its Styrofoam-walled, tub-like boat, and then went on to win the grand finale against winners of the other seven heats – Casino Nanaimo, Royal Bank, Kyto Salon, Best Buy, Nanaimo Child Development Centre, Vancouver Island Exhibition and Vancouver Island Dyslexia Association.
Superette’s team has competed for five years and raised $957 this year.
“Superette’s just all about community,” said Katie Dionne.
Even though Superette won the grand finale, it wasn’t the fastest team.
The First to Finish award went to the Nanaimo CDC team, propelled by the flippers of Michelle Lantaigne, an occupational therapist at the centre. Their time was 1:28 in their heat.
Casino Nanaimo Card Sharks won the Super Silliest Boat award.
Their boat was designed by Brienne Gogo and Scott Hand using rainwater barrels, duct tape and Styrofoam. The result was canoe-like, but the details, including dice on the paddles and shark-fin hats, clearly gave an edge in the silly department.
The Card Sharks raised $2,200.
Although Royal LePage Nanaimo Realty Pirates received the dubious First to Sink award, that’s only because their vessel didn’t sink until they started racing.
As announced by a yelp from one of their paddlers, Island Timberland Products was truly the first to go under – their boat began to capsize almost as soon as it hit the water. But the team refused to give up, tying the boat together as they waited for the race to start.
Two Shiver-me-timbers team members, along with pieces of their vessel, eventually completed the course.
Boat building began at 8 a.m. on Sunday.
Silly boat builders had four hours to create their regatta entry, which had to comply with the rules: boats must be assembled on site and boats can be made of any recycled materials.
With that in mind, it’s amazing what people turned into a boat.
The main ingredients were duct tape, 20-litre water bottles and Styrofoam, but plenty of wood, bicycles and papier mâché were on hand as well.
Every team seemed to have a different game plan.
For Long Lake Chiropractic, looks were everything. Its boat was designed with a giraffe as a figurehead.
“They have seven cervical vertebrae, just like us,” explained Shawn Thomas, skipper of the long-necked boat.
The six-paddler team wore sailor caps, giraffe-print neck pillows and paper giraffe masks. At the base of the giraffe’s neck was a sign that said, “You think your neck hurts.”
The team raised $3,021. Unfortunately, giraffes aren’t known for their agility in water.
Coast Capital Savings was the corporate sponsor for the Silly Boat Regatta, but that wasn’t enough. The Coast Capsizers team had high competitive hopes this year.
“Our goal is to get into the [final] heat. Apparently our boat will sail to Hawaii and back,” said Lisa Deleeuw, team spokeswoman. “We changed our design at the last minute.”
The new design was developed by Coast Capital financial planner Mike Cutler and his dad, Ross.
The HMS Arbie team, manned by members of the Royal Bank, hoped to defend its status as “Best Team Spirit,” an honour held in both 2010 and 2008. The team raised close to $1,400.
They lost the team spirit award to a bunch of Care Bears from the Vancouver Island University Child and Youth Care Program.
“We put together a little Care Bear chant,” said Kristie Irvine, her face painted complete with a blue heart on her nose.
Apparently, the judges loved it.
A regular bar-room brawl broke out in the seventh heat.
With the Howard Johnson, The Cambie, Earl’s and The Foundry Pub all in the same race, it was no surprise.
The team from the Foundry, armed with yellow water balloons, started bombing the competition.
The crew from the Howard Johnson were prepared for the attack – and were quick to respond. Their paddles happened to be snow shovels, which were effective for catapulting gallons of water on the Foundry team.
Team Spirit: VIU Child and Youth Care Program
Super Silliest Sailors: Curves
Super Silliest Boat: Casino Nanaimo
Super Silliest Costumes: Swimwear Etc.
Most Pledges Raised – Corporate: Island Savings
Most Pledges Raised – Family/Community: E.T. Church
First to Finish: Nanaimo Child Development Centre (1:28)
First to Sink: Royal LePage Nanaimo Realty
Grand Champions: Superette Foods