Ray Alley, Tom Hudson and McLean Hudson Victors in Cardboard Canoe Races. On Saturday 08 September, the Music City Power Squadron team took their cardboard canoe to participate in the Inaugural Cardboard Boat Regatta at Clarksville's annual Riverfest. Of the twenty-one official entries, eighteen made it to the river to compete over the 100 yard course. The boats were divided into four classes “ adult, adult-youth, corporate and church. The first two were limited to no more than two paddlers, while the other classes could have no more than eight aboard. All boats were limited to 10' in length, and could only be made from cardboard, construction adhesive, duct tape, silicone caulk, and paint.
Starting on Friday of Labor Day weekend, Liz and Ray Alley and Tom Hudson collaborated on the design, starting with a sketch on the back of a paper plate. On Sunday and Monday, Ray and Tom completed the boat's basic construction. Tuesday through Friday were devoted to painting and decorating; many coats of latex paint helped insure the craft's watertight integrity. Liz and Shannon Alley, as well as new member Hal Whetstone, participated in the painting, and Liz did the lettering of the name BOX TOP on the transom.
Saturday morning broke overcast with a temperature in the low 70s. BOX TOP was loaded into the bed of Ray's truck, and the team traveled up I-24 to Exit 11. After checking in at the registration tent and attaching burgee and ensign, we scoped out the competition as the judges inspected each vessel. Occasional light rain began to take its toll on poorly painted craft. There were three fairly small and sleek craft, one of which UNDER CONSTRUCTION eventually won the corporate class for the Actus team from Ft. Campbell; Thai Kitchen's dragon boat was unstable and too small, and capsized at the starting line, as did the father-daughter team of SLEEPY BLUE in our heat. So our real competition was the AQUA HERO team, who easily won the first heat. Between our heats, we watched the action, as several boats sank, capsized and/or unfolded. Several others were basically unmaneuverable crates with paint on the sides; the team from the Kennedy Law Firm would have made better time if they had just drifted with the slight current, instead of arguing and paddling against one another. The Trane employees' entry came in second in the corporate class, while NOAH'S ARK won the church class; both had good teamwork among their paddlers.
The last heat of the day pitted the boat of Clarksville Parks and Recreation Department against City Council's entry. Parks and Rec claimed they intentionally lost to insure their funding for the coming budget year, but it looked like they were trying hard anyway.
After the final heat, awards were presented. The Music City BOX TOP team won two first place trophies in the adult (Ray and Tom) and adult-youth (Tom and McLean) classes, as well as the Cardboard Queen award for best looking boat. Actus won the award for team spirit; they had about twenty people all wearing day-glo chartreuse tee-shirts to cheer on their two paddlers. AQUA HERO won the award for best team costumes, as both paddlers wore matching authentic Navy caps, tee-shirts and dungarees. The OLIVER won the Titanic award for most spectacular sinking.
Will we return to defend our reputation next year? Ray already has a few ideas on how we might improve BOX TOP.
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