Sink or Swim in Little Sturgeon Days’ Cardboard Boat Regatta

A new event will be included in the schedule for Little Sturgeon Days this weekend: cardboard boat races.

Little Sturgeon Area Property Owners Association puts on the festival each year. The association’s new president, Mike Martin, suggested the addition of the boat races after learning about other festivals with similar competitions. Celebrate De Pere, which took place in May, included a “Redneck Regatta” where competitors raced – and sank – homemade boats on the Fox River. Marina Fest, which is held over Labor Day Weekend in Sister Bay, has also featured cardboard boat regattas in the past.

“It’s nothing I’ve ever experienced personally, but I’ve heard great stories about them,” Martin said. “It’s going to be a new experience for all of us.”

Competitors must rely on their engineering abilities and creativity to keep their cardboard creations afloat. The rules for the contest, which are located on the festival’s website, prohibit fiberglass resins, flex seal, and epoxy glues – basically any materials that would make the craft impermeable. The boat – if it floats – must then traverse the regatta course. The vessel that completes the course in the shortest amount of time will win.

Beyond creating boats that are actually buoyant, Martin hopes contestants will get imaginative with their designs.

“We really encourage people to decorate their boats,” he said. “Making the crafts look like a pirate ship or a race car – and maybe even having crew costumes to match – adds more fun for both crewmembers and spectators alike.”

Martin reported there are already a few contenders. A handful of musicians from the Pulaski marching band, which will be marching in the Little Sturgeon Days parade, have signed up to compete.

“There are probably four or five so far,” Martin said. “They’re planning to build their boats on Saturday to compete on Sunday.”

While the competition happens fairly close to shore, Martin says safety measures have been arranged. All participants must provide their own personal floatation devices in order to compete, and rescue pontoon boats will be on hand in cases where a craft does not stay afloat. Anyone under the age of 18 will also need to complete a parent waiver form.

The Little Sturgeon Days regatta will take place in the harbor at Wave Pointe Marina & Resort at 2 pm on Sunday, June 26.

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