PELL CITY — With seven weeks to go, now is the time to start thinking about boat designs and begin constructing a cardboard and duct tape vessel for this year’s “Float ’Yer Boat” Regatta.
“We have made several changes this year to the program itself, hoping to make the Regatta more of a total event,” said Matt Mitcham, president of the Pell City Civitan Club, which hosts the Regatta.
The 8th Annual “Float ’Yer Boat” Regatta is Aug. 25 at Lakeside Park in Pell City.
“We moved the start of the event later in the day, which will help accommodate the out-of-town entries,” Mitcham said.
Check-in, inspection and prejudging of boats is from 9-11 a.m. the day of the race. At 11 a.m., all boats will be staged for races. From 11 a.m. until the end of lunch, the Civitans will sell hot dogs, hamburgers, T-shirts and more.
“We will have inner tube and air mattress races, adults and youth, from noon until 1 p.m.,” Mitcham said. “There is no registration or fees to participate in those races, just bring your inner tubes and air mattresses.”
Regatta boat races are 1-3 p.m., with race awards announced at 3:30 p.m.
“We have redone our categories to create a more fair and fun racing environment,” Mitcham said. “We will have a challenge series at the end of the races, like we did last year, and also a demolition derby.”
Mitcham said the Logan Martin Lake Protection Association will have a booth with lake information.
“We will also have raffle items including gift cards to Home Depot, Bass Pro Shops, a beach vacation condo package and a race package for driving school at the Talladega Superspeedway,” he said.
Registration for Class I non-profit (individuals) is $25, Class II non-profit (churches, civic clubs, charities) is $40 and Class II for-profit (business and industry) is $50. The Regatta is a fundraiser that benefits the Pell City Toys for Children Program, which helps needy children at Christmas.
“We have more awards this year as well,” Mitcham said.
Awards based on time include:
• Youth - The fastest one or two man vessel in race trials.
• Adult - The fastest one or two man vessel in race trials.
• Youth - The swiftest 3 or more man vessel in race trials.
• Adult - The swiftest 3 or more man vessel in race trials.
• Fastest Finisher of Grudge Match Finals.
• Swiftest Boat in the Flotilla Race.
Awards not based on time include:
• Pint Size Pirate Award - Crew average age 12 years and under.
• Old Geezer Award – Crew average age 55 years and over.
• Most enthusiastic crew.
• Largest and loudest fan base.
• How ever did we make it?
• Best creative, unusual or unique boat design.
• Award Best “clean” boat name.
• Best costume and theme.
• Ugly duckling boat.
• Largest vessel to finish race with crew inside.
• Smallest vessel to finish race with crew inside.
• Best Hurry Up & Get It Made Boat Award — It’s not pretty, but it’s ours!
• Mississippi Paddlewheeler Award — If no paddlewheel entries, it goes to the hardest paddlin’ team.
• Best Low-Rider Vessel.
• We Didn’t Get Anything But Wet.
• Gray Lady Down Award — We didn’t have a chance from the start.
• Youth/Parent Award — Distinguished themselves in the parent/youth race.
• Demolition Derby — Last boat floating with entire crew inside.
• Titanic Award — Spectacular sinking after more than 50 feet of travel. You must try to save your ship!
“We may have more awards based on registration,” he said.
Mitcham said the boat building rules and regulations are the same as last year. The approved materials are: corrugated cardboard, duct tape, silicone sealant, construction adhesive, paint and paraffin wax.
Float ’Yer Boat Rules:
• Boats must be made only from the materials on the materials list. If, upon inspection, the boat has been made with illegal materials it will be disqualified from the race and any other competition associated with the regatta. The materials are: corrugated cardboard, duct tape, silicone sealant, construction adhesive, paint and paraffin wax.
• No contact of vessels or splashing of water during the race.
• No motors of any type may be used during the competition.
• All participants must wear approved Coast Guard life preservers.
• Boats in Adult and Youth Classes are restricted to a maximum of two occupants; the Team Class will be allowed eight occupants per boat.
• During the competition, all crew must be in the boat, no towing, holding it between your legs, or using the life jacket to provide floatation.
• No alcohol. Judges reserve the right to disqualify any competitor they deemed impaired.
• Boats must be free of sharp edges, pointy objects or other hazards.
Several tips on constructing your boat:
• Decide on design and sketch it. It can be any size.
• Do the bottom of the boat first. Use two-to-three layers of cardboard glued together and weighed down and let it set.
• Cut the side pieces. Cut against the grain of the corrugated cardboard to ensure durability.
• Glue sides to bottom. Let glue set.
• Carefully cover any seam with duct tape.
• Waterproof inside and out.
• Paint and decorate the boat.
• You can also search “build a cardboard boat” online for more suggestions.
For more information about the annual “Float ’Yer Boat” Regatta call Matt Mitcham at 205-338-3534.