Vessel sinks but not spirits at cardboard boat regatta

Jul. 31—A small vessel sunk in Lafayette on Sunday, flanked by pirates and a small whale watching craft. The captain, Carter Aram, 20, and his first mate, Harper Arenson-Pie, 16, never abandoned their ship, despite only a mangled duct tape hull left to cling to by the time they returned to the ladder at the shallow end of the pool.

"I sunk with pride," said a breathless Aram, after competing against two other teams during the maiden cardboard boat regatta at the Great Outdoors Water Park. The lifeguard knew the irony of naming his boat "Titanic 2."

The brainchild of aquatics supervisor Morgan Skalla, participants in the regatta were challenged with constructing a boat from just two materials: cardboard and duct tape.

"This is the first year we've been able to offer programming at the pool, and we wanted to finish off the summer with something fun," said Skalla.

Although seven teams signed up, three boats turned out for the event. Wiley Mathis and Theodore Skull, both 10 years old, took an early lead with their row boat concept.

Constructed from various cardboard donated by neighbors and no fewer than six rolls of tape, they made it to the finish line leak-free, with smiles peeking out below their pirate hats.

"I cannot believe we won," beamed Mathis while he watched the whale watching boat approach the finish and the Titanic 2 crew swim their wad of pulp and adhesive back with side strokes and their chins up.

"I'm exhausted," said Ellis after the race.

Despite having a buoyant and sturdy base constructed from a television box, it couldn't compete with the streamlined shape of the pirate ship, which won the race with a time of 2 minutes, 26 seconds.

Families and pool guests cheered poolside during the race.

"What started out as a screen-free activity for the summer turned into so much fun for them," said Francisco's mom, Lisa.

Left with soggy, waterlogged crafts, Lisa thought the dumpster seemed like the final resting place for the whale boat.

"Or maybe we start the one and only maritime museum in Colorado," suggested Eric Ellis, Ginger's father. "It'll be a 10×20 (foot) space in my garage."