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Innaugural Clarendon Hills boat regatta is a splash hit

Published: Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014 8:30 a.m. CDT
(Zachary White -
Siblings Charlie and Abby Nordby sail their ice cream cone shaped boat Saturday in the Cardboard Boat Regatta at Lions Park Pool. Even though they lost their ice cream scoop prior to the start of the race, the two still won the most creative award for their craft.
(Zachary White -
Siblings Wesley and Summer Ryan, of Clarendon Hills, paddle their boat Saturday during the inaugural Cardboard Boat Regatta at Lions Park Pool. The Ryans had the fastest time on the race course.
(Zachary White -
Participants stand around the awards table Saturday to see which ships took home the hardware.

CLARENDON HILLS – Five teams took to the water Saturday to race their handmade boats against the clock.

A battle of strategy and wits, maritime law was thrown overboard, and the only stipulations that steered these sails were that everything, from boat to oars, had to be made of just cardboard and duct tape.

The inaugural launching of the Clarendon Hills Park District Cardboard Boat Regatta sailed smoothly Saturday, as the treacherous waters of Lyons Park Pool claimed no victims during any of the timed races.

Park District Recreation Marketing Supervisor Darcy Gans said the idea of a full-size cardboard boat race came from the new aquatics supervisor Laura Reinke.

"I think it was and will become a very popular event," Gans said.

When the time trials ended Saturday, three awards were given out.

Siblings Wesley and Summer Ryan captained the fastest boat, while classmates Sallie Keiner and Lindsey Vaikutis won the award for the largest vessel, and siblings Charlie and Abby Nordby took the crown for most the creative ship, a boat that resembled an ice cream cone.

“They did all the sprinkles and stuff but It’s melted now,” their father Bill Nordby said of the sopping wet ice cream cone that laid on the side of the pool.

While the children were the ones who raced the vessels, the parents also had chance to jump in and go for a ride – and in most cases, sinking their ships.

Joe Vaikutis and Jeff Keiner, of Clarendon Hills, took the boat their daughters had named Sal-Lin, after their own names Sallie and Lindsay, out for a spin.

He said the ship had taken somewhere between 25 and 30 rolls of duct tape to build, and in places the cardboard was two pieces thick.

“That’s what we read on the Internet," Vaikutis said. "Every piece of cardboard that's going to hit the water has got to be covered in duct tape because it immediately collapses,”

Although many ships had to be retired to the dumpster, Gans assumed participants there will be another boat regatta in 2015.

"[We] are hopeful that more families will be participating next year," she said.



A regatta is a series of boat races done primarily by amateur competitors. Typically, regattas are racing events for water craft that are either rowed or sailed. Although regattas can be organized as a championship style race, they are usually held for camaraderie, competition, and promotion of the sport of boat racing.

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