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Cardboard boat race a crowd pleaser at new location

Becky Vargo • Jul 31, 2017 at 9:00 AM

Crowds cheered and groaned as competitors tipped and sank during the 2017 Coast Guard Festival Cardboard Boat Race held Saturday afternoon at Waterfront Stadium.

More than 20 boats participated in the second year of the event.

Lots of motor boats going out the river churned up the channel and a strong breeze made it difficult for some of the larger cardboard boats to get around the buoy marking the halfway point of the race.

Boat-A-Float took the Iceberg Award, sinking in three seconds in the first race of the day. The boat was piloted by Breece Gibson and Josie Churchley. A few other boats made it a little farther before sinking.

A man and two young children continued to power ahead as their catamaran sank partway through its last race. When the little girl lost her paddle, a crew member of the competing boat passed it back to her.

The pirate ship, Black Pearl, took the People’s Choice award and the Boatswain’s Award.

Crew members Pete Haines of Spring Lake, Nathan Huddleston of Manchester, Larry Taylor of Norton Shores and Patrick Robey of Holland, said they agreed their boat had to be from “Pirates of the Caribbean.”

Photo Gallery: Cardboard Boat Races

“We just started taping boxes together and put some Thompson’s Sealer on it,” Haines said.

Siblings Joe, 11, and Leilany, 10 Teasley of Grand Haven said it took a couple of weeks to build their boat, U.S. Magellan.

Leilany designed it and Joe “is the muscles,” said their dad, Kyle Teasley.

The boat was built with the help of Kyle’s co-workers at Coastal Container of Holland.

The Pride of the Fleet Award, which goes to the boat showing the most Coast Guard spirit, went to the U.S.S. Journeyman, crewed by Robert Erskine and Aaron Wenzlick

In the speed races. Lizian, crewed by Elizabeth Mowery and Lian Colbry, took Buoy Class Pair in a time of 1 minute, 11 seconds. Moana, staring Coast Guard Festival interns Andrew Haring and Mikaela Ederer, won the Cutter Class Pair in 59 seconds. Doxin Dinghy, from Haven Animal Hospital, took first place in the Cutter Class Crew with a time of 1 minute, 27 seconds. The crew members were: Alicia Proefrock, Chelsea Boomgaard, Cassy Anderson, Karla Born, Gabrielle Scott and Collette Mendez.

Organizer Brandon Davis said it was another great year for the event.

“Beautiful weather, wonderful crowd and plenty of wet cardboard,” he said. “I can only imagine how big this event will be next year.”

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