A dozen boats floated (or didn’t) for charity at the third annual Cardboard Boat Race on Maiden Lake. Ezra Black/The Free Press

Cardboard boat regatta on Maiden Lake

On its inaugural voyage, Willie Westerby’s boat immediately sank after being pushed into Maiden Lake during the second annual Cardboard Boat Race.

This year, for the third annual Cardboard Boat Race, he was taking no chances.

He and builder Eric Mutcher constructed an astoundingly seaworthy vessel complete with an outrigger and thwarts. Armed with a kayak paddle, Westerby easily finished the race, well ahead of the closest competitor.

“We learned the hard way,” said Westerby. “Last year’s design didn’t go so well. It sunk about three feet off shore. It was a bit on the top heavy side so we decided to go with stability this year.”

“Stability was the answer.”

Sponsored by Cook’s Electrical Services, the local business provided the materials and space for the boat’s construction, he said.

Mutcher reportedly stayed up very late the previous night to finish its construction.

“The only thing I did was help paddle,” said Westerby.

Using cardboard, duct tape and a few other odds and ends, a number of eager citizens became amateur shipwrights, using their skill and ingenuity to transform these materials into vessels for the water. On Saturday, over 200 people lined the lakeshore and watched as the finely engineered creations crossed – and in some cases sank into – its waters.

Fernie’s Elks Lodge organized the event and is donating all proceeds from entry fees to the club’s Royal Purple Cross Fund for Children. Mutcher and Westerby are both Elks members and said they’d be donating their $400 prize to the Fernie Friends for Friends Foundation.

The boats were split into two groups for the races; one if they’d been sponsored by a business and the other for private citizens who’d gone it alone.

All boats had to be built from non-waxed cardboard, tape and paint. The race had competitors make their way across the lake, switched paddlers and then return to the beach.

Coming in a distant second was Lady Literacy, sponsored by the Fernie Heritage Library and CIBC and paddled by Wolfie Weixelbaum and Daniel McRae. Constructed water-tight and sturdy out of used watermelon crates from the grocery store, the boat was built by Xavier Vaughan, Sarah Buchan, Emmanuel Juneau and Maria Landa.

The first race of the day was won by Zion, Diesel and India Hughes who paddled their boat to victory after several of their competitors’ vessels became waterlogged and surrendered themselves to the murky deep.

Just Posted

Driver of RV in Hosmer collision reported in stable condition

Collision occurred in Hosmer on September 5 and involved a semi truck, an RV and a school bus

Arts Station dumpsters beautify Fernie

The Arts Station dumpster art program and contest was a success in… Continue reading

New administrators for Elk Valley schools

Erin Hay promoted to principal for FSS, Ian Jarrell promoted to vice-principal for ESS

Burn rules loosen in Kootenays as weather eases fire concerns

Category 2 and 3 fires will be allowed in most areas — but know the regulations

Final year for Tears and Gears

Popular event holds happy memories for valley athletes

VIDEO: Prosecutors to consider charges in human-caused 2017 B.C. wildfire

RCMP forwards results of its investigation into Elephant Hill fire to Crown counsel

Bear killed in Kimberley after chasing girl, wreaking havoc on town

This particular brown-coloured bear has been the subject of many calls this summer; very food habituated, CO says

Police investigate after intoxicated teens clash with security at B.C. fair

18-year-old woman arrested and RCMP looking at possible assault in Victoria-area fall fair incident

BC SPCA investigating after three dogs found shot dead in Prince George ditch

The three adult dogs appeared to be well cared for before being found with gunshot wounds, BC SPCA says

Boy overdosed on illicit anti-anxiety drug found on Kelowna classroom floor, RCMP say

Noah Mills, 8, ingested a pink powdery substance off his Kelowna classroom floor

Psychiatric assessment ordered for man accused in Salmon Arm church shooting

Lawyer tells court accused was diagnosed with psychosis hours after his arrest

Surrey mom allegedly paid $400,000 for son in U.S. college bribery scam

Xiaoning Sui, 48, was arrested in Spain on Monday night

Winnipeg student, killed in bus crash, remembered as passionate, kind

University of Victoria student Emma Machado, 18, was killed in the bus crash near Bamfield on Friday

B.C. offers early retirement, training fund for forest workers

Communities eligible for $100,000 for permanent closures

Most Read