A few got “that sinking feeling” and capsized along the course, but many of the 25-plus vessels competing in Sunday’s Schooner Wharf Minimal Regatta in Key West intrepidly stayed afloat.
Rules of the offbeat regatta required each team to build a boat from a sheet of 4-by-8-foot plywood, two 8-foot-long two-by-fours, a 60-yard roll of duct tape and a pound of fasteners.
With minimal materials and maximum inventiveness, they “made a splash” in front of hundreds of Memorial Day weekend revelers gathered to watch the fun.
A holiday weekend tradition in the Florida Keys, the regatta took place off the Schooner Wharf Bar in the Key West Historic Seaport.
Teams’ “designated passengers” were charged with keeping their boats afloat long enough to complete the regatta’s short course. Imaginative themed entries and costumes were encouraged.
Some teams’ clever designs outweighed their seaworthiness. Notable examples included a replica of Key West’s iconic Southernmost Point monument, which quickly overturned and dunked its “captain.”
One vessel illustrated the meaning of Memorial Day weekend. Decorated with American flags and painted to resemble a flag, it paid tribute to fallen and missing military heroes.
Prizes were awarded for the fastest boats, most creative designs, best paint jobs, best costumes and sportsmanship — while teams tried to avoid getting the dreaded “sinker” awards that recognized the least seaworthy vessels.