By FloridaKeysNewsBureau For EyesOnNews.com, May 24, 2015 – KEY WEST, Fla. — A wacky regatta in Key West, featuring cobbled-together watercraft made of thin plywood and duct tape, attracted 37 entries including a vessel dubbed “First Ferry to Cuba,” skippered by a man costumed as Cuban president Raul Castro.
“First Ferry,” an offbeat salute to the recent easing of restrictions for Americans traveling to Cuba, was a standout in Memorial Day weekend’s Schooner Wharf Minimal Regatta. “Castro” was abruptly drenched when the boat overturned midway through the course.
Rules of the offbeat Sunday afternoon event required each team to build a boat out of a single sheet of 4-by-8-foot plywood, two 8-foot-long two-by-fours, a roll of duct tape, a pound of fasteners and epoxy paint.
As hundreds of spectators cheered, team members attempted to pilot the regatta’s short course in Key West’s Historic Seaport while keeping their craft afloat longer than their competitors.
Among the most creative entries was the S.S. Stoker, named for “Dracula” author Bram Stoker. The coffin-shaped craft was navigated by a 12-year-old boy dressed as the fictional fanged vampire, who powered it with a paddle designed to resemble flying bats.
Many boats got “that sinking feeling,” including a rock-and-roll-themed entry that foundered and sank just off the dock.
Also notable was a dragon-headed boat piloted by a female “Viking” wielding an ornate replica sword.
Prizes were awarded for the fastest boats, most creative designs, best paint jobs, best costumes and sportsmanship — as well as the dreaded “sinker” awards recognizing the least seaworthy vessels.