By Marny MalinFebruary 12, 2009
FORT BELVOIR, Va. Aca,!" It was the boat with the least positive name of ODR Wreck that prevailed and sank the competition of Shark Attack and USS Never Sail during the first Cardboard Vessel Regatta, Saturday at Benyaurd Indoor Pool.
Designed to inspire a little community competition and fun between Fort Belvoir organizations, the regatta was organized by Anthony Poore, FMWR fitness coordinator.
"I had held one at my last venue at Fort Stewart a year ago that was successful. It was a great deal of fun for participants and spectators. It inspired camaraderie and competition. I want to encourage that here," said Poore.
Out of eight original entries, only three teams arrived with the courage, spirit and sense of humor necessary to compete, or, more appropriately, take the plunge.
Team MWR from Outdoor Recreation drew first and placed their Jon boat-inspired structure with camouflage paint in the water. "We drew our design from duck hunting and came up with the simple, but effective, design," stated, MWR's Erin Chidester. The boat was constructed entirely of cardboard and completed with an eight-point antler at the bow.
MWR's skipper, Terry Gibson, and shipmate, Daniel Mayer, started off strongly after an initial encounter with the pool line floats.
With Mayer at the helm, they made it to the end of the pool quickly and made the turn, pushing off the pool wall. The last leg was well underway when the aft section began to take on water.
Halfway to the finish, Gibson shouted, "We're sinking!" as she held on to the midsection with one hand and paddled with the other. It took encouragement from the sidelines for Mayer to continue the race as he momentarily doubled over with laughter.
Mayer then concentrated all his efforts in paddling and the ODR Wreck team finished in breathtaking fashion with a time of 3:52, good for first place. Last-minute duct tape reinforcement of the boat's middle for stability appeared to be the determining factor in the vessel's seaworthiness.
Team Joey, also from MWR, consisted of Joey Pick, Herb Lechuga and Victoria Miller. Their entry was a high-sided design, painted with the Mexican flag and decorated with hand-drawn eagles. They won the award for the most fantastic sinking, with paddlers Pick and Miller's ship sinking not just once but twice in a time of 1:06, traveling a total of 12 feet. Pick admitted it was a lot of fun, a learning experience and quickly stated his intent to return and be triumphant in the summer regatta, "We will prevail," vowed Pick.
Romel Voellm, Andrew Pollard and Katie Amaya formed Team Romel. While they took home the award for best looking boat, they quickly found out that once in the water, looks do not matter, as they sank their ship in 50 seconds.
FMWR's Poore is looking forward to organizing another regatta this summer at one of the outdoor pools.