On Saturday, seven sloops fashioned from discarded articles and foraged flotsam competed for awards in the first ever “Whatever Floats Your Boat Regatta,” at the Florida State University Coastal and Marine Laboratory.
The only requirement was that the vessels be cobbled together from recycled goods.
Mary Balthrop, a spokesperson for the event, said none of the fanciful flotilla actually sank during the crossing of the canal adjacent to the lab, but the “Palletdrome” sailing under Capt. Marjorie “Reviver” Turnbull won the “Titanic Award” for the most spectacular failure. In the words of the judges, the Palletdrome “entered the competition as a fine vessel and left as a mere shadow of herself.”
First to complete the crossing was the very seaworthy “FLO” created and crewed by Boy Scout Troop 8 from Crawfordville. FLO was composed of tree branches and scrap lumber lashed to empty plastic barrels.
Ninjas astride a giant plastic turtle stuffed with “bottles and anything that would float” won the prize for most creative use of materials. The “S.S. Turtle,” with Dayma Wasmund at the helm, was the creation of the FSU Aquatic Environmental Sciences Department.
Best costume award went to Co-Captains Jack and Bridget Martin aboard “Miss Mary’s Nemesis.”
Paddling enthusiast Katy Herzog of Carrabelle took the Peoples Choice prize for the “HMS Carrabelle,” a kayak constructed of aluminum beer cans.
Balthrop estimated 150 people attended, not including boaters in the regatta, and promised a bigger, better event next year.
Food was available from Posey’s of Panacea and there was music by the New 76ers.
Judges for this year’s event were Administrative Law Judge David Maloney, Mike Marshall from Marshall’s fiberglass in Carrabelle, Michelle Gardner of FSU Human Resources, Jim Muller, environmental attorney at Muller and Associates and chairman of the marine lab’s board of trustees.