Some sank at the dock before taking off. Some were sinking as they pulled back into the dock to complete the race. At least one was only a few feet from completing the race when it went under.
They were cardboard and duct tape boats created by Girl Scouts at Camp Cahinnio’s annual cardboard regatta Saturday afternoon.
“We have girls from all across our council, most of Arkansas, little bit of Oklahoma, little bit of Texas, come and build boat,” said Sarah Hyndman of the Girl Scouts Diamonds. “We’ve got girls from 5-years old to 18-years old putting their engineering skills to the test.”
Texarkana, Crossett, Walnut Ridge, Rogers, Bella Vista and Booneville were represented during the weekend.
Hyndman said the girls attended an engineering session just prior to attempting to crafting a lake-worthy vessel. They must do so in only two hours and the project must be all girl lead with the exception of adults being permitted to tear tape for the youngest girls.
“They build some incredible boats,” Hyndman adds. “They cut, they built, they design, and then they race.”
Prior to that an evaluation for compliance and girls reveal the inspiration of design.
The boats must travel 20 feet from the dock to a buoy, remove a ring from the buoy and return to the dock, all without sinking, or losing a crew member, which and be two to four girls.
“It’s harder than it looks,” Hyndman said.
The girls are also wearing life jackets, there are lifeguards and others in the water watching in case something goes awry.
The regatta has grown in recent years, especially in the older girl divisions. Saturday there were 15 boats in the cadettes/seniors/ambassadors in the final girls only competition, about three times the number of teams from just two years ago.
There were so many racers overall the expected race time was increased by an hour.
Because the event has turned into a family affair, there was also a family competition involving parents, siblings and others.
A full scale event, the were also camping activities like fire building and horseback riding to complete the weekend.