Lake Ellyn’s Iconic Cardboard Regatta Set for Saturday, July 1, 2017

Posted on: June 1, 2017

Somehow, boats made almost exclusively out of cardboard set out upon Lake Ellyn every summer, each carrying intrepid sailors, seemingly defying the laws of physics as they glide across the lake’s surface.

But those laws of physics actually do apply, confirmed by the occasional reinforced paper vessel’s unceremonious failure as it sinks below the surface.

It’s all in good fun. In fact, along with an award for the fastest cardboard floating contraption, there’s recognition for the Best Sinking at the Lake Ellyn Cardboard Regatta.

And, for safety’s sake, all those aboard the creatively decorated watercraft are decked out in life preservers.

Preparations are in full swing for this year’s cardboard boat race, which is set for 12 p.m. Saturday, July 1, 2017.

The race fee for each team is $50 per boat and may consist of up to 8 participants. Each boat-building team will receive 20 sheets of corrugated cardboard. Divisions are available for youths (ages 9-17) and adults (age 18 & up). New this year, a division is also available for families.

The registration deadline for boat teams is 12 p.m. June 30. Please visit www.gepark.org/regatta for registration details. Registration is accepted at the Main Street Recreation Center, 501 Hill Avenue, Glen Ellyn from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays, and from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Saturday.

Cardboard will be distributed at the Main Street Recreation Center. Boats must be made only of corrugated cardboard; extra cardboard may be added to the allotment provided by the park district. Boat-builders may use glue, tape and paint on their boats, but epoxy glue/paint is not allowed.

Also, the hull may not be covered in duct tape. Construction details and compliance with rules will be checked by inspectors prior to the race. On race day, each boat captain will be given a pennant with a race number to attach to the front of the boat.

Paddles will be provided by the park district, kayak paddles are prohibited.

Participants may wear their own life vests or ones provided by the park district. All crew must be visible to the judges and dive team during the race.

At Regattas through the years, fanciful boats have been entered in the race.  Imaginative designs are encouraged. There’s an award for the most creative boat. And there’s also an award for the boat-building group with the most team spirit.

“My favorite one years ago was somebody built a Lego boat that looked like it was made of Legos,” said Jeannie Robinson, assistant superintendent of recreation services. “And everybody talks about the Energizer Bunny one. It was 15 feet tall.”

“My favorite memory is the 100-foot boat. They were trying to break the world record,” said Mary Defiglia, assistant superintendent of special facilities. “All was okay until they tried to pass the buoy. It split in half.”

Robinson said sailors guide their vessels around two buoys, traveling about 75 feet out from the shoreline, 50 feet across the lake and 75 feet back to shore.

Race day starts at 9 a.m. with boat check-ins and inspections. The event opens to the public at 10 a.m. The Food Truck Picnic in the Park, where more than a dozen food trucks will be open for business, begins at 11 a.m. The new Carnivale Food Truck, Toasty Cheese, Toasty Taco and Slide Ride will be among the choices available.

The races begin at 12 p.m. July 1.

“They race in heats,” said Robinson. Racing is usually done by 2:30 or 3 p.m., she said.

First and second place finishers in each division will receive trophies during a post-race awards ceremony, she said.

The Lake Ellyn Cardboard Regatta is free for spectators to attend.

The 2017 event is sponsored, in part, by 1776 Senior Care and Glen Ellyn Bank & Trust.

For more information, please visit www.gepark.org/regatta.

 

POSTED: June 1, 2017