Nearly 20 teams put their boat-building and racing skills to the test as they gathered Saturday at the Training Area 250 lake for the 2020 Cardboard Boat Race.
The annual event, held by Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, invites two-person teams to construct their own watercraft using only a few, specific materials in addition to cardboard. Teams then compete to see which vessel can complete an out-and-back course in the least amount of time.
“It went really well, (and the competitors) all had a good time,” said LoraLee Neubeck with the FMWR Installation Wide Events Office.
The competition took place in two divisions, an adult division for crew members 18 and older and a family division, where at least one crew member was under the age of 17.
The Torpedo Awards, presented for the fastest times, went to the Not CID team, who finished in 2 minutes, 6 seconds in the adult division, and the Sam Jam team, who finished in 2:49 in the family division.
“Not CID came across the finish line pretty fast; they were really moving,” Neubeck said. “And Sam Jam — for a family team, that’s a really good time.”
Other winners in the adult division included the Abstract Art team, who won the Admiral’s Pride Award for the best overall watercraft, and the Row Row Warriors, who won the High Seas Award for having the most team spirit.
This year’s family division had the distinction of having two recipients of the Titanic Award, given annually for “most amazing sinking.” The teams Raptor Fish and X Marks the Spot both took home the awards after their vessels took on water and capsized.
“We didn’t really have an adult team that (sank) this year, so we presented both awards to family division teams,” Neubeck said.
This was the third consecutive year the X Marks the Spot team of Alex Cauler and his son, Kegan, 7, participated in the race. Cauler said it took about three days to construct their boat, but only a few moments to realize it wasn’t as seaworthy as he believed.
“I had every confidence in its ability to float,” he said. “The problem was that the boat was too narrow and had a high center of gravity. When we were in the boat, it was unsteady and kept tipping on us.”
Undaunted, Cauler said he plans on entering the competition next year.
“My family loves to do the cardboard boat race,” he explained. “It was fun to see the different kinds of boats and all the families go for a swim. We had fun and we will definitely be doing one again.”
Other winners in the family division included the General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital Radiology team, who earned the Admiral’s Pride Award, and the Parabellum team, who took home the High Seas Award.
Volunteers with Better Opportunities for Single Service Members assisted FMWR personnel with the event, which was free and open to members of the Fort Leonard Wood community. Fort Leonard Wood Fire and Rescue personnel also operated a rescue boat on the lake during the event in case of an emergency.