The highlight of Gibraltar’s yachting calendar is their Cardboard Boat Race. It takes place this Saturday when dozens of slightly soggy sailors take on the 1,000 metre course sailing around the superyachts docked inside Ocean Village Marina.
The rules of the Race are intentionally strict in order to put everyone at the same (dis)advantage and inspire maximum creativity. The entire boat must be built of corrugated cardboard with wood, plastic, fibreglass and any kind of flotation foam completely banned. Imaginations are stretched to the limit to create a vessel that is not only capable of lasting the course but also bright and stylish enough to capture the judge’s attention. There has been one slackening of the rules for 2012 however, and that is the use of proper oars or paddles is now permitted – expect some fast times around those markers.
In previous years entrants have put considerable artistic flair into both boats and costumes with pirate ships, sailing yachts, dragon boats and even rockets appearing at the starting line – although participants are reminded not to make their boats too large as they must be carried from boat judging in Casemates Square at 10.30am to Ocean Village Marina and starters orders at Petite Café pontoon at 12pm. Cockpits must also be left open as there is a strong likelihood of crews having to abandon ship at short notice, and lifejackets are essential for children. Full rules are available upon registration.
The event has been organised by the William Tilley Lodge and proceeds will go to the GBC Open Day and The Alzheimer’s and Dementia Support Group. There is a £25 registration fee for each adult team and £10 for child teams with competitors aged 14 and under. For spectators entrance is free of charge and the action kicks off at midday.