Set Sail: Indianapolis Sailing Club presents second Cardboard Regatta


Local sailors will test their skills Sept. 7 on Geist Reservoir, but not on traditional sailboats. Instead, they will compete in the Cardboard Boat Regatta in vessels made out of, well, cardboard.

The event is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Indianapolis Sailing Club,11325 Fall Creek Rd., Indianapolis.

Last year, the Fishers Parks and Recreation Dept. conducted the inaugural event. This year, the Indianapolis Sailing Club is running it. Contestants are tasked with following specific rules to build a cardboard sailboat that will remain afloat during a 200-yard race on Geist Reservoir.

America’s Boating Club of Central Indiana Communications Officer Jason Settles attended last year’s event as a spectator. His organization is competing his year.

“We just came out and watched it and it was great fun and everybody enjoyed it,” Settls said. “It was just fun to watch, and you’d see some people making the route and they’re sinking and they keep paddling and almost make it to the beach before they bottom out. It’s just a fun thing to root for and to watch.”

Contestants must follow strict rules. For example, boats can only be made from corrugated cardboard. Each must have an attached sail, although it doesn’t have to propel the boat and can be made from any material. Propulsion can come from paddling or wind sail. Each event is timed, with awards givine for the fastest times. There also will be other awards, such as for the longest and shortest boats that complete the course and award for Most Spectacular Sinking.

All competitors must bring, and wear, personal flotation devices and bring their own paddles.

Settles and his team have worked on their boat three months. The group found a business in Marion that makes cardboard boxes. The business donated material for the team’s boat.

“We said, ‘For doing that, we will put your logo on the boat,’ and they said, ‘No, that’s OK, don’t do that,’” Settles said, laughing.

Settles and his wife, Holly, will pilot their team’s boat.

“We are going to be the people who go down with the ship,” he said. “Last year, one of the booths there was the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary, so all of our groups interact with each other. We have the same boating safety concerns, and we talked with them, and this year they actually challenged us to a competition between their group and our group. We started building the boat and making plans, and then about a month ago, we got word from them that due to involvements, they wouldn’t have time to build the boat.

“So, we thought, ‘We have the boat almost built, so we were going to go ahead and compete anyway.’”

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If you go

What: Cardboard Boat Regatta

When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 7

Where: Indianapolis Sailing Club, 11325 Fall Creek Rd., Indianapolis

What’s offered: Cardboard sailboat races, food, entertainment and more.

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