JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. -- Some set sail, some sank and some did a little bit of both. All, however, had a good time.
Joint Base McGuire-Dx-Lakehurst community members came together to test their boat-crafting skills at the inaugural Cardboard Boat Regatta July 14 at Willow Pond.
"I've wanted to do an event like this since I was hired in 2004," said David Bertagnoli, 87th Force Support Squadron outdoor recreation manager. "This is my brain child. I got the idea from a similar event I took part in during college. I had such a great time then, I knew I had to bring it here."
More than 20 crews entered the event, each with a unique cardboard boat built from scratch. The designs varied from a simple box with duct tape seals, to all out sea-faring vessels, meticulously crafted for speed and strength. Each craft had its own theme; one was the love boat, one was the space shuttle boat and one was even a mallard duck boat.
"When some other people from my shop and I heard about this event, we thought it would be an awesome thing to try," said Airman 1st Class Christopher McNamee, 87th Logistic Readiness Squadron special vehicle maintainer from Cincinnati, Ohio. "Our boat has a Thundercats theme."
Him and his team mates let out a loud "Thundercats! Ho!," a reference to the animated adventure series.
The race's course required the crews to paddle 50 yards into the pond, cross a buoy, then head back to shore in the quickest amount of time. Some vessels didn't it make 5 yards without capsizing or taking on water. McNamee's craft quickly capsized but he said this didn't hurt his resolve for next year.
"Although our boat didn't get too far before sinking, we had a great time building it and testing it out. We'll be back next year with an awesome boat so we can take home a trophy," he said.
The crew of Seaman from the 305th Operations Support Squadron showed their Navy colors by constructing the USS Constitution, a handmade cardboard boat that was as sturdy as it was seaworthy.
"It was a great opportunity to take the ideas of all the people involved in our project to come up with such a beautiful ship," said Petty Officer 3rd Class Bradley Susmarski, 305th OSS electronic technician. "We all had a wonderful time constructing it. The way our shop came together to get this project done was a great example of the camaraderie we have. It was our goal to come out and have the biggest and best ship to represent the Navy in this Joint Base competition. After taking it apart, and showing how our ship was built we can't wait until next year to come up with something bigger, and better!"
The 305th sailors took home the "Unique Theme" award during the closing ceremonies, with the 305th Aerial Port Squadron orange hemi who won the fasted time, the 605th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron space shuttle who won the "Crew Spirit" award and the Johnson family winning the "Titanic" sink.
Crew members also entered their names into a raffle for three Kindle Fires, compliments of the U Build It program.
"The regatta really turned out great," said Bertagnoli. "We will definitely be doing this next year. Next time we might incorporate something like a chili cook-off to add to the fun."