The 4th Annual Cardboard Yacht Regatta is set to take place at the Annenberg Community Beach House on Saturday, Aug. 29.

Now an elaborate event, which is considered a Santa Monica summer tradition by many residents, the regatta started as a fairly simple idea.

“One of our staff members saw [a regatta] in another pool is St. Louis and she thought ‘Natalia this is a great idea! Why don’t you organize a Cardboard Yacht Regatta?,” Natalia Cascino of the Annenberg Community Beach House said. “I had never seen one before so I started looking into it and found out they are popular in other places. And we thought it would be a great idea to do one here.”

The Beach House put the word out and got the results they were hoping for. “I believe the first year we might have had between 20 to 30 boats that came.” Cascino said that in 2014 they were up to about 50 boats.

Cascino believes the turn out is due to the uniqueness of the regatta. “What’s really cool about this is the premise. It’s cardboard and duct tape and you can decorate it however you want; all you have to be able to do is cross the pool.”

“You’re racing someone else. You just need to be visible. Can’t be hiding under the boat where we can’t see you if you are under the water.”

The heats are laid out in such a way as to make the competition as fair as possible. The teams will consist of two sailors. Divisions include youth/youth, adult/adult and adult/youth, with ages 16 and up considered adults and 15 and under considered youth. The rules also stipulate that children under the age of 8 must be registered with an adult and will be in the adult/youth division.

Each team’s time is then recorded and compared to the other times in their division. “If a yacht sinks before reaching the finish line, or if the crew decides to abandon ship, the distance traveled will be noted and later compared to other yachts in similar situations,” according to Beach House’s webpage for the regatta.

Cascino said that the first year they started by racing two boats across the pool at one time, but that last year they moved to three to speed up the competition.

She added that one of the most fun parts of the day is that there are winners all around. “The kids get prizes. Medals if they get first, second or third place. And every child gets a certificate and a special Cardboard Yacht Regatta water bottle.”

“Then we also have themes that get awarded,” Cascino said. “Fanciest Boat, Best Use of a Theme. Most Likely to Sink, also known as our Titanic Award … And these are chosen by the spectators who come before the race starts and put their votes into boxes and jars that are in front of the displayed boats.”

Cascino said people get so into creating their boats that they even send in sneak peeks of their creations.

“We have had family send us their pictures as they are building their boat. And I think it’s almost as important as the race itself. Having the families come together and friends come together to build these yachts.”

And even though the regatta is only 4-years-old, Cascino thinks it has already become a part of the community.

“I believe it is definitely becoming something that is getting big in the community. Last year we had groups come in like the Boys & Girls club. Lots of kids that go to school together in Santa Monica are building the boats together. So it’s not just something for a family to come in and something to do. It is kids from 8-15 that want to come in and do something with their friend from school are doing it together. So I definitely think it is a growing part of the Annenberg. And a growing part of the community.”

jennifer@www.smdp.com

 

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