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July 19, 2011 > Cardboard Boat Races

Cardboard Boat Races

By Julie Grabowski

Summer is always a fine time for a sail, but no need to venture onto the Bay or the great Pacific; the Silliman Family Aquatics Center provides a unique sailing adventure closer to home. All you'll need is cardboard and duct tape. The Cardboard Boat Races call all silly and adventurous sea captains to bring out their finest ships for an afternoon sail.

All vessels need to be constructed at home using only cardboard and duct tape, and be able to carry one passenger. Participants will then test the sea worthiness of their constructions on the clear, crisp waters of the Silliman Center lap pool. Races will be run in heats by age, with winners of those heats meeting in a final round to determine who will sail away with bragging rights.

Boats must be self-propelled and make it to the end of the pool intact to win. A prize will be awarded to winners in each age category, and the overall race winner will receive an additional prize.

An annual event since the center opened in 2004, the Cardboard Boat Races are a quirky, low cost way to have fun with friends and family. Past events have drawn up to 23 contestants, the largest number of entries coming from 7 to 12 year olds. But the races are not only for kids; all ages are invited to get creative and join in.

Participants are all winners qualifying for a free recreational swim after the event, and a two-for-one coupon to use on a return visit. Take an inner tube down the 245 foot lazy river, relax in the 15 person spa, or enjoy water slides, lap pool, and children's activity pool with 30 different water jets, platforms, rope pulls, water guns, and slides. Refuel at the Otter Alley Cafe, which offers pizza, burritos, smoothies, churros and more.

While the Cardboard Boat Races are free, those planning to take part need to register at the Silliman Center front desk or online. Go to, click on Quick Links and scroll down to Register for Classes, click Online Registration, then Register for Activities. Select Summer 2011, then Aquatics-Swimming, scrolling down to Cardboard Boat Race.

Start gathering that cardboard and don't miss out on a unique summer sailing adventure sure to entertain!

Cardboard Boat Races
Friday, July 22
12 Noon - 1 p.m.
Silliman Family Aquatic Center
6800 Mowry Ave., Newark
(510) 578-4620
Free (registration required)

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