A 10-foot-long submarine sandwich, a 12-foot-tall microscope and a 100-pound bird were seen floating in Lake Kittamaqundi Saturday.
But environmentalists need not worry.
These colorful, oversized mutants were among 42 entries in the first annual Columbia Great Cardboard Regatta. The 200-yard race was sponsored by the Columbia Forum.
"It's amazing what one can do with a little glue, caulking and paint," said forum secretary Gayle Saunier. "Obviously, a lot of long hours went into building these boats."
The race comprised three classes: boats propelled by paddles; boatspropelled by paddlewheels or sails; and "instant boats" built by walk-in entrants the day of the race.
"We were sinking, but we made it!" exclaimed 13-year-old Taryn Zlatin, a seventh-grader at Clarksville Middle School, about her team's first-place finish in one of the heats.
"Not only that, but we beat these really big high school boys from Wilde Lake," chimed in Seri Zlatin, Taryn's twin sister. "Theykept ramming into us, but our boat held up and we won."
The sisters, who with schoolmate Jamie Warwick designed the "CMS Party Boat" as a project for a river studies unit in their Gifted and Talented science class, won the judge's school award for best entry by students.
Receiving the "Titanic" award for most spectacular sinking was theU.$.$. Cash, commanded by the Columbia Bank. The boat sank right from the start as its not-so-nautical, capitalist crew boarded.
Its soggy remains were rescued and dumped onto shore.
"That just goes to show you the state of the banking industry," one spectator commented.
The "Pride of the Regatta" award for the most creative use of cardboard went to Leadership Howard County for a boat that resembled ahero sandwich, complete with pimento-filled olive and swizzle stick.
"We designed it for buoyancy, not necessarily for speed," joked Dennis Schrader, one of five teammates who paddled from atop the boat.
The "Spirit" award for most organized team went to a crew from Atholton High School, and the "Longest Finish" award to the "C'ya" catamaran, which broke in two, with one section of paddlers finishing about 15 seconds later than the first.
Winners of the "Vogue" award for the most attractive boat were the Howard County Friends of CentralAmerica and the Coalition for Peace and Justice for their "Dove of Peace." The white, bird-shaped sailboat, the only entry in the paddlewheel and sail class, bore messages of peace painted on its sides and sail.
Both groups chanted songs of inspiration to their navigators-- Tom and Ann Corner and Harry Eaton -- including an adapted version of "We're In The Same Boat, Brother."
The overall race winner was the Dark Star II, a sleek brown kayak piloted by Steve White. It crossed the finish line in 1 minute, 54 seconds.
Finishing second and third were the African Queen, paddled by Sara Kairns and Tina Whitein a time of 2:02, and the Columbia Ski Club's Blue Mogul, captainedby Marty Womack in 2:27.
Paul and Ethan Fingerman and Rich Hornberg won the "instant boat" class aboard the "Minnow."
"Commodore" Richard Archer, race announcer and an assistant professor of art and design at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, flew into town four months ago and held a workshop for race coordinators.
Archer said he used the race as a final exam for his art students at SIU 18 years ago and got an enthusiastic response from school officials. Now,he conducts 14 races around the country.
"Everyone out here todayhad to solve about 1,000 problems, the most obvious being how to make cardboard float," said Archer, who teaches a class in creative problem solving at the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pa.
"Or how to get these weird contraptions out of their basements to transport to the race."