KEY WEST (CBSMiami) – Nearly two dozen teams staged a wacky “sink or swim” regatta on Sunday in Key West, attempting to keep plywood-and-duct-tape vessels afloat during the annual Schooner Wharf Minimal Regatta.

The 23rd event has become a Memorial Day weekend tradition in the Florida Keys.

Click below for Web Video Extra of Regatta:

Rules required each team to build a boat out of a 4-by-8-foot sheet of plywood, two 8-foot-long two-by-fours, a roll of duct tape, a pound of fasteners and epoxy paint.

The homemade vessels’ minimal construction meant marginal seaworthiness, but maximum hilarity for hundreds of spectators on hand to cheer their favorites.

Team members navigated a course at Key West’s Historic Seaport, trying to avoid sinking long enough to complete it.

Some got “that sinking feeling” soon after launching, including an outrigger mistakenly named No Problem. One determined entrant abandoned his overturned craft and swam the course, powering through the water with his paddle.

Other entries seemed surprisingly buoyant.

Standouts included a tiny replica pirate ship carrying a costumed buccaneer, a baby-blue boat dubbed the Mother Ship and paddled by a pregnant woman, a replica of the S.S. Minnow from the classic sitcom “Gilligan’s Island” and a kayak piloted by a man in a green tutu, top hat and fishnet stockings.

Prizes were awarded for the fastest boats, most creative designs, best paint jobs, sportsmanship and best costumed entries — as well as the dreaded “sinker” award for the least seaworthy vessel.

“The Florida Keys News Bureau contributed to this report.”


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