Page 19 - The Great Paper Boat Race of the World
ISSUE : Issue 59
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1992/1/1
The Papal Boaf was paddled by Bob Delaney and Bud Maclntyre. the race, the coxswain was Bill Maclnnis. hint that tall paper ships might not come amiss. So Paul and Billy built a tiny schooner out of corrugated cardboard soaked in resin. "It was like building three boats, layer upon layer," Paul remembered, and grinned. "Ne put in over four hundred hours each. We worked from seven-thirty to ten every evening, and all day every weekend. Just for fun, I kept track of the screws: we used over twelve hundred." Jim Organ's diary, June 7: "Couldn't sleep last night so I came in @ 4:00 A.M....didn't get double crew...worked till 8:00 P.M...." The Knights of Columbus were bent on fun. Bill Maclnnis won? dered about a couple of Sona Tubes hinged horizontally, so that three fellows could each put a foot in both tubes and walk the vessel across the water like a set of cross-country water- skis. Or should the Knights of Christopher Columbus present themselves as a Rowing Catholic organization? Jim Organ's diary, June 9: "Jimmie Joe and I both got sick. Probably from the heat. Wicked hot, 85 degrees. This is my 26th day without a break..." June 15: "Finished 3 oar ports. Mike Heighten made a dragon's head and tail. Looks great..." Bill Maclnnis decided that the tubes were too big to allow the team to walk on the water. And the enthusiasts at the heavy- water plant got the word from Ottawa: making paper tx)ats was not a proper use of taxpayers' money. Not as useful, presuma? bly, as heavy water. Jim Organ's diary, June 27: "Launched this afternoon. Behaves beautifully in water. Very pleased...: On June 28, Paul Osborne and Billy Butts launched Breton Too. The black schooner revealed a severe list, and a pinhole leak. They beached her to add ballast and repair the leak. In racing trim, she weighed over a ton, including 425 pounds of hull, 1,350 pounds of ballast and "800 pounds of people." The next afternoon, the Mulgravers launched Mean Machine. She was tight as a bottle, and she handled beautifully. Eight machine-shop mariners piled aboard and boldly sailed her across the Strait to Port Hawkesbury in twenty-eight minutes. They had a beer at the Yacht Club before paddling back in thir? ty-seven minutes against the wind. Mean Machine remains the first and only paper boat ever to cross between mainland North America and Cape Breton Island. The afternoon of July 1 was humid and stifling. The Port Haw? kesbury waterfront bristled with spectators. Bill Maclnnis, Bud Mclntyre and Bob Delaney launched The Papal Boat at 1:28. The race was called for 1:30, and Breton Too would brook no delay: the repair was failing, Osborne was bailing, time to be sailing. The Papal Boat was christened with a paper bag full of Canada Dry, "the champagne of ginger ales." During jhe Papal Boat consisted of two Sona Tubes held together with one bolt and two smaller tubes piercing the larger ones at right angles. The tubes were not waterproofed, and they were sealed with cardboard and a single layer of paper towels soaked in resin. She had taken eight hours to build, and "she never leaked a drop," Maclnnis declared proudly. Delaney and Mclntyre sat fonward and paddled; Maclnnis exhorted them from the stern, wearing blue shorts, a white shirt and an orange tie "so I could be seen on the bot? tom if I fell overboard." At intervals he blew a blast on a conch shell once used by his great-grandmother to summon the men from the fields at meal times. Beside him was a small barbecue fastened to the afterdeck. At the starting line, he doused the charcoal with lighter fluid. Black smoke and orange flame shot into the sky. The other paper boats paddled quickly away from him. Unperturbed, Maclnnis The Mean Machine, with a crew of eight, and the Stora Viking began to broil hamburgers. Among them, the entries recapitulated the entire history of Western sail. The first boat must have been a couple of logs lashed together, like The Papal Boat. Longships like Stora W/c/np carried Europeans to America before the Magna Carta, and fishing schooners like Breton Too marked the end of commercial sail. Mean Machine, of course, echoed contemporary high-tech ocean-racing multihulls. tuvvfs Funeral Home (In Business Since 1908) Three Generations of Service J. Michael Curry - Mgr. 140 Main Street - Glace Bay Phone 849-7617 AMBULANCE SERVICE 849-2222 .
Cape Breton's Magazine