Seven boats took to the water on Conesus Lake last Saturday morning. They raced around the “cove” hoping to come in first – and also making sure that their boat was still floating at the end of the race.
Zany names and inventive designs signaled the return of the “Anything That Floats Regatta” to Conesus Lake. The sixth annual event was staged July 30 at Vitale Park, 5828 Big Tree Rd.
The Chip Holt Nature Center hosts the race as its annual fundraiser and also uses the event to raise awareness of the free programs offered at the Nature Center, recycling, protection of the watershed, and protecting Conesus Lake.
The rules for the “Anything That Floats Regatta” are simple; boats must be made only of recycled materials. no boats, no hazardous materials, no motors.
The name of the race leads to more creativity, according to Linda Artruc, a board member of the Chip Holt Nature Center.
“It’s not just about cardboard boats. It’s always so much more,” said Linda.
Used pool toys can be used as part of the boat. The toys could be items such as single person rafts or pool noodles. Paddles and sails must be made of recycled materials as well.
Each boat had a unique design and was all made by reusing and recycling old materials.
In first place was a boat called “5 Minute (Water) Craft.” The yellow cardboard boat looked like a banana. The boat completed the course in 3 minutes and 30 seconds.
Second place was a boat called “MAO Milk Bone” and third place was “Really Rad Rafters.”
A crowd of more than 200 people gathered to watch the race and many voted on a favorite boat. The fan favorite winner was the “SS Mosasaurus,” a dinosaur boat made by the students at Livonia’s summer school program.
Summer school teacher Michelle Wolgast assisted the students, 11 to 14 years old, with the building of the boat over the course of three weeks. Students worked on the boat at least a little bit every day.
The theme of summer school was water and Wolgast said participating in the regatta just made sense.
Most of the materials that Wolgast and the students used were from the packaging of new smartboards that the school had received.
Wolgast said that the dinosaur theme was inspired by the new “Jurassic World” movie and students voted on which dinosaur they were going to make.
“It’s great that the nature center does this,” said Wolgast.
The Titanic award, which went to the boat that sinks was given to Abigail Fowler, an upcoming ninth grader at Geneseo Central School. Abigail’s boat “Time’s Up” was a reused prop of a grandfather clock from her club’s Odyssey of the Mind project that she participated in at Geneseo.
Fowler and the club won an award for the skit for outstanding creativity and even went on to the world finals in Iowa, coming in sixth place.
Fowler, spent most of her eighth-grade year working on the clock and used more than 2,000 pieces of cork to create it.
Not only did Fowler reuse the wine corks to create the prop, she added recycled pool noodles and other materials to see if the clock would float as a boat in the race.
Fowler said that she was nervous to see what would happen since she had spent so much time on the piece, but knew it couldn’t sit in their garage any longer.
“You can learn how to reuse things and have fun with it,” said Fowler.
Fowler said that the race’s need for creativity was something the experience shared with Odyssey of the Minds. It is also something she said she enjoys and looks forward to continue doing in the future.
The third-place winners, “Really Rad Rafters” were unsure of whether or not their boat would float before the race began.
Emily Artruc and Mathew Walls from Henrietta were participating in their first race. They used Styrofoam, an old pallet, and a snowboard to make their paddles.
It’s a fun way to show people how you can reuse and recycle, said Walls.
Emily Artruc said that the race is also a great way to show the community what the nature center can do and get people involved.
Two competitors who enjoyed the friendly competition were Ann Marie Page and Cindy Breese, who raced the “Bubble Boat.” Page said that their boat was a “Sutton Point South effort” because all of their neighbors got involved. Anything that Page and Breese didn’t have they were able to receive from their neighbors.
Breese joked about how their boat was using 18-year-old PVC pipes and many other older pieces of equipment.
Anne and Ed Hasler from Piffard stopped by to watch the race. They said that their kids had wanted to participate in the race before and they hope that they will chose to next year.
The Haslers said that they enjoy having an event like this that is close to home and supports the community.
All proceeds benefit The Chip Holt Nature Center to support future programming and supplies.
The event also included food, music, and a 50/50 raffle. Awards were donated from local businesses, including ESL Credit Union, Genesee Valley Chiropractic, Wegmans, the Conesus Lake Association. Julie’s Florist, Rising Storm Brewing Co., and others.
The Chip Holt Nature Center is in Vitale Park, at the north end of Conesus Lake. The non-profit organization provides free nature-based programs for schools and community. The Center offers monthly programming on variety of topics. Topics in the past have included coyotes, bears, the health of Conesus Lake, a wreath-making class, butterfly gardens, and birds. Upcoming topics are bee keeping, nature journaling, bird watching, and wreath making.