When it comes to building and racing a cardboard boat, they keep it simple in Algonquin.
The annual Founders' Days Cardboard Boat Regatta started Thursday afternoon at Riverfront Park on the western shore of the Fox River, with all 72 competitors using the same number and size of sheets of donated cardboard, three rolls of 2-inch duct tape, a utility knife and black marker. Two and a half hours of build time later, 72 unique boats were ready to be paddled about 30 yards from shore, then around a buoy and back. Each boat builder seemed confident in their design, but only the winner would collect $100. Racers ranged in age from 5 to 56 and were split into two divisions, 12 and under, and over 13.
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"It's very important that the paddles get wrapped inside and out," said Steven Riggio, who has donated the tape for the last 14 years. "Because when they get wet on the inside, they're done."
He was sharing his knowledge with his girlfriend's children as they constructed a boat. His building facade restoration company uses a lot of duct tape, "So I know about this stuff," he said.
He has donated pink tape for the last two years, so competitors can purchase a pink roll for $5, with the proceeds going to cancer research. The pink tape replaces one of the free silver rolls.