Race boasts plenty of invention, laughs

MERIGOMISH – Cardboard and duct tape boat races have become a staple for the annual Merigomish Fun Day.

That was evident on Saturday as three of the dozen entries completed the short voyage at a more calm, and shallow shoreline inlet beside the dock near the community centre, where the other events take place.

The race featured Central Nova MP Sean Fraser, Pictou East MLA Tim Houston and Pictou West MLA Karla MacFarlane.

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Fraser said his staff was able to build his craft that included low gunwales and cardboard tubes on the bottom. He managed to place second, while the MLAs were unable to leave shore without sinking, but he was almost completely submerged in his boat’s stern as he paddled to shore.

“I wish I could say it was by design because I thought I’d tip backwards and go under but it held for us,” he said. “We’ll try to do better in 2018.”

Fraser said he was looking forward to being at the race.

He said his assistant Nicole LeBlanc asked him what would make the summer complete.

“I said nothing would until I’m at an event in Merigomish, and what better one could there be than this?”

Dale Osgood and Cameron Osgood successfully defended their win from the previous year with Dale aboard a craft that appeared to be a superior one.

Like Fraser, they were aware of a stiff crosswind from their left as they paddled from shore and were downwind as they rounded the marker buoy from left to right.

“I think having air pockets helped,” said Dale, explaining how he and Cameron made sure the tubes that supported them in the boat were well sealed on the ends with duct tape.

Their father Steve Osgood gave them credit for outfitting the boat and winning with it.

“I just suck in the knowledge,” he said. “Everything I learn about boats, I learn here.”

Fun Day organizer Debbie Radcliffe said she was glad people were enjoying the boat race and other events that included a barbecue, kids’ games and a dog parade back at the community hall.

“This is our seventh year,” she said. “It’s always fun.”


Dale Osgood, centre, is already paddling back to shore, while Sean Fraser, left, rounds the buoy in his craft and Eli and Cohen Docker struggle to get back on board their vessel on Saturday during the annual cardboard and duct tape boat races in Merigomish.

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Steve Goodwin
Steve Goodwin was born in Amherst, N.S. and has been a journalist for more than 40 years. He has been a resident of Pictou County for nearly 40 years.