This Saturday was the 7th annual Stafford Cardboard Boat regatta. Run by the North Stafford/Rockhill Ruritan club and held at Aquia Landing in Stafford. As a member of the Stafford Cardboard Yacht Club I was required to build a boat for the race. In past years our semi unofficial group has built pirate ships, viking ships, battleships, aircraft carriers, and Gilligan’s Island… (the whole island). But those projects involve weeks of work, hundreds of pounds of cardboard, and gallons of expensive glue. So this year we decided that it would be better if we all made separate boats. SCYC members Bill Schlotter and his son Jason constructed a replica of the civil war ship “Monitor”. My dad, John Schumaker, along with some basic boats for kids, made a sea monster paddle wheeler and a fishing boat that could be hooked together. Wade and I, knowing that we didn’t want to spend a lot of time on the boat, spent two nights making a sleek speedboat.

I would say that for me this years race was the most fun I’ve had at the races. It could be because I hadn’t spent 4 weekends in a sweaty garage huffing contact cement.  But I’d like to think it’s because the Ruritan Club is getting really good at running the race. They had a good sound system with music and an announcer that was really good at calling the races. Especially for the kids.  The registration and judging went by quickly and they added 2nd place ribbons so everyone could be involved.  All the kids looked like they had a great time and everyone was talking about what they were going to do next year. I even recruited some friends to do the race next year, we may participate in the Lake Accotink race in Fairfax also.

North Stafford/Rock Hill Ruritans

Potomac Local article about the race

Official Stafford Cardboard Boat Race Website

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This weekend was jam packed with summer fun. Friday night we went out for the worlds longest happy hour at Dogfishhead Brew pub in Greenbriar for Laurel’s Birthday. We ate and drank in shifts with about 10 other people, but never more than 6 at once. We stayed up till 3am talking with friends at our place while I made the helmets for the next day’s activity: The Cardboard Boat Race.

Then I got up at 7am to finish painting the helmets, drove to Wades house. Loaded up the boat on top of his car, then drove 45 minutes down to Stafford for the race. The race was the funnest it has been in years. That’s probably because we didn’t burn our selves out working 4 weeks on some cardboard monstrosity. We built a solid speed boat and put more of out energy into costumes and positive attitudes. I think that made it more fun for everyone, but that will get it’s own blog post when I get all the pictures and videos.

The race ended around 230 and we fought 95 summertime traffic to get back to Oakton so I could get ready for the Jack Johnson concert at Merriweather at 7pm. Got back with just enough time for a quick shower and then threw everything in the car and got on our way. We got there just in time to claim the last good spot on the lawn. Jack Johnson is apparently very popular now. (again, I’ll elaborate later in another blog post). The concert was fun and we had decided before to get a hotel room near the venue because we had to be back in Maryland the next day anyway.

But the fun doesn’t stop there!

Easy like Sunday morning as we slept in and then ate breakfast at the friendliest Bob Evans restaurant ever. Then it was off to Laurel’s Birthday lunch at her Grandmothers apartment in Silver Spring. A casual lunch of turkey sandwiches, Salmon, and fruit salad while we discussed how a new Draft would speed opposition to the current wars and why American politicians don’t care about the millions of dead Iraqis. Later Laurel and her cousin looked on the internet for wedding dresses while we all looked on.

Then around 6 we headed back to our house. Got there just in time to leave for the 7:50 showing of Inception (awesome, but now blog post because I can’t discuss it without giving spoilers.) We got back around 11:30 with just enough time to get ready for bed before the weekend officially ended.

phew!

I can’t do every weekend like this, but it was fun!

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Well it was that time of year again. Time for the Stafford Cardboard Yacht Club (SCYC) to release the boats from the dock (ceiling of my parents garage) patch the holes in the bottom and create another miracle of cardboard engineering. Since we made such good boats last year we didn’t have to do a lot of work this year. Which is great because I think we’re all getting a little weary of building a boat for 4 weeks that’s only going to last one race. But luckily there are at least 8 people that want to do it and keep this thing going.

There were a lot of people there this year, it was really exciting to see all the different boats. All the other participants seemed to be really exited to be out there, which was a departure from last year, which seemed like a chore. Maybe it was because the weather was better, it was a bright and sunny Virginia day. The SCYC took home “Pride of the Regatta” for our 25ft battleship and we actually won a few races (which is different!) The prizes really aren’t that important… but it was nice to have some good rewards for our efforts! This year we got things like $45 gift certificates to Outback Steakhouse (awesome!) I actually felt a little bad that the year we get good prizes, we win 4 of them.

For all the complaining we did about the work leading up to the race, I really think that we all had a great time at the race. This years event was definitley the biggest and the best ever. I hope I can get them to do it again next year. Click the picture for my gallery of the regatta.

#1 idea for next year. Spanish Armada.

Later!

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It’s almost Cardboard Boat time. Which means it’s also time to make the annual cardboard boat tshirts. I’ve moved up in complexity and quantity every year. For the first year I just got red shirts and drew on them with a black sharpie. Not a bad idea when you’re only making 2 shirts. The next year I did black shirts with a white skull and cross-swords on the back with the word “CarRrRdboard” on the front. I used poster board for the stencil and bought letter stencils for the front. Worked pretty well, I made 4 shirts. Last year I got a little ambitous with the stenciling. I simplified the design and created a SCYC logo and cut it out of hard plastic for the stencil. I did dark green shirts with white (or yellow) paint. I think I made about 10 shirts total.

So that brings me to this year. The boat is bigger, but with less riders, but the shirts are both more complicated and more numerous. Making the design was easy, just threw together some things that I had lying around. I bought a screen printing kit online and followed the directions. I actually thought this was going to be the hard part with the photo emulsions and stuff. But it turned out to be really easy. So I’d been putting off printing the shirts because I thought it was going to be hard and messy. Plus I was waiting for the tshirts to go on sale at Michaels. I printed one test shirt and it didn’t come out very well. I was getting a little nervous. But I tried a couple more times on some scrap fabric, it really is an artform what you have to do with the squegee and it’s hard to tell when you’ve put on enough ink. I think it’s one of those skills that you just have to experiment with. So I bought a bunch of new shirts and set up the sweatshop to print all the shirts in one night ( I have to because the damn race is on Saturday)

Mistakes were made. I didn’t even notice until I’d done about 7 or 8 shirts but apparently I hadn’t cleaned the screen out enough from the test prints so I had lost a few details here and there. Like whole letters and stuff. But I kept on going, but no matter how hard I pressed I couldn’t get the print to be as good as I wanted. The best I could come up with was some kind of “American Eagle” faux vintage look. I SHOULD have left it like that, but that wouldn’t be my style. I have to take things one step too far. I always do this. So I took out a paintbrush and tried to fix a few of the worse parts in the shirts, mostly on the front breast pocket logo. The mistake was not thinking that there would be a texture difference in the screen printed ink and the brushed on ink, especially with silver ink. So now the brushed on parts still look like they’re wet. But I’m sure everyone will think they look fine and they’ll age well anyway.

This year I think I did 7 XLs dark blue, 1 L dark blue, 2 small dark blue, 1 large dark green, 1 kids large dark blue, 1 kids small hunter green, and 2 large special edition lime green. All have silver ink (it’s the hotness) 15 shirts. not bad.

Later!

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Well the 4th annual gathering of creative nerds went off without a hitch. Of course I’m referring to the Cardboard Boat Race. I’ll link to the pictures as soon as Jesse posts them online. It seems to be becoming a bigger and bigger event in my family, but less popular with the actual comminity of Stafford. But we have fun doing it so that’s all that really matters.

Updates Later!

Mark

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