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Vol 5 No. 31- April 20, 2005

Yacht Club team shines in bottle boat race

By Tom Vaught

The Cortez Yacht Club (CYC) entry won five trophies in its inaugural entry in the Bottle Boat Regatta, even though it didn't take first place in any of the races. It had three second-place finishes Saturday, but two of those races were two-boat events. However, strong rowing in the third race pushed its boat past the Manatee County Sheriff's Office entry.

It won trophies for best of class and best costumes and three third-place trophies before rowing off to the Cortez Kitchen to celebrate.

The CYC boat, sponsored in part by the Anna Maria Island Sun, was the tallest and best looking in the eyes the judge. With its tall mast and Viking shaped hull, the white boat made of corrugated plastic over empty plastic bottles was an eye catcher.

The crew itself was dressed in white T-shirts with CYC in big letters on the front and hats with Viking-style horns in them.

The CYC ship's first race was the men against the Joyland Boat, piloted by Brett Vander Vrede, owner of the PURE gasoline station in Holmes Beach. The Joyland boat got off to a good start and kept the lead past the buoys that marked the finish line. Despite their loss, members of the CYC team had a positive outlook. "Hey, we came in second," one of the crew members said.

The second race in the ladies division represented a challenge for the well-dressed CYC women. They had to face the bikini-clad Hooter's team. Once again, the opponent got the jump on the Cortez team, but the Hooters Girls had a hard time staying on course. Their boat drifted over in front of the CYC boat, which tried to ram them, but all the Cortez team accomplished was to push the Hooters boat past the finish line first. As they drift across the finish line, the CYC boat lost its mast and several rescue boat came to their aid, towing them back to shore where they removed the mast and planted in the beach in front of their team tent.

The CYC team was well-prepared. They brought a couple of powerful water guns that they used to douse the opponents when they couldn't beat them.

The third race for the CYC team was men and women pitted against the Joyland boat again and the Hooters boat crewed by members of the Manatee County Sheriff's Office. Once again, the Joyland boat shot off the starting line and grabbed a huge lead, but when the CYC crew looked to their left, they realized they were neck-in-neck with the sheriff's office crew. Men and women on the CYC boat strained as they rowed with all their might, keeping up with the other boat and finally pulling ahead as they crossed the finish line. Team members cheered as they rowed back to the beach in front of their team tent.

With their confidence high, the CYC crew took off in their boat, towed by a team member's powerboat, to the Cortez Kitchen where they licked their wounds and celebrated their successes with some lunch and brew.

One of the organizers, Laura Ritter, said she was going to start next week organizing a boat and crew for next year's event.

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