By Tom Vaught
SUN STAFF WRITER
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
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
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.