It came down to the final event – the watermelon swim – and anchor Ella Watts won going away to give the Red team a one-point victory over the Green team in Southport Junior Yacht Club’s annual Independence Day Challenge on Monday, July 5.
Approximately 40 young sailors and their instructors competed in the 10-event challenge from 9 a.m. to noon. Hand and foot speed, coordination, balance, sailing knowledge and more were tested throughout the morning.
After Director Will Jacobs gathered the competitors on the new deck at SYC to explain the day’s competitions, each team – Red, Green, White, Blue and Black – was asked to develop a team cheer. After the teams belted out their cheers, the teams paraded around the grounds and sang, “You’re a Grand Old Flag,” followed by “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
The first competition involved two parts – correctly securing a rope to a cleat, then running a course carrying a plunger one-handed) and a “flame.” The flame was a table decoration. Should the flame drop from the plunger, the competitor had to stop, pick it up and place it back on the plunger.
The always fun and challenging egg toss followed, with both the sailors and instructors taking part. Participants had to take a step back after each successful catch. The young Blue team won that event, but the Blue instructors were the first casualties of that group’s competition.
Then it was boating time ... rigging, sailing and de-rigging. The boats sailed to the nearby Pratt’s Island dock and back to their moorings. The Red team took the lead in the Challenge, finishing first in the combined event.
Back on dry land, the competitors gathered on the lawn behind the upgraded junior building for the whistling and bubblegum blowing events. The five whistlers had to first eat four Saltine crackers then try to whistle “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.” The five bubblegum blowers had about three minutes to chew their gum then try to blow the biggest bubble. The Green team gained on Red’s lead in the the whistling event, but Red stayed in the lead by winning the bubblegum blowing event.
The last three competitions used strength and smarts. The Green team won both the boat bailing and naming the sail parts events (naming the sail parts was a relay race) to tie the Red team going into the final competition, the watermelon swim. Two swimmers from each team took part in the swim around the dock, handing off the watermelon to the second swimmer to finish the race.
The winning prizes of candy were handed out to end the fun day on and around the water. For the record, the scores were Red, 23; Green, 24; White, 32; Black, 35; and Blue, 39.