Longview cardboard boat race for late starters

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LONGVIEW — Fittingly enough for a competition called the Procrastinator’s Cup, Tim Kampii and his team of boat builders arrived late at Lake Sacajawea on Wednesday.

His team, which included his daughter Jenna, 10, and niece Natalie Krick, 18, visiting from Idaho, even chose their team name — the Sombrero Heroes — just a day before competing in the sixth annual Longview Cardboard Boat Regatta.

“Being a procrastinator is kind of a theme in my life,” said Kampii, a Knappa High School shop teacher who lives in Rainier.

The Procrastinator’s Cup is the newest regatta challenge. The idea was for up to 10 competitors to be provided with cardboard and to assemble a boat at the lake in just two hours. Typically, it takes dozens or hundreds of hours to assemble some of the elaborate vessels that have competed in the regatta over the years.

One concession to the procrastinators: They would race as a group, not against those who had put weeks of sweat into their vessels. But the question remained: Could they build a boat durable enough for the 200-yard course in just two hours?

Kampii’s team was one of two to take on the last-minute challenge, with the other boat entered by members of the Longview National Guard unit.

Kneeling on all fours, Kampii’s team of three cut scraps of cardboard, fitting them together with duct tape and working feverishly until their boat took the general shape of a canoe. The work wasn’t difficult, but the deadline was a challenge, said Kampii, who worked from a design in his head.

Nearby, eight Washington National Guardsmen worked furiously in hopes of making two boats, the first of which resembled a canoe. As the deadline approached, plans for another craft sank, and team members dubbed a piece of cardboard that had been destined for it as “Faith” — as in a leap of faith that it would float.