In the end, the power of youth overcame wit, agility and sheer trickery to win the anything-goes second annual Build-a-Boat Challenge in Annapolis yesterday.
Removing Eastport Yacht Club (EYC) from its throne of victory, the inexperienced Bay Ridge Nursery crew in the light-green Mulchin Mohicans creation took home the coveted title of "Fastest Boat at Sea Trial."
This meant neither of the city's two esteemed yachting establishments -- the Eastport and Annapolis yacht clubs -- could defeat a team sponsored by a decidedly earthbound business.
The day was a success for almost all 18 boats -- save one sinker -- as teams completed the challenge: to construct in four hours a seaworthy vessel using limited supplies and no nails or screws, just some adhesive sealant. They did that Saturday.
The moment of truth came yesterday as the boats were launched in a series of races in Spa River.
For the Mulchin Mohicans, the conquest was even more satisfying considering its fierce competitors, the crew of a boat sponsored by Jim Foote, a member of Annapolis Yacht Club (AYC).
Foote's crew took the cheat-if-you-can-get-away-with-it rules beyond the limit by stowing a two-horsepower outboard motor on board.
Mighty Mohican Mike O'Brien responded by leaping across the water to flood the boat, dubbed The Cheater.
But the Foote crew's deed was worthy of praise from crowds of people who lined the Eastport bridge and AYC dock where the event was held.
It was just the sort of thing to be expected in an offbeat event in which contestants are rewarded for their ability to bribe judges, who in turn are fickle enough to issue citations for "Poor choice of team music."
"Would you look at that?" laughed Mike Kaufman, a naval architect who designed the defeated Rhumb Punch as he watched the motor-powered boat leave a tiny wake in its path.
"That's what we should have done. That was so good. I knew there was something weird about that hole in the bottom of their boat."
But for most everyone, it was satisfaction enough that their boats didn't sink faster than a bagful of lead.
Alas, the crew of Stinger II couldn't even say that. Its boat was built the fastest this year, but it was also the first to founder.
"I knew there was a problem when our shorts were getting wet," said Glenn Davis, a Naval Academy midshipman who crewed the boat.
As Mike O'Donovan-Anderson launched the St. John's College Je Ne Sais Pas, he said in disbelief: "That sucker really floats. It was an exercise in pure theory, but I never thought it would work."
Hurrahs also went to the Sink Tank, which proved everyone wrong. With its sketchy design of wood strips covered by blue tarp, it was a favorite on everyone's list of sinkers.
"Thank heaven for duct tape," said the scuba gear-clad crew as Sink Tank squeaked across the finish line.
And even though Jim Foote's vessel tried its best, the award for "Most Corrupt Team." went to the Carol e, which openly bribed race judges with a table full of champagne, crab cake sandwiches and cake that team members sneaked from the AYC kitchen.
"Nobody's going to remember the winner in this race," said pseudo-rower Brad Frost of the Jim Foote boat.
"But everyone's going to remember the guys with the motor. Forget winning. We went down in history."
Pub Date: 6/30/97