July 9, 2004 – It's almost time for Magens Bay to fill up with the unlikely looking vessels known as Royaks. This Sunday starting at 9 a.m., youth and adult teams will take to the water to compete in the 17th annual Royak Regatta.
The event supports the V.I. Council, Boy Scouts of America and is sponsored by the ICC/Prosser Foundation. So far, 21 teams have signed up for this year's St. Thomas competition, according to Charley Tinsley, the council's chief executive officer.
Separate regattas are held annually on St. Croix; this year's took place on June 6, according to a release.
The team entry fee is $250, which includes T-shirts and lunch for the five-member teams. Sponsors for the youth teams are needed, Tinsley said. Community organizations may enter multiple teams. Registration begins at 8 a.m.
The Royak is a breed unto itself. It has been described as a "topless kayak going backwards." It was invented in 1968 by a California Scuba diver named Roy Grabenauer. He needed a boat that wouldn't sink and that he could get into and out of easily in rough water.
According to the Royak Web site, the boats are "a combination of kayaks and canoes." Grabenauer began experimenting with a boat fabricated from an airplane wing tank and ended up with a torpedo-shaped craft, more or less what's used today. How, exactly, it managed to wind up in use at Magens Bay is not easily documented.
Among the adult entries in Sunday's lineup are the Territorial Court "Out for Justice" team, the "Dudley Topper and Feuerzeig Paddlers" and teams being fielded by Innovative Telephone, Choice Communications and William Karr and Associates.
So far, the Kon-Tiki and ScotiaBank are signed up to sponsor youth teams.
To sign up for the regatta or offer sponsorship, call 774-2752.
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