Beer Can Derby 1, 1987

People came from near and far to gather by the canal,
To watch the Beer Can Derby and aquatic sports as well.
Organised by Lauderdale Apex Club at summer’s end,
A delightful day of fun, when families all could spend
Time at the beach, watching all the entertainment unfold; –
Little Nippers, catamarans and so much more we’re told.

The primary school entered the Beer Can Race. They’d build a craft
To row, based on a catamaran, and swifter than a raft.
The kids collected cordial cans and each night after school
The team tirelessly taped the cans in accordance with the rules,
Open end to open end, for buoyancy was the key
To stay afloat till race’s end to achieve a victory.

Principal Bill and Phys. Ed. teacher Nigel would be the crew
Both were water savvy and knew exactly what to do,
To win the race, bring home the prize and glory for the staff.
Groundsman Brian assisted in the creation of the craft.
Fifteen hundred cans were joined to ensure they’d stay afloat
In a twin hulled, rowed machine, a different kind of boat.

Race time arrived that Saturday on Lauderdale Canal.
The teams lined up in starter’s hands each hoping that they shall
Be the one to win six cartons of Cascade amber fluid.
The start gun boomed, the paddlers dug as quickly as they could.
The boats leapt forward into the swell, each team was digging deep
To achieve that winning edge and the prize they hoped to keep.

Nigel Carins bow and Bill Edmunds stroke

Bill was stroke with Nigel bow and in unison they rowed
Until a rowlock broke, so one of Nigel’s oars was stowed.
Unfazed he turned and faced the front and with an oar as paddle
Dug deep, propelled us forward and we began to straddle
The distance to the turn as our craft began to surge in speed,
One hundred metres from the end we finally took the lead.

We cruised down to the finish line to claim first past the post,
Kids and teachers cheered us on, – don’t know who enjoyed it most . . .
And so the crew and support staff adjourned to a quieter place
To share the spoils, to retell highlights and the drama of the race.
Our catamaran was a good choice; its hulls had stood the test.
We’d won the race, secured our place, – the Beer Can Derby’s best!

Hobart Mercury: Bill Edmunds and Nigel Carins front.

Bill Edmunds
January 2022


Bill Edmunds was the Principal of Lauderdale Primary School from 1981 to 2001.
Nigel Carins was the Physical Education teacher during the late 1980s