It was the perfect day for sitting on the bank of Lake Ceva while watching the impressive work of students as they competed in the annual Cardboard Boat Regatta, hosted by Residential Education and Housing and Upper Class Experience, on Friday, April 25.
The event highlighted the difficulty of constructing a cardboard boat, stable enough to hold two people and race for time across the lake, paired with the humor of themed boats, costumes and sinking ships.’
Despite the need for experience in mastering the physics of a cardboard boat, it was a group of four freshmen for “Boaty” who took first place with a strong showing at 2:21, rivaled by the second place time of 2:35 belonging to “The Ark.”
“The Flying Squirrel” took third with a time of 2:49, sporting members from the College’s manhunt club who dressed in pirate gear.
The first place team of Alin Boyjkovic, Thomas Approvato, Tim Laux and Eric Brokaw, whose construction was titled “Boaty,” boasted an American fish-themed boat that was able to hold off the growing speed of “The Ark” and take the top trophy.
“That was terrifying,” Laux said of “The Ark” trailing them closely behind. “Noah hits the gym like all the time, so we were very scared.”
From the hours of 1 p.m. to 4 a.m., the boys spent their entire day constructing “Boaty,” whose performance proved their effort to be time well spent.
“We had a lot of haters, everyone thought it would sink,” Approvato said. “We were pleasantly surprised. I think ours was just a little bit straighter so it was easier for us to go faster, but (“The Arks”) was solid as a rock.”
With bed sheets tied around their bodies as togas in resemblance of Noah, the team of JT Schwindt, Christian Balevski, Mike Misdary, Sam Chen and Matt Scapardine — who created “The Ark” — gave a competitive showing in effort to overtake “Boaty” in the closest race of the day, but ultimately couldn’t catch up.
“‘Boaty’ was right in front of us and we were just trying to catch up,” sophomore political science major Schwindt said. “We just didn’t even up the paddle well … (but) Noah’s Ark is ready for the flood, just look at the thing.”
The most inspirational showing of the day, however, belonged to “I-House,” the winners of the Best Spirit and Sportsmanship awards. “I-House” struggled through the race as their boat sank deeper and deeper, leaving its paddlers basically sitting on water as the rowers slowly but surely found their way back to the bank in order to complete the race without fully sinking. The perseverance of the team was noted by the judges who presented them with their two awards.
Unfortunately, other participants weren’t as lucky, with boats not being able to withstand the weight and water combination, resulting in several boats capsizing. However, the most spectacular of the boats that capsized belonged to the “Titanic,” recipient of the Best Sinking award, as the riders of “Usain Boat” embraced their boat’s sinking nature by jumping off into the lake with a celebratory cheer.
With 13 competitors and five heats, the event proved to be an awesome success allowing people to enjoy the excitement of a cardboard boat race, great music from the DJs at WTSR and a relaxing view of the campus’s beautiful lake. In the midst of final exam stress, the event provided an interesting escape for students to spend a spring day outside in the company of friendly competition.