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Annual Cardboard Boat Regatta Builds Teamwork

More than 150 ENGR 10 students competed in this year’s regatta
Engineering students paddle their cardboard boat while cheered on by a crowd of students and faculty.

Engineering students paddle their cardboard boat while cheered on by a crowd of students and faculty.

Oct 3, 2017
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Aspiring engineers took to the water Sept. 29 in Pacific's Cardboard Boat Regatta, an annual event in which first-year engineering students design, build and sail boats made only of unwaxed cardboard and duct tape. More than 150 ENGR 10 students competed in this year's regatta, entering 39 boats of varying designs and emblazoned with humorous names that often played on words, such as "Tiger Shark," "Who's Shore Daddy?" and "Buoyansea."

Since the boats are all but ruined at their first contact with water, pre-competition judging is done on dry land for the boats, which teams of 3-4 students have little more than a week to build. To increase the competition at this year's event, students faced tighter rules: they could use only 15 pounds of cardboard and 3 rolls of duct tape.

"This project is a little bit about engineering and design principles, but is really about teamwork, communication and comradery among the students," said this year's event coordinator, Professor Scott Merry.

The regatta took place at the Chris Kjeldsen Pool on the Stockton Campus, and attracted a large crowd of supporters -family, friends and fellow students who cheered on the teams that ran four at a time on two overlapping courses. Successful completion required two students to navigate their boat through a figure 8 course; usually paddling with their hands. Even though not all of the boats completed the course, all of the participants - and the crowd - had a great time at the event.

This year's top finalists were Oboatma (weighed only 8 lbs, completed course in 77 seconds); Buoyansea (weighed 11.6 lbs, completed course in 102 seconds); Boat Ship (14.8 lbs, completed course in 74 seconds, the fastest of the day); and USS Peter Elizabeth (8.6 lbs, completed course in 140 seconds).