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Cardboard Boat Races

There's just something about cardboard.  It's an all purpose delight.  When you were a kid, remember that big box the new refrigerator came in?  Didn't it just make a perfect place to lock your pesky little brother up for the afternoon.  A little duct tape, some pillows to muffle his angry shouts, Summertime bliss!

The Great Cardboard Boat Race

Grab your mat knives, contact cement, paint, and life jacket; crank up your imagination. That sinking feeling has come again.

The race, which leaps around our calendar each year like an Olympic gymnast, has spiked a landing for 2013 on the Fourth of July. The rules continue to be simplicity itself. You are restricted to plain cardboard (no wax coated stuff, Sono Tubes etc), duct tape, paint, one part glue, and one part caulks. You know, pretty much the same stuff Noah had on hand. Use these to build, either by yourself, or with a group of your closest friends (or enemies if they're doing the paddling and you're planning to be on the dock watching), a small boat capable of holding at least two persons. Take note we have adopted the temporary rule change enacted last year as permanent, all boats must be capable of holding at least two persons.  And again we have adopted an exception to our steadfast rule, boats containing only one person, at the option of the designer and builder, may substitute a quantity of beer equal to the weight of a second adult sized human being in place of a second crew person.  So that the beer is not sadly lost in any maritime mishap each can or bottle of beer must wear an individual USCG approved PFD.

On race day the race committee will set up a short course. When the cannon goes off, paddle your boat to the finish line, watching carefully to avoid any icebergs or sea monsters. You can use hands, flippers, oars, kayak paddles, or any outboard motor over 200 HP (if you can build a boat that will carry it, and are willing to retrieve it from the bottom of Eastchester Bay after the race so that the EPA doesn't get perturbed). Last year's event videos may give you some ideas

Another good source of info is simply Googling "Cardboard Boats". You'll find a wealth of pictures and tips. And finally, check your local library for a copy of The Cardboard Boat Book, by David Friant.  He concentrates on building a cardboard kayak, but the basic techniques are scalable to larger projects.

Tentative race day schedule

  • Noon - All race entry boats will be displayed on the club's dance floor from Noon until 3 PM.  During that time, you can vote for the  “People’s Choice Award”. For each drink purchase you'll receive 1 ticket from the bartender.   Place the ticket in the ballot box in front of each boat. Vote as often  as you like. Results will be announced at the after race ceremony.
  • 3 PM – Boat  inspections - Judge Vinnie Pirone will determine if  all boats conform to the rules of the competition.  
  • 3:45 - Boat captains and crew will move their boats to the dock (or maybe the marine railway like last year) for launching.
  • 4:00 PM  - Race starts at the cannon shot.  Perhaps we'll use a lighter load to make sure no boats disintegrate from the boom.
  • 5:00 PM  - The intrepid crews will dry off and assemble back in the club for  race results, prizes and a barbecue style dinner.

And that's it.  More info to come as we dream it up.