CLARKSTON, Ga.— Take a cardboard packing box. Cut and flatten it. Add duct tape. Add more duct tape. Design a boat that not only can float — but can hold at least one — maybe two — adults. Race it in the pool. And don’t sink.
That’s a recipe for the annual Georgia State University Perimeter College Cardboard Boat Regatta. On Friday, April 6, computer science and engineering students will come together in a raucous and fun frenzy that tests students’ design and engineering skills on land and in the water. From 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., the students break into teams and create their boats. At 12:30 p.m., the teams will hit the Clarkston gymnasium pool with their cardboard creations for a race that is part Olympic feat, part slapstick silly.
In its third year, the regatta, sponsored by the Clarkston Computer and Engineering Club, (CLACEC) has become the official kick off for the college’s annual Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Week. STEM Week celebrates the STEM field research and accomplishments of Perimeter students and alumni with talks and special events.
Engineering professor Dr. Taylor Shapero advises CLACEC and is one of several faculty members involved in judging the floating creations.
“A team of STEM faculty discuss and evaluate the best boat design. We give this as an award, alongside another award to the fastest boat in the race,” Shapero said.
After the design judging, the races begin.
There are rules in the pool.
“One to two members of each team can be in their team boat and must race one full lap of the pool using their hands or cardboard paddles as propellers,” Shapero said. “They can’t tow the boats or pull the boat along the pool edge. If they fall out, they are welcome to try to get back in and continue their race. Some boats will sink during their lap, but usually at least half of the boats are able to survive the full lap.”
Boats are timed, and a maximum of four boats are allowed to race at one time, Shapero said. The races are done in heats, and the top finishers in each heat, plus the next-best time (totaling 4 boats) will be invited to race again in the final heat. The fastest to finish in the last heat wins the boat race.
Winners receive a 3-D printed trophy and a portable phone charger.
The event is open to the public.