The University of Maine at Presque Isle will host its first ever Cardboard Boat Regatta on Friday, April 6 at 3:30 p.m. in the Gentile Hall pool area – with UMPI students, faculty and staff competing for first place and bragging rights – and the community is welcome to watch, cheer and vote for their favorite boat.
A cardboard boat regatta is a competition that challenges participants to make a "sea-worthy" vessel out of cardboard and a few other simple materials to see who can paddle their way along a short race course without flooding, sinking or destroying their boat. Regattas like this have been growing in popularity, with races taking place everywhere from Oregon and Newfoundland to England and beyond.
UMPI's regatta is being co-organized by Heather Sincavage, UMPI Assistant Professor of Fine Art, and Vanessa Pearson, Coordinator of Student Activities and Leadership. The rules for the regatta are simple: teams will race cardboard boats constructed to hold two people down one length of the pool, get out and then back into the boat, and then race to the opposite end. A bracket system will be used to determine the winner. The winning team will get $250. The event will also have four boat decorating categories, each with a $50 prize: Most Original, Most School Spirit, Most Creative and Audience Choice.
"The fun and competitive spirit around the art studio is infectious," Sincavage said. "Teams of students are working together toward the final goal to prove their boats are indestructible, and we have some creative themes that have to be seen to be believed. We are really excited about the event and hope community members will check it out and let us know if they want to be a part of this in future years."
Sincavage brings some experience with her to this event. While at Kutztown University in Pennsylvania, she planned a similar event for her 3D Design students: "While it was just a class project, the buzz it created across campus was phenomenal," Sincavage recalled. "I watched students work together, make new bonds, and really come up with innovative solutions. I saw there was great campus community-building potential. And coming to a location where the outdoors are so celebrated, this seemed like a wonderful event to bring to UMPI."
UMPI's Cardboard Boat Regatta has rules in place that will help to make for an exciting race. Teams can use cardboard, silicon sealant, caulk, wood glue, polyurethane and paint to build their boats; however, they cannot use epoxies, tape, metal, plastic, wood or foam. Each team can have between 3 and 7 people on it, but only two will be allowed in the water at any time.
"When I first heard Heather mention the idea, I was very excited about the programming potential," Pearson said. "I quickly decided that we definitely needed to have this event on campus. It seemed like such a fun and creative way to bring people together in friendly competition and camaraderie. We would like to encourage everyone – faculty, staff, students, and the community – to come out and cheer on the boats. The audience can also vote on the boat they like best. We hope to make this an annual event in the future, and maybe even include community teams and host the regatta in a local body of water."