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UMPI to host 2nd annual Cardboard Boat Regatta

The University of Maine at Presque Isle will host its 2nd Annual Cardboard Boat Regatta on Saturday, April 20 at 4 p.m. in the Gentile Hall pool area, and this year community members are invited to join UMPI students, faculty and staff in competing for first place and bragging rights. The public also is invited to watch, cheer on the participants, and vote for their favorite boat.

Community voting will take place the day of the race from 1-4 p.m. in the Gentile Hall gym. As a special treat, the public is welcome to take part in UMPI’s Beach Bash, which will be going on in the gym from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Enjoy a 65-foot-long inflatable obstacle course, mechanical surfboard, opportunity to make a wax hand, smoothies, and more.

For this year’s regatta, organizers will be accepting up to 18 boats. Sign-up begins on Monday, March 18. Registrations will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis and must be completed by Friday, April 5. To enter a team, pick up your registration form at the Student Activities Office on the first floor of UMPI”s Campus Center, or visit www.umpi.edu/regatta.

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 in locations 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, UMPI Coordinator of Student Activities and Leadership Development. 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 special categories with winners being determined by community voting. Three will have a $50 prize: Most Creative, Most UMPI Pride, and Most Team Spirit. The fourth category, Most Epic Sink, comes with a $100 prize.

“I was thrilled with the campus reception of this event last year,” Sincavage said. “Gentile Hall was buzzing with excitement during the race and there were so many surprise finishes (and sinks). Now that we have a year under our belt, I am wondering what exciting and unexpected will happen with our second annual event. I have a feeling boats are going to be even more competitive!”

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 and recreational activities 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 5 people on it, but only two will be allowed in the water at any time. Winning boats may race up to three heats in the pool, so boats need to withstand prolonged water exposure. Finally, creativity is highly encouraged—both in terms of boat design and team elements (name, costumes, themes, etc.). Last year’s regatta included some very imaginative entries, from a dragon to a shark to a Batman-themed boat.

“Holding a cardboard boat regatta is such a fun and creative way to bring people together in friendly competition and camaraderie, and based on the success of last year’s event, this was something we definitely wanted to open up to community members this year,” Pearson said. “If you don’t want to build your own boat, come on out to for a full afternoon of fun and games in the Gentile gym, vote for the boats you like best, and then cheer on all the regatta teams during the big race!”

Boats must be dry and in the Gentile Hall gym by Noon on Saturday, April 20, for community voting, which takes place from 1-4 p.m. For registration form, rules, and other details, please visit www.umpi.edu/regatta. To learn more about UMPI’s Cardboard Boat Regatta, please contact Pearson at 768-9582 or vanessa.pearson@maine.edu.