Great Cardboard Boat Regatta kicks off

If you go:

What: The Great Cardboard Boat Regatta

When: 3:30 p.m. today after the Homecoming parade

Where: Loudy-Simpson Park

Rain date: If it's raining or snowing this afternoon, the regatta will be postponed until after school on Wednesday

Rule No. 1 is to have fun.

The 2009 Great Cardboard Boat Regatta may be a required activity for advanced science students at Moffat County High School but that doesn't stop them from taking rule No. 1 very seriously.

"Some of the teams have themes and dress up like pirates or something," said Heather Sweet, high school science teacher. "And, I heard that this year there's going to be a taco boat."

This afternoon, about 24 teams of high school students will try their hand at a boat race in homemade cardboard canoes in the icy cold water of the fishing pond at Loudy-Simpson Park.

The event is the first of the Science Olympics, a series of fun and educational science projects for Sweet's advanced students.

She said some students have been working on their boats for a month.

"It's cool," Sweet said. "It's fun to look at some of the boat designs because some kids really put a lot of time into it."

The race will begin at 3:30 p.m. after the Homecoming parade concludes.

Though the rules say the boats much have eye appeal, the aesthetic guidelines aren't the only rules to the race.

The boats can be any size but must fit at least two people.

They have to be made entirely of corrugated cardboard, including the paddles. Glue, paint and caulking can be used to fix pieces together.

Duct tape cannot be used on the exposed hull of the boat, and can only cover 10 percent of the rest of the hull.

The race will consist of two boats at a time paddling around a buoy and back.

Points will be awarded for best eye appeal, fastest boat and team spirit.

However, there is one award that carries some weight, even though it doesn't come with any points.

The Titanic award will go to the boat that has the most spectacular sinking.

"It's great to watch them sink," Sweet said. "Some of them sink really slow, others just go right down."

However, as science students, the teams will attempt to keep their cardboard canoes afloat with their science knowledge.

The key is in the physics of displacement, Sweet told her students in an informational packet.

Since a cubic foot of water weighs 62 pounds, it would take a canoe 1-by-1-by-3-feet to float with a 180 pound person.

She recommended the boats have flat bottoms, but other than that, she hopes her students will use artistic license and creativity in their designs.

The race will be held despite forecasted cool temperatures, but Sweet said if it rains or snows, the event will be pushed back to its rain date of Wednesday after school.

"The community usually likes to come out and watch the kids compete," Sweet said. "It's just really fun to watch."

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