Gondor the Green Dragon, a boat made and controlled by juniors Amy Chadwick, wearing orange arm floaties, April Rogers, in pink, and Tasha Burke, in back, starts its voyage during the cardboard boat regatta Friday at Loudy-Simpson Park. Students made their boats out of corrugated cardboard, glue, tape, caulking and sealant, but could not use materials such as plastic or fiberglass.

Photo by Shawn McHugh

Gondor the Green Dragon, a boat made and controlled by juniors Amy Chadwick, wearing orange arm floaties, April Rogers, in pink, and Tasha Burke, in back, starts its voyage during the cardboard boat regatta Friday at Loudy-Simpson Park. Students made their boats out of corrugated cardboard, glue, tape, caulking and sealant, but could not use materials such as plastic or fiberglass.

Boats afloat during annual MCHS cardboard boat regatta

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Twenty-four cardboard boats departed Friday from the rocky shores of the pond at Loudy-Simpson Park, but only 15 returned intact.

Fender Bender, a ukulele-shaped boat, was one of the unlucky vessels.

Team members Derek Maiolo and Caitlin Harjes swam away from the wreckage as their ship sank to the pond’s deep.

“It was pretty cold,” Maiolo said. “But it was awesome.”

The cardboard boat regatta, now in its sixth year, took place Friday as part of this week’s Homecoming activities. The Moffat County High School advanced topics science class sponsored the event.

MCHS science teacher Heather Fross said the event is mandatory for juniors and seniors who enroll in the advanced topics science class.

“It’s required,” Fross said. “They do it for a grade, but they do it all on their own time.”

However, Fross said the timed race is open to all MCHS students.

MCHS science teacher Roger Spears said students must follow some parameters regarding materials — namely, cardboard-only — but they’re free to be creative otherwise.

“We really don’t give them a lot of advice because we want them to do their own experimentation, their own design and their own work,” Spears said. “We set some parameters, but we let them be as creative as possible.”

Willie, a cardboard boat in the shape of a blue whale, was one example of student creativity.

Team member Amanda Brewer conceded that the design was an accident.

“Originally it was going to be the Titanic with a shark eating the end of it,” Brewer said. “But it ended up looking like a whale, so we just went with it.”

Willie had a decent start at Friday’s regatta, but the crew ran into trouble before rounding the windward buoy toward shore.

“We couldn’t turn,” Brewer said.

Instead of breaking for home, Willie sailed into the sunset and never finished the race.

Tyler Dilldine, a paddler for the Zipfy, said there was a rivalry brewing between his team and that of the Zombie Barge. Both boats fared well Friday, but the Zipfy won first place.

“There was a little bit of trash talk going on between us,” Dilldine said. “But I’m glad things turned out good for both teams.”

Spears said he was happy with the race.

“It was a lot of fun,” he said. “And that’s really what we want…We want (students) to have fun and use their scientific knowledge.

“We want to show them that science is not just taught within the four walls of the classroom.”

Maiolo said he was in it for the fun.

“Caitlin and I are such good friends and we thought this would be an awesome thing to do…. And, we get extra credit in biology, so why not?” he said.

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