April 09, 2015

SIU to host Great Cardboard Boat Regatta

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The 42nd annual Great Cardboard Boat Regatta is coming to Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s campus lake on April 25. 

Boat registration and inspection begin at 10 a.m. at the boat dock and the cost is $15 per boat entered.  The races begin at 1 p.m. and everyone is welcome to participate, either as a contestant or as an observer. 

There are a variety of competition classes, including: boats powered by paddles, mechanical boats powered by paddle wheels, propellers or other forms of muscle-powered propulsion, and boats built that day at the regatta. There is also a youth division. 

The rules are pretty simple. Create a boat entirely of corrugated cardboard of any thickness and hold it together with glue, caulk, tape or similar substances and add some simple waterproofing. Then, see if the board can make it through the full course on April 25.  There are awards and trophies for the top three finishers in each category, as well as for the most creative entries. 

Don’t despair if the boat capsizes before the finish line though. The Titanic Award recognizes the most spectacular sinking. 

The boat regatta originated as a creative design class project for Richard Archer’s art and design students and in the ensuing decades, has become a global phenomenon, repeated the world over. Alpha Chi Sigma, the SIU professional chemistry fraternity, is now the event organizer. 

The event is a family style activity. Refreshments from 17th Street Bar and Grill will be available for purchase on the grounds. 

Sheets of seven-by-eight foot cardboard, perfect for boat building, are available now for purchase for $3 each. To arrange pickup, or for more information about the regatta, contact Mary Kinsel at 618/453-6428. 

Additional details can also be found on the regatta Facebook page