Sink or Swim

Matt Haak (12) struggles to retrieve his paddle as his partner Ben Lytle (12) keeps moving. Photo by Alan Rubiola.

Physics students tested their knowledge of buoyancy and craftsmanship when they participated in the cardboard boat races at the Davis Natatorium on Friday May, 6.

Schools from all over the district competed against each other as the objective was to keep their boat with two or three people in it afloat and paddle across a 50 meter long pool, using only cardboard and duct tape to construct it. Friends and family in the crowded stands cheered and sometimes laughed as contestants sank, or raced passed them.

Boats varied from simplistic designs such as simple rectangular body shape with multiple layers of cardboard, to more advanced boats with complex internal structures, even sails. Some teams flowed across with ease while some struggled to keep their boats air tight, causing them to sink. But it’s not all about boat design, the contestants also had to know how to paddle. A handful of sunken ships were caused by paddling too much to one direction or tipping the boat over with body weight while trying to move the boat. Junior Taylor Johnson and her team experienced trouble before they could even start paddling.

“Our boat sank within the first couple of seconds. We put it in the water and the boat was floating just fine. Darik gets in and the boat immediately tips over,” Taylor said.

Darik Dillard (11) after tipping the boat over. Photo by Alan Rubiola.

Whether they sank or swam, many students discovered changes they could have made to improve their boats. It’s just experience that next year’s contenders can learn from.

“We could have improved the sides of the boat. The front and back were strong, but the sides only had one layer,” Taylor said.

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One thought on “Sink or Swim

  1. The boat races were so much fun! I can’t wait to go again next year…I hope I don’t sink again though.

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