Cardboard Boat Racing
Corrugated cardboard has many properties that make it ideal as a packaging material, however, as a paper-based material, it is typically best kept away from damp conditions.
There seems to be one major exception to this rule. Through the summer months, the lightweight, robust qualities of cardboard are really put to the test, as teams compete in cardboard boat races. As a low-cost and widely available material, cardboard is accessible to all. As a result, these fun competitions attract family teams, work colleagues and enthusiasts. All put their engineering skills to the test in a bid to stay afloat.
Each cardboard boat race has specific rules about the materials which can be used, design restrictions and the number of passengers. At this year’s Seawork Race in Southampton, all vehicles had to be registered prior to competing. They were checked to ensure they compliant with the ISVO (International Soggy Vessel Organisation) Law.
Cardboard vessels are influenced by the design of a variety of craft; from rowing boats to steamers, pirate ships to catamarans, the design can take many forms. Many teams will create a scale model of their cardboard design to test water displacement and weaknesses in the design, before constructing their final model. The entries are often a fantastic showcase of engineering skill, scientific understanding and creative abilities.
If you fancy giving it a try, there are still opportunities this summer. As an example, the Mechanical Engineers Cardboard Boat Race will be taking place in Plymouth Harbour on 14th September 2019.
Cardboard Boat Races are popular in America. The town of New Richmond in Ohio is proud of its annual community regatta. In celebration of the fantastic cardboard boats that have participated in the race, it has opened a museum to showcase some of the entries that remained afloat. If you are planning on entering a cardboard boat race, look online for photos from this museum for inspiration!
Making a Grand Entrance
You may think that a corrugated cardboard boat would disintegrate in minutes, but some can transport their passengers a considerable distance.
Back in 2016, presenter Kevin McLeod made quite an entrance. He arrived at the Grand Designs Live show in a recycled cardboard boat. The vessel had sailed down the Thames, with Kevin and the captain on board. It was lifted from the water to become an exhibit at the event.
Whilst we wouldn’t recommend entering the Thames in a cardboard boat, it clearly shows what is possible.
Summer Holiday Fun
We are all looking for cheap and fun activities to keep everyone entertained throughout the summer holidays. From scale models to float on the paddling pool, to vessels that are strong enough to carry a passenger in a local race, could cardboard boats be the solution? We’d love to see your creations on the Aylesbury Box Company Facebook Page!