Cardboard craft, crews draw cheers at regatta Boat builders try variety of styles

June 13, 1993|By Alan J. Craver | Alan J. Craver,Staff Writer

Andrew Currier took to the waters of Lake Kittamaqundi in boat made of cardboard, duct tape and a sheet of plastic yesterday -- and managed to stay afloat.

Andrew and his classmates at McDonogh School in Baltimore County were one of 30 teams that raced in the annual Great Cardboard Boat Regatta in Columbia's Town Center.

Andrew, who will be a senior next fall, used phrases like "trapezoidal shape," "tri-beam stresses" and "structural rigidity" to describe how his team kept the cardboard vessel from sinking.

"If you can keep the boat stiff and dry, you have a good shot," said Andrew, of Columbia's Oakland Mills village.

Andrew and his team finished second in their class -- not bad for a boat built in about an hour on the lawn along Lake Kittamaqundi.

The regatta, now in its third year, drew hundreds of people to the lake to cheer their favorite teams as they crossed the finish line or went down in the tradition of the Titanic.

Others came just for fun and sun.

"It's just fun to watch," said Rick Wagner, of Columbia's Long Reach village. "It's great entertainment."

Added his wife, Jodi Wagner: "Seeing the boats sink, that's kind of neat."

Three classes of boats raced -- paddle-powered canoes or kayaks; paddle-wheel-, propeller- or sail-powered craft; and "instant boats," made the day of the race. Kits including cardboard, duct tape, plastic and a razor knife were available for those who wanted to build on the spot.

The boat's hull, superstructure and seating had to be made of corrugated cardboard of any thickness, according to the rules. Only the boat's seams and joints could be sealed.

"Boy, some of these are really elaborate," said one woman as she walked by the display of boats participating in the race.

One boat was fashioned after the Enterprise in "Star Trek." One was called Noah's Ark, complete with cardboard elephants, giraffes and lions. Another was tagged the Minnow -- manned by the Skipper, the Professor, Mary Ann and, of course, Gilligan.

"It's great to get out and see how innovative people can be," said Andy Dantzler, who raced in the Tidy Bowl II. "It's a lot of fun."

The team of Columbia Bank employees should get credit for the most-improved performance. In the last two years, their boat sank. This year, they finished fifth in the finals with a vessel called "We're in the Money."

But the team brought along its own lifeboat, called "Spare Change," just in case.

L Team members said working together and persistence paid off.

"It was a big thrill for me," said Pat Dauteuil.

Organizers presented awards to the top finishers in the three classes.

Steve White of Harper's Choice village in Columbia won the kayak paddle-powered competition for the third year in a row in a kayak. His wife, Tina White, finished second, also in a kayak.

The physics class at Hammond High School won in the category for vessels powered by propellers, paddle-wheels or sails.

The father-and-son team of James and William Tordella, of the Hickory Ridge in Columbia, won in the class of instant boats. They finished third last year.

Other winners included: Clarksville Middle School, for most creative use of cardboard; Christ Memorial Presbyterian Church's Pioneer Youth Group, for most spectacular or attractive boat; and Harper's Choice Middle School, for most spirited team and the People's Choice award.

The regatta is sponsored by the Columbia Forum, an advocacy group that studies issues related to the future of Columbia.

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