Sweet Briar’s annual Cardboard Boat Regatta was held Saturday, Sept. 28, at the Lower Lake. Each year, students in Bethany Brinkman’s introductory engineering class “Designing Our World” have three weeks to design and build boats capable of carrying two team members through an arduous course with nothing more than 20 pounds of corrugated cardboard and 50 feet of duct tape.
Inevitably, some will not make it back to the dock before succumbing to the water.
This year seven teams competed to see whose boat was fastest, most buoyant and had the best overall design. Alpheus won the race, taking the speed title. The Dip Ships won the design and buoyancy competitions.
The regatta presents a challenging problem that allows students to work as a team through each step of the same iterative process — design, test, improve — that engineers use every day to create real-world solutions. The class is open to non-engineering students and is a good introduction to the field.