Whatever Floats Your Boat: As Long As It’s Cardboard

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Looking for something unique to do this month? We have just the thing. Collect some cardboard and build yourself a boat. That’s right, a boat. Take it to the Westside Aquatic Center on February 29, 2020 and prepare to race that cardboard boat in Greenville’s Cardboard Regatta!

Jump into the driver seat, feel the thrill, the excitement, the anticipation of the starting whistle, as the crowd cheers and you climb into your boat, which hopefully doesn’t sink immediately.

The referee’s whistle pierces the air and you shoot out across the water, paddling hard, in the trusty boat you made yourself.   The other end of the pool doesn’t look too far, but yet, what is this?  The CARDBOARD underneath you is beginning to get wet.  Paddling harder you find yourself sinking lower and lower into the water.  Good thing you’ve got that life jacket.  Will your cardboard boat make it to the end?  Will that duct tape hold?  Maybe that extra layer would have been helpful after all.  Who will get to the finish first?

What’s the Cardboard Regatta?

Sound fun?  You’ll want to check out Greenville County’s Cardboard Regatta, coming February 29, 2020.  For just $15 you and your kids or friends can build and race your very own cardboard pool cruiser.  Get your family, school club or scout troop together and build a seaworthy vessel (ok, not the sea, just the Westside Aquatic Pool) out of cardboard and duct tape. 

According to the rules duct tape can only be used to join seams of cardboard, so don’t get any ideas about covering the whole thing in waterproof tape.  That would be too easy!  Call around to local retailers and ask for appliance boxes and other large pieces.  Most places we called last year sent us to their dumpsters behind their stores, and we found plenty with just a few visits.

Groups will need to consider how to construct a boat that will float at least one paddler across the Westside Aquatic pool and back, and possibly through a final heat.   (Note the race runs across the short width of the pool, not the full length.)  Teams will also have to consider the aesthetics of their ship, their theme and team name, in order to possibly win the “Allure of the Seas” award, for the best looking boat.  Other awards include the “Queen Elizabeth” for the best all-around boat, the “World is Not Enough” for the world’s fastest yacht, and the “Titanic” award for the best sinking.

What do you win?  This is a cardboard regatta.  Winners will take home a beautiful, super intricate, finely crafted trophy, made from cardboard.  Even if you’re not a top finisher, at least you’ve got a story to tell.  How many people can say they raced a cardboard boat?  Right?

Boat passengers and paddlers must be at least 7 years of age, but anyone can work on constructing the boat.  And of course, anyone can cheer on their team!  My family participated the last four years, and while we have had many glorious sinkings and mixed results, we have indeed had a marvelous time and made many memories.  Last year we won the coveted Jack Sparrow award for the best looking crew. We all enjoyed building the boat, and are definitely looking forward to some significant design improvements this year!

So get building.  Wear your swim suit.  And get ready to race!

Float Your Own Boat

Greenville County’s Cardboard Regatta

February 29, 2020; 2:00-5:00 p.m.

Cost $15 for families, school groups and scout groups, $50-$100 for corporate groups.

How would you build a cardboard boat?

About the Author
Maria Bassett is a former school orchestra teacher, turned homeschool mom. She and her husband homeschool their 3 sons and 1 daughter, who range from 4th grade through 9th grade. Believing children learn best when they are engaged and having fun, this family loves to take their homeschool on the road, around Greenville and beyond.

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7 years ago

Free to watch_that is also fun. The boyscouts seemed to have the advantage with their rowing skills. Fresh.newer cardboard holds up the best. Used, worn or wrinkled pieces don’the hold up.