As boats sank in the Campus Lake Saturday during the 39th annual Great Cardboard Boat Regatta, members of the Construction Management Association of America Registered Student Organization successfully tested the craftmanship of their boat.
Nathan Guinzy put a final coat of baby blue paint on his cardboard boat late Friday night in hopes that it would dry in time for the race.
Guinzy, a junior from Ashley studying technical resource management, said before the race he felt confident about his boat, Wet
Willey, and its ability to transport him and another person safely across the finish line.
Guinzy and Rachel Buenker, a junior from Dieterich studying technical resource management, paddled their cardboard boat safely around the course to finish. Both are members of the construction RSO and said they were encouraged by faculty advisors to test their craftsmanship in Saturday’s race.
Guinzy said 10 people originally signed up to help construct Wet Willey, and after two weeks of work, a lot of laughs and beer, the boat was finally complete.
“I’m looking forward to next year’s race. We plan on making the boat bigger and better though,” Guinzy said. “This definitely won’t be the last time you’ll see Wet Willey.”
More than 20 boats were involved, with three classes used to separate the different styles — paddle boats, instant boats and mechanical boats. Wet Willey was a part of the largest class, the paddle boats, with Guinzy and Buenker both using oars supplied at the race. Neither had tested their boat in the water, and despite Guinzy’s confidence in its ability to float, Buenker said she felt differently at first.
“I’m a little nervous about this. Its kind of patched together, and we never hardcore worked on it,” Buenker said. “The basic design is pretty sturdy though, I think it will stay up for a while.”
As fans chanted, “Sink, sink, sink,” Wet Willey’s design turned out to be less than pleasing to the fans who wanted to see the boat go under the water.
“This is just good clean fun. After the first race, it gets pretty obvious why people come out here,” said Cal Muehlenbein, a junior from Dale studying technical resource management. “I just saw a guy walk by with a cardboard top hat full of water balloons. Everybody in the crowd wants the boats to sink so they can throw stuff at it.”
Since the event started in Carbondale in 1973, The Great Cardboard Boat Regatta’s website said the race has since spawned 15,000 nationwide imitators.