46th annual Cardboard Boat Regatta returns to campus lake

By Elizabeth Biernacki, Staff Reporter

Boat Regatta participants are challenged to make a boat entirely out of cardboard and race them on Saturday, April 27 at the 46th annual Great Cardboard Boat Regatta at Campus Lake.

The event was started as a freshman art and design course final in 1974, said Mary Kinsel, a chemistry and biochemistry professor and event organizer. 

“We directly count back the first regatta was 1974 and from then on we’ve had one annually,” Kinsel said.


Kinsel said anyone willing can participate in one of the four different classes.

“Class I is paddle propelled, class II uses some kind of mechanical propulsion, class III is the instant boat kit, class IV is youth 13 years and younger and they race against each other,” Kinsel said.

According to the SIU 150th Anniversary website, a boat kit will be available on a first come, first serve basis and registrants will have two hours to assemble it.

“We have a kit that’s available the day of the regatta for anyone wanting to just throw something together, get in the water and race,” Kinsel said.

Additionally, there will be fun awards for boats that don’t win the race but are unique in other ways, Kinsel said.

“We have the most dramatic sinking, best team spirit, we have a people’s choice award, best use of cardboard both in adults and the youth section,” Kinsel said. “There’s some different ways people can try to outdo themselves.”

Dalton Fox, a sophomore studying electrical engineering and Lincoln Weber, a sophomore studying mechanical engineering, have been working on their entry since before spring break.


“I think Lincoln has put in about 250 [hours] and I’ve put in about 300 [hours],” Fox said.

Their design consists of a raft, a hamster wheel and lots of duct tape and wood glue.

“This thing isn’t gonna be fast, that’s for sure, but it’s gonna look good,” Weber said.

According to Kinsel, 15 boats have already been pre-registered for the event and registration will be open on race day from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

The regatta is held at Becker Pavilion and races start at 1 p.m. There is a $20 boat registration fee.

Staff reporter Elizabeth Biernacki can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @EBiernacki_619.

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