Forsyth Tech Holds Annual Cardboard Boat Regatta


With the promise of warmer spring air temperatures now on the way, Forsyth Tech is preparing for its annual Cardboard Boat Regatta, which will take place on Friday, April 22 from 8 – 9:30 am at the Piney Bluff Boat Launch Ramp at Belews Creek off of Rt. 158 East (driving directions below).

This year, 10 boats will compete in the event, each constructed and piloted by one of the college’s second-year Mechanical Engineering Technology (MET) program students. This represents a change from previous years when teams of two students each worked on one boat. According to Todd Bishop, department chair, Integrated Manufacturing, and program coordinator for Mechanical Engineering Technology Computer-Integrated Machining, this change was implemented to encourage students to become even more responsible for their own work.

Participation in the regatta is a requirement of the Strength of Materials course. Students apply what they have learned in the program to designing, engineering and building their boat, a project that represents one-quarter of their semester grade.

Students must design and construct boats from nothing more than corrugated cardboard, duct tape, liquid nails and waterproof paint. The boats must be able to survive a quarter-mile water journey to and from a buoy in the lake, with the student designers piloting their own boat, and return safe and dry to the shore. Students have the option to use a small motor to propel their craft through the water.

The annual boat regatta has been a tradition of the college’s MET program for more than 40 years. MET faculty don’t see the finished boats until the morning of the regatta.

The rain date for this event is Friday, April 29, rain or shine.