Students put physics – and duct tape – to use in 15th annual cardboard regatta

May 31 2012 - 11:27am

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(NICK SHORT/Standard-Examiner) Travis Nelson (left) and Walker McConkie paddle their boat.
(NICK SHORT/Standard-Examiner) Northridge High’s Jack Hyer tries to get back into his cardboard boat during the Clearfield High cardboard boat regatta on Wednesday at Willard Bay State Park.
(NICK SHORT/Standard-Examiner) Kate Davis reacts to taunts from a spectator as Tyson Young paddles.
(NICK SHORT/Standard-Examiner) Travis Nelson (left) and Walker McConkie paddle their boat.
(NICK SHORT/Standard-Examiner) Northridge High’s Jack Hyer tries to get back into his cardboard boat during the Clearfield High cardboard boat regatta on Wednesday at Willard Bay State Park.
(NICK SHORT/Standard-Examiner) Kate Davis reacts to taunts from a spectator as Tyson Young paddles.

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WILLARD BAY -- The lighted patio torches and the skull and crossbones on the stern of the cardboard boat were creative touches.

But it was the pre-calculus that Northridge High School students Kate Davis and Tyson Young used to figure out angles and weight distribution that had their "pirate ship" vessel posting a respectable 2-minute, 8-second time to the buoy and back.

"The flames added to its awesomeness," Davis said of the lighted torches.

The 15th annual Clearfield High Physics Invitational Cardboard Boat Regatta, which included many Northridge High School student entries, was held Wednesday afternoon at the Willard Bay State Park north marina.

Thirty cardboard boats wrapped with rolls and rolls of duct tape, each entry with its own unique characteristics, were each boarded by two students, who then attempted to paddle their boat 35 meters out and back from a buoy that had been placed in the bay.

Although the students were fairly confident their entries would remain afloat and go the distance, each student, at the demand of the teachers, wore a life jacket while competing.

"A lot of duct tape," said Clearfield High senior Abby Godfrey, explaining the work that went into the boat she and Rylan Fowers entered.

Fowers, also a senior at Clearfield High, said they used seven rolls of duct tape in hopes of being able to prevent their box-rowboat-pontoon-hybrid from taking on water.

"I'm very nervous. I need it to make it," Godfrey said prior to their launching.

The regatta, in addition to fun and bragging rights, offers students extra credit in their respective physics classes at both Davis County high schools.

Godfrey said she needed the extra credit she got when their entry made it out and back to the buoy in 1 minute, 46 seconds.

Fowers credited their success to the pontoon rudders they had attached to the hull of their boat.

Others who participated included Madison Wood and Heather Thomas, whose cardboard boat, which resembled a cat, stayed afloat.

The young women credited the success of their entry to its reinforced siding and to blow-drying the duct tape once it was on the cardboard, to seal the adhesive.

Regarding the cat design, "That just happened," Wood said.

The regatta -- originally held in the Clearfield High swimming pool until concerns arose about the possibility of disintegrating water-logged cardboard plugging the pool filters -- has drawn as many as 60 entries, according to school officials.

This year the contest added a category in which students designed shoes that would allow them to walk across the surface of the water. But very few students attempted such entries, and even fewer were able to make their shoes work.

Jordan Carbine, a senior at Clearfield High, succeeded in walking out to the buoy. But seeing that his legs were tiring, Clearfield psychics teacher Wilson McConkie, who organizes the event, sent a rowboat out to get Carbine.

Before doing so, McConkie yelled to Carbine, letting him know that he would receive full credit for his effort.

Upon reaching the shore, a winded Carbine said:

"A lot of work with the legs."

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