Duct Tape Regatta

I don't know where the maker and DIY movement would be without duct tape. From the old Red Green skits, to the duct tape wallet, it's the goto fastener for putting some things to other things. In comparison, cardboard get's a bit of a bum deal. It's that stuff we're always trying to get rid of. Especially if you have a pathological Amazon habit, like I do. There are a lot of broken down smiling boxes waiting to be recycled.

It's ubiquity makes it easy to overlook, but it's a great material. Adam Savage has waxed lyrical about its properties many times. It's easily worked, rigid enough to be structural, but can also be bent to your will when necessary. Best of all, it's cheap. Depending on the size you want, it can even be free.

Now imagine what can you do if you combine these two amazing modern materials? How about a boat? No really. I actual boat that you get in and paddle. In a race.

That's the idea behind the duct tape regatta. You may build a boat of any design you like, but are limited to duct tape and cardboard. Paint is allowed, but only for aesthetic purposes. It can't provide any significant structural or waterproofing help. Any form of cardboard is allowed: from discarded boxes, to honeycomb core, to concrete casting tubes.

The racing classes are based on age and number of passengers in the boat. Many of the entries follow a theme. This year we had Romans, Vikings, and Pirates (including Captain Jack Sparrow on a casting-tube pontoon raft. As with most years, there were some maritime disasters, which is (of course) a big part of the fun.

A group of vikings, complete with horned helmets, prepares for launch.

The vikings quickly found that the seaworthiness of their craft was lacking, and had to rely on mom walking behind to provide stability.

In an older class, we saw a range of seaworthy vessels, including rafts, canoes, barges, and outriggers.

Captain Jack (effect only slightly spoiled by the mandatory life vest) prepares to face off against a cardboard version of one of Cousteau's Zodiacs.

A Huck Finn style cardboard raft and a dragon boat wait their turn. Unfortunately, my card filled just as the dragon boat hit the water and immediately turned into an aquatic dragon.

The races were about 100 meters, which was about the limit for many of the crafts and crews. Great fun was had by all. Now that PP has reached the minimum age, I think we'll be obligated to participate next year. With my tendency to overcomplicate things, I'm already trying to figure out how to make a functional paddle wheel drive train.