Several dozen cardboard boats shoved off from the shore of Silver Lake on the Darlington School campus Monday afternoon for the Physics Boat Race.
Students were given two sheets of cardboard and one 60 foot roll of duct tape to build a boat and paddles that had to carry two members of their team as far across the lake as possible.
About half of the vessels made it to the middle of the lake and a handful made it all the way across.
Darlington freshmen Sia Patel and Radha Miniyar sunk their boats almost immediately, however they were not alone as more and more of their classmates took on water during the event. The race wasn’t about being first as much as it was to see how far the students could get their boat to go, physics teacher Brendan Leezer told the students before they got into the water.
Leezer cautioned the students about getting in and out of their boats and gave instructions on what to do if their creations went under. In the past, students would try and drag their waterlogged boats across the lake or even jump into their boats out of excitement.
“Learn from the mistakes of others,” he said. “Jumping into a cardboard boat is not a good idea.”
After the race was over, Leezer said this year could be considered a success by how many of the boats made it to the middle of the lake. He said for next year he wants to incorporate recycled plastic into the supplies given to the students when they begin building.
Scattered around Silver Lake were friends and family cheering on the racers including 2015 Darlington graduate Grace Welborn. Welborn was there to watch her sister take place in the race and recalled what it was like when she was a freshman at Darlington. The rules have changed since she competed she said. Her sister and her classmates had more restrictions on how they could make their boat and what materials could be used.
Physics teacher Barbara Cuckhoff said students first designed their boat and then made clay models. From the clay models, scaled versions were created with students having to calculate how their added weight would affect the final result.