"Race Rules
Construction basics"



We're all in this to enjoy a great event, be with friends, and try out some ingenious inventions. The idea: to explore the characteristics of corrugate cardboard while being creative in meeting "TheChallenge."

I. Boat Class Definition

In this regatta, there is only one class.

CLASS I boats are those made entirely of corrugated cardboard and porpelled only be canoe paddles, oars, or kayak padles. Swimming or padling with a surfboard made of corrugated cardboard is not permitte. There are four age group racing categories:

  1. Under 12 year olds
  2. 12-14 year olds
  3. 15-18 year olds
  4. College/universite students

II General Rules for ALL Boats/Craft

  1. The Boat Skipper must register at the Regatta.
  2. The entire hull, superstructure, and seating of each cardboard craft must be made entirely of corrugated cardboard.
  3. Only corrugated cardboard is permitted ... any thickness is OK
  4. Items used as oars or paddles may be of material other than cardboard.(they may be commercially purchased)
  5. The hull must not be wrapped in plastic, duct tape, or anything else.   The hull must not be sprayed with the waterproofing material advertised on TV.
  6. Only seams,  joints, and edges may be taped.  See ‘E’.
  7. The boat must be free of sharp edges, pointy objects, or anything else that could injure someone.
  8. The passenger area of your boat must not be enclosed above the shoulders of occupants. Each person must be visible while the boat is in the water.
  9. The passenger area of your boat must not be enclosed above the shoulders of occupants. Each person must be visible while the boat is in the water.
  10. The following materials are prohibited: tar-based substances, two-part varnishes, fiberglass resin, epoxy glue, any other two-part or toxic substances, spray foam, foam board, non-corrugated cardboard (e.g., carpet tubes, barrels, plastic bottles), or corrugated cardboard that is bonded to any other material, or that water-proofing spray stuff in a can.
  11. To qualify as a finisher in any heat, the crew must be <strong>in </strong>their boat, paddling – not towing or pushing it.
  12. No more than 2 contestants will be permitted in any boat.
  13. All boat occupants must wear a lifejacket (a “PFD,”or “personal flotation device”), properly fastened, while in the boat or water.
  14. Boat occupants must wear footwear with a substantial sole while in the boat or water. No Flip-flops are permitted
  15. Consumption of alcohol or any other substance that may impair an individual’s ability or safety will not be permitted either before or during the event. Race officials may disqualify individual participants or the entire boat.  You shouldn’t be drinking anyway—most of you are underage!
  16. Periodically check the scoreboards to know in what heat(s) you  will run.
  17. Boats with the fastest times in the preliminary heats advance to semi-finals; fastest semi-finalists advance to the finals.
  18. A  time limit per heat may be in effect. Listen for announcements


All entries will undergo a Technical Inspection that includes enclosed compartments for compliance with these rules. A boat must pass inspection to be eligible for any awards. Teams will have an opportunity to fix violations and be re-inspected.

If the cardboard is not corrugated, don’t use it.


Any appeal must be made promptly to the race coordinator. No other race official is authorized to resolve any appeal.
A. Technical Inspection. The skipper of an entry that does not pass inspection may appeal a decision of the Technical Inspectors. If an appeal is made, it must be made promptly after initial inspection; an appeal must be made and settled before the boat or craft enters the water for its first heat.
B. Other Infraction. The skipper of a boat charged with any other infraction may appeal the decision. If an appeal is made, it must be made promptly and settled before the Regatta ends so that the crew may still have the opportunity to participate.


Race Winners
1st-3rd place

Pride of the Regatta
Most creative design/construction; best use of corrugated cardboard

 Vogue Award
Most attractive or spectacular-looking boat. The winner will be selected before heats begin.

Best-Dressed Team
May be funny, spiffy, or elegant , but they must be creative.

Team Spirit Award
Most spirited team – the one that has the most fun participating

Titanic Award
Most spectacular sinking. Teams must remove all boat remnants from water and dispose them properly to be eligible.
Peoples’ Choice Award
Determined by the voting spectators

High School Trophy
Trophy presented to the winning team that represents a high school


  1. ALL Boat Captains must register at the Regatta (even if you have pre-registered.
  2. All participating students under 18 must bring a waiver of liability signed by their parent or guardian. Any student who is 18 must provide his Florida driver’s license for confirmation and sign a waiver.


Thus, Endeth “The Race Rules”

Building a cardboard boat

To build a cardboard boat large and strong enough to be paddled around the 200 yard course requires applying some principles of physics (this isn’t the lady that tells your fortune when you call the 1-800 number).

An ancient Greek guy (who may have been one of my relatives), named Archimedes, found that if an object is placed in water, and it displaces its weight in water, it will float.

So, how does that help us?

First of all, decide who will be the two people that will paddle the boat.  Add their combined weights + clothing + pfd’s (lifejackets) + paddles + the weight of the boat = the minimum weight your boat must support.

For purposes of this illustration, we assume the bottom of the boat is a rectangle.  Don’t worry about calculating the bow section (that’s the pointy front of the boat), unless you enjoy a challenge.

You will remember from plane and solid (analytic) geometry:

(A)rea = (L)ength X (W)idth
(V)olume = (A) X (H)eight (height of the side of the boat—the hull)
Water weighs 62.4lbs/ft3

Example:  Suppose your proposed   boat is 12’ long,3’wide, and has a 1’ high hull.

V = LWH = (12)(3)(1) = 36ft3

Water displaced in lbs = (36ft3)(62.4lbs/ft3) = 2246.4lbs

The proposed boat will float 2246.4 pounds before it becomes a submarine, which, in this regatta, will disqualify the vessel.  Ideally, the water level should be at least 6” below the gunwale (the top edge of the hull side) to allow for roll and splashing.  Consider the calculation with a  6” (0.5’) hull height:

V = (12’) (3’) (.05’) = 18ft3
Water displaced = (18ft3) (62.4lbs/ft3) = 1123.2lbs


What a difference 6” makes!  At any rate, you get the idea.  Consider the size of your boat.  Double check the math.  The boat must be sturdy enough to be carried from the parking lot to the beach.  It must have sides (a hull).  Rafts, surfboards and paddleboard-type vessels will be disqualified.  Do some research on the internet. There is a wealth of information and ideas.  You are encouraged to develop creative designs and decorate your boat to impress the thousands that will be present to cheer you on. 

Keep in mind that wider, longer boats are more stable and may be faster, but they are more difficult to turn (maneuver). Shorter boats are more difficult to paddle in a straight line.  The ideal length boat for a two-person crew is probably 10-12 feet.  Good luck and have fun!!!


Bob Shipman
Card Board Race Chairman
Shaddai Shriners