Northport Engineering Students Compete In First Annual Cardboard Boat Race


Carlee Ferrara

The students and teachers who were a part of the race. Every student belonged to a team that helped to create the first Cardboard Boat Race, and the students returning next year are hoping to see the second one.

Carlee Ferrara

During the school day of Wednesday, October 12th, several students left Northport High School and boarded a bus headed to Northport Harbor. There, a bus of over 30 students emptied a truck full of what appeared to be junk: cardboard and duct tape. As visitors downtown and parents of these students gathered around the harbor, onlookers couldn’t help but wonder what was going on.

These kids were students from Mr. Yarusso’s engineering classes, participating in the first ever Cardboard Boat Race. This race challenged students in the class to create a boat using a limited amount of cardboard and duct tape. Each team consisted of one captain, who was in charge of overseeing the boat as well as setting sail into the harbor. 

For those who chose to dive head-first into the harbor, their boats had to hold the captain and two other members of the team, or the captain and the heaviest member of the team. These boats had to travel from the port to a red buoy, make it around, and head home to get first place. 

Along with the building of the boat, the teams also got to name them. Some of them included The Titanic, 631-Princess, Coffin (the captain of this boat explained it was because they were headed six feet under), and The Argyll. One of the boats also had written, “see you at the bottom” on the side of their cardboard creation.

As well as the students competing in the race, Mr. Dennis and Mr. Cocchiola also made an apearance. According to the principal, the boat he had used was created by the students, and he’d chosen to name it The Rockstars. Mr. Dennis held a lot of trust in the students who had made his boat, but he fell overboard before he could make it out of the dock.

Mr. Dennis managed to make it out a few meters, but not before eventually tumbling over. (Carlee Ferrara)

Unfortunately, his boat was not the only one to sink. Another boat also failed to make it past the docks, while the rest successfully made it to the buoy and back. The boat that came in first finished much faster compared to the rest, but almost each boat still made it there and back with time. 

After the first place boat successfully made it back, Mr. Cocchiola decided to take it for a spin. While Mr. Dennis and Mr. Cocchiola rode the harbor waves on cardboard, Mr. Y observed in a dinghy to monitor and make sure no captains went down with their ship. 

Each boat contained something different that the teams believed would make it more beneficial for their success. Some teams used more duct tape on the oars in hopes they would suck up less water, making the paddling easier. Other boats lined the bottom with multiple layers of duct tape so they would stay afloat. 

The winning boat managed to create a connecting piece with cardboard and duct tape, allowing for the captain and his teammate to lie down on their stomachs and paddle, similar to a catamaran boat. Two pieces of cardboard were then layered over with duct tape and placed into two holes on both boat pieces (one in the front, and one in the back). This boat had the advantage compared to others because of this idea. 

During the race, members of the media arts production class were able to capture footage and photos of the event, which will be posted to the Northport High School Media Arts Production YouTube page. Interviews of each team and their boat are included in the footage, as well as input from Mr. Y and Mr. Dennis.  Be sure to check it out, and congratulations to the engineering class that managed to keep this race afloat!