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Boat Race Wows and Surprises crowd

Despite+confusion+over+whether+it+would+be+held%2C+the+boat+race+was+still+a+success.+%0A
Despite confusion over whether it would be held, the boat race was still a success.

Despite confusion over whether it would be held, the boat race was still a success.

Annika Yong

Annika Yong

Despite confusion over whether it would be held, the boat race was still a success.

Annika Yong, Web Editor

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Spectators and competitors alike gather around the Irvington swimming pool for the annual boat race during first period of June 1. Different boat designs surrounded the pool—some looked like simple cardboard boxes, yet others were complex and decorative. Open to all Irvington students and clubs, the boat race was a competition between a total of 16 teams this year.

Students formed groups of three to four people, and as per requirements used only duct tape and cardboard to create boats with four surrounding sides. Up to 50 percent of the boat’s bottom could be covered with duct tape. The teams were divided into different rounds, and several swimmers in the pool were responsible for helping them onto the boats as well as flipping them over as they reached the finish line.

Of the 16 teams, only 6 managed to finish the race without overturning or sinking on the way. The winning team included seniors Sarvesh Mayilvahanan, Victor Jann, Saunak Debnath, and Shivam Misra. Although the boat had a simple design, with low sides and a high rear, the team stunned the crowd when Jann completed the race in only 18 seconds by lying on the boat and paddling with his arms.

“We looked at cardboard boats online and we saw that most of the boats were on the smaller side with people lying down and swimming instead of using a paddle.” said Debnath (12), “We thought we had a little bit of a chance of making and [I thought] this is going to fail because we made it in one day, but I learned that simple solutions are usually the best to go with.”

Among the various unique boat designs in the race, one team’s design stood out: the pod-like cardboard boat created by Naveen Ravindar (12), Raymond Zhao (11), Anirudh Maddhuri (12) and Kevin Chen (12). The boat included an elaborate cover, a bottom formed by concrete form tubes, a circular window, multiple seating heights, a waterproof Beats speaker, a blanket, as well as a cooler with ice and a bottle of apple cider. Despite its elaborate design, the boat started tipping over and flipped over soon after it embarked, amusing the crowd.

“We wanted to go crazy because it’s our senior year,” said Ravindar. “It took about 4 hours Wednesday and 8 hours Thursday, and we had difficulties lowering the center gravity, so the boat was way more buoyant than I expected. I learned that you can never go too low for stability and to always have safeties in place because when the boat flipped all of the safety mechanisms worked great and we all got out fine.”

The annual boat race started more than 20 years ago as a physics project, and later became a school-wide event that welcomed all clubs and students to participate.

“Moat of the students who have never seen the boat race generally are amazed that a person can build a boat out of cardboard and still be able to get in and make it across,” said Mr Lee. “A lot of people have this disbelief that this can be done. Hopefully it brought a little bit of fun to the students and tell students that things that seem impossible are maybe possible.”

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Boat Race Wows and Surprises crowd