"Your best bet is to paddle fast," physics teacher Ed Walker said. "You're going to want to reduce pressure by sitting as center as you can and to paddle fast, otherwise that turn may get you."
That was the advice Walker gave William Kelley physics student Tyler Curry before the cardboard boat races in the Silver Bay Marina on Friday, May 17. Curry was one of seven students who braved the cold waters of Lake Superior to test their cardboard boats as part of their physics final.
Students needed to model their boats after a famous boat, create a blueprint and create the boat using only paint, liquid nail and cardboard. Most participants went the film route, choosing to base their designs on boats from movies and dressing up to further reflect their themes.
Collin Konewko and Jessie Ketola braved the waters dressed in pajamas and bathrobes in their Titanic lifeboat, nicknamed "Piece of Ship."
"Well, if we were on the Titanic, we wouldn't have had time to get dressed before we had to get into the boats," Ketola said.
Konewko and Ketola used two refrigerator boxes and origami folds to prevent water leaks. The students also needed to calculate the buoyancy and mark off water lines on their boats. The boats needed to float for at least 30 seconds and to last through the trip from one side of the dock to the other side.
"We're pretty confident that we won't sink," Ben Fragle, another participant, said. "We went through 12 bottles of liquid nail and four cans of spray paint. It might not be as fast as the other boats, but it definitely won't sink."
Fragle worked with Callie Klemmer on their boat the "Jenny" from "Forrest Gump." The two also dressed up as Gump and Lieutenant Dan. Their confidence paid off, the boat didn't sink.
Maureeen Dwyer and Alexxa DeQuevedo went a different route with their "Jaws"-inspired boat.
"When we saw the size of the boxes we had to work with, we knew we needed to make a bigger boat. So we decided to paint a shark on it," DeQuevedo said.
However the boat ended up with very high sides which caused the paddlers to have to jump to enter it and stand upright to paddle. When they made it around the end of the dock, Walker shouted some encouragement.
"I'm very surprised, keep going!" he said.
Although the boat was leaking a lot of water by the time it was dragged to shore, it made the 30-second limit and didn't sink past the water line.
Then it was time for Curry to "paddle fast" in his kayak. Curry was out of town on a cruise ship with his family during most of the work time and his kayak was pieced together in two days.
"I'm nervous, but I think if I keep moving, it should be OK," he said.
In the end, Curry's kayak made it all the way around the dock due to his quick paddling.