Cardboard Boat Race: Underdogs in History


By Jessica Dunn


On September 23, 2022, we hosted the UConn ECE Cardboard Boat Race at the Avery Point Campus with about 200 participants in attendance! Twelve teams representing seven partner high schools spent the morning in maritime-related academic sessions, had lunch outside, including UConn Dairy Bar ice cream, and then took to the water to test how their handcrafted cardboard and duct tape vessels would fare on the mouth of the Thames. One seacraft ventured out a bit further than intended into Long Island Sound but was able to make it back safely with a little help from the safety crew! Underdogs in History: A Belief in the Possibilities was a fitting theme, as one faculty/ staff heat and three student heats fought wind, low temperatures, and currents to make their way around two buoys and back to the finish line.


The numerous hours of collaboration and preparation by the UConn ECE students for the event was evident as all boats fared very well considering the conditions of the day. Teams were recognized with trophies for placing 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in each of the three heats, and the 1st place boat in the Championship Race, The Morgan School’s “USS Independence”, took home the cardboard trophy! In addition to the awards presented for placing in the races, Ledyard High School’s “Ugly Ductling” took home the Best Visual Award, Waterford High School’s “Titanic Undoordog (Jack would have fit!)” took home Best Boat Name Award, and The Morgan School’s second boat, “Miracle on the Water”, took home the People’s Choice Award.


A special thanks to the UConn ECE Instructors and students who participated, and to the entire UConn team including Avery Point Campus staff and subject area presenters who helped make the day a success.