This cardboard ship hoisted an American flag.
This cardboard ship hoisted an American flag.

HIGHLANDS, NJ – Did it sink or make it to the finish line! All you could use was duct tape and cardboard!

There were some engineering lessons learned at the 4th Annual Cardboard Boat Regatta held Saturday, June 5th at the Sandbox at Seastreak beach in Highlands, NJ. Sponsored by the Henry Hudson Tri-District Education Foundation, participants were challenged not only to build a cardboard boat that would float but be the first to cross the finish line. “Most of the boats crossed the finish line this year,” Brian Boms, Foundation Vice-President remarked. “The returning participants built their designs more seaworthy based on if they succeeded or not in the past. This year the designs were really clever, and the competition was stiff.”

Nearly 20 boats were entered in this year’s competition. “All told we estimate 150 people came out to race or cheer on their favorite boat,” Boms added. “We were grateful for the nice weather which I think added some last-minute entries.”

Photos courtesy of Brian Boms

Contestants could bring a boat built ahead of time or construct one the day of the event. “Cardboard was donated by Bayshore Recycling and duct tape was donated by Slack & Slack, available ahead of time,” race organizer Brian Boms said. “Most people chose to bring a boat, but others built one an hour before the race started.” All boats had to be constructed from corrugated cardboard and duct tape only. Each could be as thick as desired, but duct tape could only be used to reinforce seams and not used to wrap the entire boat. “All waterlogged cardboard was recycled following the race” said Becky Wells, Foundation trustee.


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Races were grouped according to ages and boats could hold up to four sailors. The 1st, 2nd and 3rd place boats won medals and all participants earned a certificate of participation. “Second heats were added for the popular 3rd grade and under and 4th and 5th grade categories because of the number of teams,” Boms said.

Winners include: Juju Tidswell, Lily Luma and Cadi Dettoust for the 3rd grade and under, Owen Srikumpol, Nikhel Grobowski, Jack Srikumpol and Eli Margolic for the 4th and 5th grade heats, Joey Boracchia, Tara Weiss-Doust and Philip Weiss-Doust in the 6th grade heat and Torin Pagella, Joe Joe Newell, Nicco Kurdes and Gavid Deamore in the 7th grade division. Robert Hensle brought his 6th grade class from Atlantic Highlands Elementary to compete.

“Our primary goal is for students to have fun while learning science and math,” Boms continued. “This event involves calculating, measuring, engineering, construction, physics, design, and obviously athletics. And we give an award for the best decorated boat, so art is included too.” (We did, the winner was the “SS Rose” crewed by Joey Boracchia, Tara Weiss-Doust and Philip Weiss-Doust) In addition to sponsoring free events for the entire community, the Foundation raises money to enhance [email protected] programming in the Tri-District schools: Highlands Elementary, Atlantic Highlands Elementary, and Henry Hudson Regional School. Since its inception in 2014, the Foundation has granted over $128,000 to further develop STEM Maker Spaces, additional innovative assemblies to the schools, and enhancements to the art, athletics and music programs by providing critical funds to enrich the curriculum.

According to Boms, “It is local donors who have made our support possible.” A sampling of funded initiatives include:

• New sound board for the high school theater programs
• Chromebooks for Atlantic Highlands & Highlands Elementary
• 3D printers and maker space equipment
• Science lab equipment, learning garden enhancements and lab seating
• Unique STEM field trips including iFly America with the Physics classes
• Escape Room equipment.
• Robotics equipment and competitions
• Odyssey of the Mind funding

The Foundation’s largest fundraisers will be this fall, the popular Chilifest, held on Saturday, October 1st in Atlantic Highlands and the Restaurant Raffle, where the winners will win $1000 worth of local restaurant gift cards.

The Henry Hudson Tri-District Education Foundation is a non-profit 501(c) (3). For more information, or to make a donation to support [email protected] programming, visit the website www.hhtdef.org or find them on Facebook.

The Foundation thanks its premium sponsors Seastreak, Montecalvo & Bayshore Family of Companies, the Atlantic Highlands Front Porch Club, Ship Ahoy Beach Club, Carton Brewery, Shipwreck Rum, Henry Hudson Tri-District Schools, and the many community members who attend and support their efforts.


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