Boat regatta leaves students all wet

By: Maria Allard | Grosse Pointe Times | Published March 6, 2018

 With a time of 55 seconds, Grosse Pointe North High School sophomore Emma Troost, front, and junior Jill Peters were the winners with their boat, Buoyancy, in heat 1 during the school’s boat regatta March 1.

With a time of 55 seconds, Grosse Pointe North High School sophomore Emma Troost, front, and junior Jill Peters were the winners with their boat, Buoyancy, in heat 1 during the school’s boat regatta March 1.

Photo by Deb Jacques

GROSSE POINTE WOODS — It was smooth sailing for some, but for others, it didn’t float their boat.

On the afternoon of March 1, Grosse Pointe North High School held its annual boat regatta.

The pool set the stage as students from Dan Pata’s and Jaime Hainer’s physics classes raced boats made from duct tape and cardboard. Pata teaches Advanced Placement physics and Hainer teaches chemistry and honors physics.

Each homemade boat held two students, and each pair — using oars — was required to race its boat from one end of the pool to the other and back without tipping over. While some boats made it, others didn’t.

The boat regatta is a popular event every year. The race is held at the end of a buoyancy unit in which students learn about forces and determine how much water the cardboard boats will have to displace to hold up the two people in them.

“They’re able to take the knowledge from what they learned in class and apply it to something applicable. They have to draw a waterline and make calculations where the water should be,” Hainer said. “All they can use is cardboard and duct tape. The goal is to make it to one side and back. The students love this activity, and it is a great example of the students using their knowledge from the classroom to create something.”

While just two students were in each boat, there were other students who worked to make the boats. The students made model boats first and then made the watercraft for the pool. Each boat started in 4 feet of water, then maneuvered through other depths up to 8 feet 7 inches.

Senior Tommy Kohler was part of the team that worked on the Day 1 Squad boat.

“It was kind of interesting,” he said. “We knew we had to add more cardboard to make the bottom in the boat.”

Senior Chris Corsentino was in the Dark Cloud boat.

“When we saw water seeping into the boat, we tried to get across as soon as possible,” he said.

The students wore flotation devices and dressed appropriately for the water. Parents were invited to watch the event. There were eight heats during the event, with four boats racing per heat. The winners were:

Heat 1: Buoyancy, 55 seconds; heat 2: Boats ’N Bros, 42 seconds; heat 3: Mistaken Bobsled, 48 seconds; heat 4: GEMS, 102 seconds; heat 5: She got the House, 66 seconds; heat 6: Bad Boats Only (BBO), 42 seconds; heat 7: Serenity, 75 seconds; and heat 8: Boating Club, 64 seconds. Boats ’N Bros and Bad Boats Only (BBO) tied with the fastest time.