Cardboard Boat Race - Punt, pole and paddle is the way forward

Tennis rackets as oars, umbrellas as sails, and one makeshift drummer for a bit of on-ship entertainment: it can only be the Cambridge University Cardboard Boat Race.

Eager spectators lined the banks of the River Cam to cheer friends on while a few turned up to experience a bit of schadenfreude on Suicide Sunday as yet another boat disintegrated into the Cam. But on Sunday none of the boaties were to be deterred by the river's cold waters.

One crew sunk in style with pimms on board and two separate boats joined together in the hope that double the effort could produce results. It was not just students who lined the banks, families too joined in the festivities, not to mention the tourists. Unsurprisingly, the oarsome boating puns and references were plentiful as competing names included ‘One Hull of a Problem' and ‘Ship happens'.

"It was better than May bumps!" claimed one enthusiastic spectator, and there were smiles on everyone's faces at Jesus Green, even those left to pull their sopping cardboard out from the river.

After the race, TCS Sport caught up with the proud and humble winners of the 2013 Cardboard Boat Race: James Wright, John Grenfell-Shaw, Adam Dougall and Daisy Gomersall.

A circular boat, a firm base, three oars to hand and a punter at the back, ‘The Gaffa Maria' took the group approximately 15-20 hours to make. "We're happy to win" said James, "and surprised too. The punting pole was fairly last minute."

The crew got off to a good start, reached Magdalene Bridge within minutes and journeyed back with confidence and triumphant cheers. When asked about the secret to their success, the group replied: "Punt, pole and paddle is the way forward" and this success comes in the form of two free St Edmund's May Ball tickets.

The salvaging of cardboard and park picnics continued throughout the afternoon leaving one particularly well-designed boat to paddle as far as Queens'. Overall, it was a thoroughly successful event which ended in many declarations of boating intent for next year, suggesting that the opportunity to express ingenuity through a bit of cardboard, PVA glue and gaffa tape remains afloat.

Yema Stowell

blog comments powered by Disqus

Related Stories

In this section

Across the site

Best of the Rest