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We Be Buildin’ Boat for the Cardboard Cup

We strive to provide excellent products and customer service at OWC, but we’re not about all work and no play! We’re committed to supporting the environment, the community, and employee mental health in a variety of ways. Some companies choose team building outings with mock exercises to build an enjoyable and productive corporate culture. We build our teams and culture around fun and unusual activities that provide creative and competitive outlets.

Fun with Cardboard

OWC boat and crew 2006

2006 marked our first entry into America’s Cardboard Cup Regatta. This annual national championship Cardboard racing event floats along a 200 yard course in Crystal Lake, Illinois, although similar races are held in many states. This year’s race celebrates its 25th year on June 27th and expects to host almost 200 various themed floating (hopefully!) entrants. Any group may enter, and the totally reasonable entry fee ($20.00) make it a great family, neighborhood, and corporate activity.

A Little History

According to Internet sources, cardboard boats made their first appearance on the lakes on America in 1962. An enterprising physics student in a Senior Design Department Class at the Southern Illinois University designed and built a 20lb, eight-foot boat. Davis Partt’s boat easily discharged its goal of traveling 100 feet without sinking. You can peruse the original assignment problem and design notes from the Cardboard Boats Design Department Southern Illinois University 1962 online.

Today, simple one-man box-boats have morphed into a variety of flotilla-worthy fashion, including pirate ships, trains, and animals. Requirements for a cardboard boat include corrugated cardboard, the ever useful duct tape, glue, and drywall tape. Banned substances include epoxy, fiberglass, metal, and pre-waxed cardboard. The Discovery Channel has a mildly funny video showing a mishap with a variety of boats.

Captain Ryan’s Building Crew

2008 OWC Cardboard Cup Entry
OWC's 2008 Cardboard Cup entry

OWC staff volunteers started building a 10-person human-powered vessel in April under the competent direction of our Warehouse Operations Manager, Ryan O’Connor. The hardworking volunteer crew works weekends to meet the June deadline.  Last year’s OWC entry, pictured here, qualified for the finals, but a bad storm sacrificed the event.

Builders can choose from three classes of boats, including Paddle and Oar, Paddle and other people power, and Sail. OWC plans to use kayak paddles to move its sleek entry through the waters. We have a secret to our waterproofing that definitely meets the official rules. We always do things by the book, just like how we run the business.

Now, we don’t want to give away our boat building prowess secrets, but we’ll let you have a sneak peak at our floating gem today. More photos coming after the race, along with trophy silliness, and the event itself!

Grant, Brian, and Mike Work on 2009 Boat
Grant, Brian, and Mike working on the hull
OWC 2009 Boat Takes Shape
OWC's 2009 boat takes shape
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  • just noticed would your guys mind if i put one of your photos on cardboard boat? I love how you guys made a building platform from pallets, simple great idea

  • OK well when you guys get ready to go again, send me and update so I can put you guys on :)

    Wishing the best for you and your families until you launch again…

  • Hey guys are you still building cardboard boats?

    We’re building a brand new site on the subject, and are looking for cool pics and info.

    Thanks :)

    • Hi JD….unfortunately for 2011, our crew has many family related obligations that hit right around the race in June so we’re going to be landlubbers this year.