Oh summer, your here at last. The warmer weather and longer days are welcome by all. And with the return of the summer here, that also mean the return of the Annual Riverhead Cardboard Boat Race. Oh yea!
As many of you know from my first blog post on this site, I entered this amazing competition last year. I, along with my crew, built a mighty sea vessel with nothing more than cardboard boxes and duct tape. When completed, it was approximately fourteen feet long and about three feet wide. It named the Box Muncher, because it was made out of boxes and was going to chew up the competition, or so we thought. The boat was held strong, but our rowing capability was lacking. This year, the boat returned as the Box Muncher II. A little shorter, little wider, and better prepared.
There was A LOT more spectators and entrants this year than last. In fact it was double, leaving little parking space for the convoy of SUVs we had transporting the mighty boat. Like last year, we had the boat in pieces, with plenty of supplies at the ready to assemble the boat. Well, we thought we did. Somewhere between Queens and Riverhead, we had lost our spare supply of Gorilla Glue tape and promotional box cutters. A mad dash to the nearest Home Depot helped resolve our issue. We were able to resupply, assemble the boat, and were awaiting our fate at the hands of the Peconic River.
Here we are again, standing on the dock, holding the boat over our heads, waiting for our spot in the race. It was a beautiful day. In fact, a perfect day for a boat race. A slight breeze swept across our faces as the boat's name was called. We approach the edge and begin to lower the might sea vessel into the water. Like last year, it began to float. Success! Now we begin to step aboard the boat one at a time. Last year, we had five men on the boat. Unfortunately, one could not make it, so we did the only logical thing and replaced him with two more people, evening us out at six people on the vessel. As we hop aboard, I begin to watch the boat sink deeper into the water, but after the final man gets aboard, the water stops rising and we remain afloat. Success again! Then we hear it... the countdown. "3...2...1... GO!" and we were off!
From the land we can hear the growing roar of the crowd clashing with the sound of a hundred oars plunging into the water. We began rowing away from the deck, crashing into other boats along the way. Oars were getting tangled into others and boats were bouncing of each other as we made our way down the river. We were rowing well; much better than last year since we only rowed in circles. We made our way down to the buoy, but we were not the first ones to circle around it. As a couple boats started making their way back, we set our sights on the returning vessels in the hopes of sinking them. A loud "THUD" can be heard as we crashed into the Irish-themed vessel, alas the boat stayed strong as it bounced off of us heading back to the dock. We finally made our around the buoy and began to make our way back when we see that three other vessels are already ahead of us. Like madmen, we began rowing back furiously, hoping to catch when the the worse thing that could possibly happen...happened. Our boat was beginning to split in the half. It was happening slowly, but a bubble was beginning to form in the center of the boat. We began to row even faster, dodging the oncoming traffic of the other boats trying to make their way to the buoy. We began rowing faster, the bubble grew bigger. I move on top of the bubble, delaying the water from breaking through. We row even more, the dock is within reach. With the last ounce of strength, we crash into the dock. We made it. However, we made it into fourth place, meaning this will be the second year the Box Muncher returns without a trophy.
There you have it folks, we didn't win. All was not lost, though we did learn a lot from the year. First, we made it all the way down the river and back, a personal best. Secondly, we need to have the seam of the boat be width-wise, instead of length-wise, thereby removing the bubble effect we were getting in the water. Thirdly, we need to layer up on the cardboard so it doesn't bend and give so easily. Other than that, we all just need to work on the rowing a bit more, and I think next year, we will have ourselves a trophy. That's right, we are returning. Keep an eye out next year for Box Muncher III: Revenge of the Munch. Also, like our Facebook page, were you can see highlights from this years race, along with ideas and construction of next year's boat.