Clover students build record 23-foot cardboard boat, but will it float?

adys@heraldonline.comMay 8, 2013 

— Just building what might be a world record 23-foot multi-passenger cardboard wasn’t enough for physics students at Clover High School. The boat is built: Using nothing but corrugated cardboard, white school glue that the rotten kids in kindergarten used to eat, and paint.

Saturday, Tom Dissington’s students find out on Lake Wylie if the boat will float.

Or sink.

With the whole class in it.

“I hate to say it but it kinda looks like a garbage scow,” said Dissington, the physics teacher who is a bit unconventional in his projects - the students yearly participate in a state contest for catapulting pumpkins called punkin chunkin. “It will float.”

“Or it wont.”

The boat is made from these huge sheets of laminated cardboard, cut and formed and fitted and vised together over the past three months, with all that glue that used to leak from the bottle. Paint will seal it and make it look pretty and hopefully keep Lake Wylie underneath the boat and not in the boat.

The dozen-plus students and two intrepid teachers will paddle the boat over what is hoped to be a mile.

“It’s tough to test a boat this big in the bathtub,” Dissington said. “Saturday is our test. It is sink or swim.”

The boat is even named the “CHS Sail-N-Sink.”

The students’ proposed name of “CHS Piece of Ship” did not make the cut.

The crew of students that is made up of jocks and mechanics, arts students and math whizzes, will keelhaul the boat from the school’s Applied Technology Center where it has been built, using a trailer and prayers.

“Anybody that sees a 23-foot cardboard box on the road going about 21 Miles an hour, they found us” Dissington said.

The launch is planned for 10 a.m. at Allison Creek Boat Ramp, located just east of S.C. 274.

The public is invited to watch from the shore or even from the lake. The physics is sound, Dissington said, and the boat, theoretically, should do what boats do: Float.

“We would love to have people cheer us on,” Dissington said. “These kids have spent a long time on this, they believe in this boat, and I believe in them and this boat. Saturday, we see if we get wet.”

Andrew Dys * 803-329-4065

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