Stripes" was the fastest
and most technologically advanced all-around human powered boat ever
built by Team UAH. It was a Strategically
whose shape and uncharacteristically large deflections were measured by
depositing and projecting Stripes
onto the hull. Along with the University of Florida (UF), we established
three new sprint records in the concrete canoe competition:
Men's Sprint (UAH) - 1:05:97
Women's Sprint (UF) - 1:12:00
Co-Ed Sprint (UAH) - 1:07:34
The boat was 6.7 m (21.96 ft) long and had a mass of 32.6
kg (a weight of 72 lb), a maximum width of 77.5 cm (30.5 in.), and a
maximum depth of 34.3 cm (13.5 in.). A 757 kg/m3 (47.3 lb/ft3)
concrete mix, having an average 7-day tensile strength of 1.77
MPa (256 psi), was used to produce the hull. We placed this
water-resistant concrete by hand over three layers of a graphite mesh
and employed an ingenious construction scenario to eliminate permanent
spacers. The nominal wall thickness was 0.74 cm (0.29 in.).
The canoe was inherently buoyant and painted red, white, and blue.
Southeast Regional Student Competition
Photos) was held
April 4-6, 2002 in Tallahassee, Florida. Events were hosted
by Florida A&M - Florida State University and the concrete canoe
races were held on Lake
Team UAH paddlers included (top left to right) Sara Yeldell, Kari
Salomaa, Crystal Bennett Echols, (bottom left to right) Matt Barron, and
At the competition, we were forced to use the host's equipment and ran into some technical problems during the oral
presentation. The glitch was enough to give the University
of Florida the competitive edge that they needed to win and represent the Southeast at nationals in
We won the design report category by a very small margin
over UF and placed second in the final product behind the University of
Puerto Rico - Mayaguez. UPRM had a great boat with a fantastic paint
job. They integrated their exposed strip very well into their
design and received a perfect score from 4 out of 5 judges. We
received two perfect scores for our product and the same average score
as UPRM from the five judges. UF placed third in this event.
Stripes" gets the
once over by the judges.
The display category was equally competitive and we
received the same average score that UF did from the five judges.
But UF had four perfect scores compared to our three and, with the high and low scores
removed, won the event by a very small margin.
The judges were impressed by our display.
Prior to the competition, we were told by FAMU/FSU that
we were required to use their equipment for the presentation and that we
would not be allowed to test our software prior to the event.
We expressed our concern over these issues and asked them for
very detailed specifications regarding the type of computer, the clock
speed, the operating system, and the peripherals.
We were told that they had a Toshiba Satellite Laptop with a
Pentium 3 Processor that had a clock speed of 1.10 GHz, 512 MB Ram, and
Due to the size and complexity of our
presentation and the fact that we were told that the computer was
running Power Point 2000, we elected to use the Power Point “Pack and
Go” function to package our presentation on a CD.
This standard function packages the software as a self-extracting
file that allows the presentation to be unpackaged on another computer.
As explained to us by one of the judges, the
Windows 2000 operating system that was on the computer in question, did
not allow self-extracting executable files to be run unless the user had
administrative authority over the system.
Since there was not a system administrator available and this
authorization was not provided, we could not launch our software.
We made every effort to use the host’s computer.
But, as a last resort, we were forced to use one of the slower
laptops that we had on hand.
finished the presentation on time, the team was slightly shaken because
our slides ran a bit out of sequence. Due to the slow clock
speed of the computer that we were using, most of the mpeg files that had
taken us months to prepare didn't even run.
underlying circumstances, the team did well in the question and answer
session. But four out of five judges elected to assess penalty
points, placing us fourth in the event. That's all it took for UF
to gain the competitive edge that they needed to win and represent the Southeast in
Wisconsin at the national level.
The races also got off to a shaky start. After FIT
recorded a very fast time in the women's slalom/distance race, UF was
told that they failed to properly negotiate a buoy and were assessed a
one minute penalty. After successfully negotiating most of the
slalom, our woman's team was called back because the clock did not
start. When we went through the course again, our bow paddler
hooked a buoy rope and was forced to drop her paddle. After a mad
scramble, she retrieved it and the team finished a distant second behind
FIT. UF ended up third in this event.
UAH is momentarily "up the creek without a paddle."
Great recovery ladies!
The men's distance race went more smoothly. UF
finished first a couple of seconds ahead of us with FIT in third.
We ended up third behind UF and FIT in the women's sprint.
The UF women's team was awesome here and established a new record for
this event during their preliminary run (1:12:00).
Although the results were debated and the winning time
negated, we finished first in the men's sprint beating the record time (1:05:97)
that we established in our preliminary run. Evidentially, the
results recorded for UF and UAH were mistakenly interchanged.
Not much doubt who finished first in the men's sprint final.
Team UAH (foreground) is clearly ahead of the UF Gators
However, a careful review of video tapes
shot by UF and UAH showed that both teams
finished in the wrong lane. Since UF did not register a
complaint for being forced out of their lane by us, each team should
have received a 30 second penalty. In this case, the results
should have been:
FAMU/FSU - 1:18:56
FIT - 1:25:58
UAH - (1:05:57 + 0:30:00) 1:35:57
UF - (1:06:22 + 0:30:00) 1:36:22
UTK - 1:36:81.
On a brighter note, we also won the co-ed sprint and set a new record for this
event (1:07:34). UF
finished second and FIT placed third.
In an effort to resolve the controversy over the men's
sprint, it has been suggested that FAMU/FSU be awarded an alternate
first place trophy and the spreadsheet corrected to reflect what
Our calculations show that the changes in race points do not change the final
overall standings in the competition. However, in the water, the results
should have been:
UF and UAH - 40 points each
FIT - 39 points
FAMU/FSU - 34 points
UPRM - 21 points.
The tie for first between UAH and UF and the close finishes by FIT and
FAMU/FSU reflect the reality of what traditionally occurs on the beach in the Southeast.
Team UAH pays one last tribute to the "STARS &
Our hats go off to FAMU/FSU for the excellent job that
they did in hosting the competition and to UF for a job well done.
We wish the Gators well in Wisconsin and expect them to bring back top
honors to our region!
We plan to send a team to observe the
nationals and look forward to seeing all of you there. Be sure to
tune into concretecanoe.org for
comprehensive coverage of the event.
advantage of the deformations that occurred in our boat to make it surge forward
between strokes and swim. The technology underlying our unique
design is considered by
many to be a milestone in structural mechanics. We recently
received a Congressional set aside to explore the
possibility of using our materials to retrofit parts in aerospace
and are working with NASA in that regard.
Samples of our
space-age concrete and graphite reinforced cementitious composite
sections are on display through May in the Royal Institute of British Architects in London. The exhibition entitled, "Hardcore! Concrete's rise from Utility to Luxury,"
was conceived and curated by Scarlet Projects who
specialize in architecture and design exhibitions and events. The aim of the exhibition is to celebrate concrete's amazing versatility
as a high-performance material.
Team UAH's concrete is currently being exhibited at
"Hardcore" in London.
may want to check out Paddler
Magazine to see what Jim Moodie had to say about last year's
watch for an upcoming article in New
Scientist by David Cohen regarding the possibility of building submarines out of concrete.
It should be very interesting.
can float, concrete can fly! ... John A. Gilbert
Our media contact is Phil
Gentry. Phil is a member of University Relations at UAH.
His telephone number is (256) 824-6420.
Our faculty advisors are Dr.
Houssam Toutanji [(256) 824-6370] and Dr.
John Gilbert [(256) 824-6029].
current racing season:
As part of our contribution to the 150th
anniversary of ASCE, we recently compiled a list of web sites for all
schools that have chapters and clubs in the SOUTHEAST,
the Record," have compiled a comprehensive summary spanning the
fourteen year history (1988-2001) of the National Concrete Canoe Competitions.
Speaking of the latter, the 2002 ASCE/MBT National Concrete Canoe Competition
will be held in Madison,Wisconsin and hosted by the UW
Student Chapter at the University of Wisconsin. The
competition is scheduled for June 20th (Thursday) through June 24th
(Monday). The National Steel Bridge Competition will be
held at same time in honor of the 150th anniversary of ASCE. UW
also plans to hold a job fair in the Kohl Center. They have an absolutely magnificent campus (click here
for a Virtual
Tour or a campus
map) and this event will be nothing short of spectacular.
Madison's 150th Anniversary National Student Conference Page
The Terrace plays host to a variety of activities. Photo from
UW virtual tour.
But ladies and gentlemen, if you plan to be there as a
competitor, you had better raise your gunwales because the races will be
held in front of the Terrace on Lake Mendota. We raced at this
site when we won Nationals in 1996. Although the weather was good,
the water was rough - very rough (see above photo).
1996 - UAH men's team races on Lake Mendota in the "Spirit of
Important links to UW are:
Regarding our 2001
UAH wins fifth national title in San Diego.
With only two newcomers, and several veteran teams back after missing the last year or two,
the 2001 contenders constituted the most experienced group in the fourteen year history of the
ASCE/MBT National Concrete Canoe Competition.
information regarding the 2001 competition can be found as follows:
News articles written about the boat and the paddlers
prior to the National Competition include:
As many of you know by now, we launched ConcreteCanoe.org
on August 28, 2001 in an effort to bring all active concrete canoe sites, as well as
pertinent activities, commentaries, rule changes, and other information provided
by the CNCCC, ASCE, MBT, our competitors, and us to the attention of the general
This is our primary contribution to the 150th
anniversary of ASCE and you'll see little UAH bias there.
gifs, like the ones shown below, are currently available for
download and inclusion on your site. The banners come with and
without reference to Team UAH.
the future, we plan to include tips on how to expand your web image and fund raise to ease the
financial burdens associated with competing at the regional and national
competitions. We hope to solicit help from other schools to maintain data
bases, software libraries, gif images for chapter promotion, etc.
Suggestions for getting involved are listed throughout the new site.
is one of the largest undertakings in our history, and we need all the help that we can
get. Thank you in advance for your support!
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Additional details regarding our preparation for the 2003 competition can be found in our
Back to Competition History
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