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1989 - "Hollow Rock Racer"


Overall length of boat:
     16 ft

Net weight of canoe: 
     152 lb

136 lb/ft3

     Expanded Steel Mesh

     6th at Nationals

Regional Conference:
     Univ. of Miami
     Miami, FL

National Competition:
     Texas Tech
     Lubbock, TX

     P: Bob Easter
     VP: Ed Palmer
     S: Kathy Carpenter

     T: Donya Harbin

Faculty Advisors:
     Dr. Bill Schonberg
     Dr. John Gilbert
     Dr. Jim Uber

Contact Member:
     Mr. David Pope

Synopsis:  In our first appearance as a chapter, we used computer aided design and produced a polystyrene mold by stacking full-sized cross sections.  Our 16' long boat weighed 152 lbs.; concrete (136 lb/ft3; 7,100 psi) was placed over a steel mesh.  We dominated the regional and placed sixth at nationals.

Details:  The production of the "Hollow Rock Racer" marked our debut as a student chapter.  Using CAD, we produced the competitionís first solid polystyrene mold.  Several of the 192, 1" thick sections were left in the bow and stern for flotation.

Since our concrete mix technology had improved, we concentrated on quality control.  By using a 0.1" thick expanded steel mesh, we kept the wall thickness of our canoe below 0.25".

We won the overall regional championship that year by the largest margin in history.  Technologically strong, but weak in paddling, we finished sixth at nationals.

Alumni Notes:  Dr. Uber was instrumental in improving our regional delivery.  During the banquet, team members claimed their awards and then proudly placed ten of the larger ones on the table before Uber, Gilbert, Schonberg, and Leonard as if making offerings to royalty.  Dr. Gilbert recalls that, by the end of the banquet,  he could barely see Dr. Uber sitting directly across from him at the table.  The first place trophy stood over five feet tall; almost as tall as "Little Doc."

The regional competition was hosted by Miami and the races were held in the ocean.  With the increased buoyancy, Drs. Gilbert and Uber paddled our canoe to a searing victory in the faculty race.  But Dr. Gilbert managed to put his knees through the boat when he slipped off a pad during the turn.  It took construction foreman, Mike McGuire, and his crew nearly a month to repair the damage.  But, they had the boat back in great shape by nationals.

Ed Palmer emerged as the Chapter's first expediter, securing anything and everything the team needed.  He seemed to know everyone, and had a relative in every town we visited.  Dr. Gilbert recalls Dr. Uber questioning him on whether Ed's stories were really true.  But, after Miami, there was no doubt.

Ed had suggested that we keep the canoe at his uncle's house and offered to put the team up there.  Not knowing that Ed was serious, Dr. Uber booked us into a hotel nearby.  When Ed and Dr. Gilbert dropped the canoe off, they passed through a towering gate, finally arriving at a Spanish style villa where Ed had planned to house the team.  Dr. Gilbert was astonished when Ed said, "Now that you've seen the guest house, let's take a look at the real thing."  When Dr. Gilbert brought Dr. Uber over to see what he had missed, "Little Doc" never questioned Ed again.

Although it was apparent at nationals that we had made progress technologically, Berkeley dominated us in the water and chalked up another well deserved win.  The problem was that other schools were learning to play the game too, and we fell to sixth place.  Undaunted, we set out sights on winning next year, even if meant winning just one of the many events.

Our outstanding performance prompted the administration to authorize hiring another faculty; and, Dr. Michelle Crull joined our ranks.

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