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1991 - "Enterprise"


Overall length of boat:
     17 ft 10 in.

Net weight of canoe: 
     97 lb

120 lb/ft3

     Expanded Steel Mesh

     7th at Nationals

Regional Conference:
     Mississippi State
     Starkville, MS

National Competition:
    U. of Central Florida
    Orlando, FL

  P: Gayle Lanter
  VP: Anthony Cooper
  S: Clay Horan 
  T: Lisa Cucksee 

Faculty Advisors:
     Dr. Michelle Crull
     Dr. John Gilbert

Contact Members:
     Mr. Ken Peters

     Mr. David Pope

     Mr. Pete Shreeves
     Mr. Jim Herring

Synopsis:  Team UAH incorporated rocker and a rounded bottom to construct a canoe having a shape very similar to that of our current design.  However, the canoe was much too unstable for the relatively inexperienced crew.  They placed seventh at nationals with their 17'10" long, 97 lb boat that relied on the same concrete and reinforcement used the year before.

Details:  Some of the secrets underlying our modern hydrodynamic designs were uncovered during this stint.  We incorporated rocker and a rounded bottom to construct a canoe having a shape very similar to that of our current designs.

The hydrodynamic shape was tested by towing the canoe behind a power boat.  The tow rope was connected to a force transducer designed to measure the drag.

Alumni Notes:  In 1991, the Southeast Regional rules were much more restrictive than those established for the National competition.  Specifically, no man-made aggregates were allowed, forcing the use of a heavier mix.  Also no reinforcement was allowed in the thwarts, making the use of a thwart redundant.  In addition, the nature of the Regional races with their many turns and the tag team race dictated the design of a highly maneuverable and a durable canoe.  Faced with the dilemma of how to win the Regional and yet be nationally competitive, the UAH ASCE Student Chapter set the goal of improving their past performances at Nationals.

At the Southeast Regional, Dr. Gilbert and teammate Donya Harbin (Jeffries) finished second in the faculty race.  It was a very close finish and marked the first time that a woman had ever paddled in that event.  We won the overall Regional title for the third time in four years, and earned the right to represent the Southeast at the national concrete canoe competition for winning that event.

The best paddlers were selected for the nationals immediately following the Regional competition.  An intensive program was developed to improve athletic abilities which included weight lifting, aerobics, and extensive paddling sessions.  Emphasis was placed on developing a winning race strategy based on athletic and mental preparedness.

Although UC Berkeley won again at the nationals, we finished first in the visual presentation.  We still had a long way to go in our quest for the national title.  But we were getting more and more help.

Mr. Jim Herring, a local canoe enthusiast, began to coach the team.  Following our seventh place finish at nationals, it was Jim who designed and helped build the first practice boat used to train our crew

Pete Shreeves offered an upper level course entitled, "Introduction to Naval Architecture," to support the effort.  Ken Peters became the first contact member to get his hands dirty working with the team to build our boat.  These contributions made a big difference, and our team became much more competitive.

The Chapter was now flourishing and the civil engineering program had grown beyond the boundaries of the mechanical engineering department.  Under the leadership of Dr. Gilbert, our faculty forwarded a proposal for departmentalization to the Alabama Commission on Higher Education.  We lost Dr. Uber that year to the University of Cincinnati.

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