Overall length of boat:
18 ft 1 in.
Net weight of canoe:
Expanded Steel Mesh
2nd at Nationals
U. of South Florida
Fort Collins, CO
P: John Murphy
VP: Tom Baltrusaitis
S: Marty Williams
T: Raquel Brown
Dr. Michelle Crull
Dr. John Gilbert
Mr. Ken Peters
Mr. David Pope
Mr. Jim Herring
Mr. Pete Shreeves
Mr. Jeff Lindner
Improved design and construction techniques allowed us to produce the first and only clear-coated concrete canoe.
The boat was 18'1" long and weighed 128 lbs. A relatively lightweight, but very high strength mix (104
lb/ft3; 10,860 psi), was placed over a raised steel mesh.
Our second place finish at nationals was good, but the best and
were yet to come.
Tired of being beaten at
the national level, our president, John Murphy, shown in the photograph
below on the right, completely revised our strategy. He used his
industrial engineering skills to address problems involving human
dynamics. The "Team UAH" concept was born,
and we met our
competition on the "Fastrack."
Improved design and
construction techniques allowed us to produce the first and only
clear-coated concrete canoe ever to race at nationals.
judges marveled at our creation, and we worked hard to sell our product.
Our efforts resulted in
a second place finish at nationals but we developed a strong
contingent and uncovered the secrets to success.
Alumni Notes: We won the
overall Southeast Regional title, and by placing first in the concrete
canoe competition, earned our invitation to nationals.
John's leadership and Dr.
Crull's help as co-faculty advisor, we had done very well. But when Berkeley edged us out by about a foot
and a half in the co-ed sprint, the Chapter buckled mentally. We
were so focused on winning that, instead of being happy that we had
finished second in the nation, all that we could think about was that we
were losers. Dr. Gilbert recalls that "the team was so devastated,
we almost decided not to compete again." It just seemed
that we couldn't beat Berkeley, no matter how hard we tried.
It was at that moment that Christelle Hendren (Lindner) proclaimed that she
would be willing to take the helm as the Chapter president, and do her
best to see to
it that we would win next year. She suggested that Dr. Gilbert
advise the Chapter once again in an effort to cut red tape with the UAH
administration. Jeff Lindner (who joined the team only two months
earlier, and later married Christelle) also
stepped to the mark, agreeing to serve as the Chapter's first paddler/coach.
Dr. Crull and John Murphy agreed to lend their full
support to the effort. Wei Su subsequently joined the team and introduced one
of the most extensive testing programs in the Chapter's history. The mechanism needed to unseat the Berkeley
dynasty had finally fallen into place.
Following our return from Colorado, the faculty's proposal for
departmentalization was approved. The Chapter would now operate
under the auspices of the department of civil and environmental
Dr. Gilbert relinquished the helm as director of civil engineering
and decided to remain with mechanical engineering when UAH hired his
wife, Dr. Kathleen Leonard, into the new department. A national search began for the civil chair. But
Dr. Gilbert fulfilled the commitment that he had
made to Christelle, and his interest in the UAH ASCE Student Chapter never died.
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