Overall length of boat:
19 ft 6 in.
Net weight of canoe:
Graphite Pre-Impregnated Tape
1st at Nationals
U. of Alabama
U. of New Orleans
New Orleans, LA
P: Charles McDowell
VP: Clint Howard
S: Sharon Strickland
T: Jonathan Crosby
Dr. John Gilbert
Dr. Michelle Crull
Mr. R. Hollingsworth
Mr. Tim Barnett
Mr. Jeff Lindner
With its unibody graphite frame, sleek lines, and fast hull speed,
"Defender" proved unstoppable. The 19'6" boat weighed 80 lbs, and was produced using a concrete having a specific weight of 65
lb/ft3 and a compressive strength of 2,490 psi. By winning every event, UAH became the first and only school to sweep the national concrete competition.
Bound and determined to
keep our national title, we forwarded "Defender."
We improved our
construction techniques, built a better female mold, and used graphite
strips to construct a unibody frame. Materials were procured
through a NASA space act.
Subtitled "Men in
Tights," our presentation dazzled the judges. The poster
board was in the shape of a castle, and the boat featured a huge sword
down the middle.
Alumni Notes: By now, the
Southeast regional contingent was growing restless at being locked out
of nationals by UAH; and, both the University of Florida and our Chapter were
pressing ASCE to modify the national rules. Our cries were later
heard, resulting in the provision for a second place competitor to
attend nationals if one of the schools placing in the top five won their
region again. This rule was not yet in place, however, and the regional competition was laden
with protests against us. Fortunately, the judges ruled in our
favor on all counts. The faculty team was so driven to win
following the onslaught of protests that they absolutely
demolished their competition in the faculty sprint. We also won
all of the races and swept the Regional competition.
It was a very different atmosphere at nationals where everything went
smoothly, especially on the beach under the direction of our first pit
crew boss, Jonathan Crosby. But, judging by the controversy that occurred the
following year, it was a perfect example of "the calm before the storm."
The only glitch occurred when we had the dress rehearsal for the
visual presentation. When the men came out of the dressing room,
they looked spectacular in their tights, but the women just couldn't stop
laughing. The guys were so embarrassed that they nearly backed out
right there and then.
It was the first time that a faculty race was held at the national level;
and, Dr. Gilbert and teammate Dan Livingston won. During the race,
Dr. Gilbert recalls Dan turning to him, politely pointing out
that they were going toward the wrong buoy. They corrected the problem
but had to contend with an announcement made over the public address
system that the UAH faculty team's time was beaten by their co-ed
team. Dr. Gilbert responded, "Considering that our time is the third best
of the day, it's not too bad."
Although we won all of the races, there were so many good teams that year that, sitting at the banquet, we never
guessed that we won the competition, let alone swept all of the events. But as the
rain poured down in New Orleans, the awards just kept coming. Once
again, victory was ours. True to the tradition established the
year before, our president, Charles McDowell, nudged president-elect
Leslie Roberts (Livingston) forwarded to claim our trophy. We
filled it with champagne and partied all through the night.
Upon returning to UAH, the Chapter was cited by our Student
Government Association as the "Most Outstanding Group on
Campus." Faculty advisors, Drs. Gilbert and Crull were given
Outstanding Leadership Awards by the president of the university, and
Alabama's governor passed a resolution citing us for Outstanding
Performance. According to the ASCE media coverage report,
"totals for print, television and radio coverage reached 129
publications/stations with an estimated 46.8 million
Dr. Schonberg was appointed as CEE Chair, and Drs. Crull and Leonard
were elected to President and Vice-President of the ASCE Huntsville
Branch. Civil Engineering at UAH was on the move.
The score for winning nationals now stood: Berkeley four,
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