Eleven boats took to the water for the second annual Head of the Zesiger on Friday, Oct. 10. No ordinary regatta, this competition tests its participants’ ingenuity, craftsmanship, and athletic ability. Students construct a boat out of cardboard and paper tape, and three team members use kickboards to paddle across the Zesiger pool and back.
This year, teams competed in four categories: fastest, most spirited, best technically constructed, and best sinker. Judges for technical construction were Kim B. Blair from the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Donald R. Sadoway from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, and Matthew R. Walter from the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab.
Teams raced in four heats, and the fastest three overall boats advanced to the finals.
In Heat 1, Trouble, Bail Out Team, and Team Velociraptors crossed the finish line in 1:50, 1:34, and 3:35, respectively — improving on the number of boats that successfully completed the course last year.
In Heat 2, TiPPsy and Just Ducky, the duck-shaped boat which had been on display in front of Simmons Hall, also had successful runs, at 2:16 and 2:27.
Heat 3 provided entertainment for the spectators. Ironically, The Winning Boat sank on the starting line. A crew member of the Flying Dutchman lost his paddle, but, brandishing a sword, the team continued down the pool. Shortly before the length of the pool, the boat filled with water and sank with the Jolly Roger waving. The Phi Sig Flier picked up the abandoned paddle and used it to cross the finish line in 3:00. Not to be denied, a crew member from the Flying Dutchman swam across the finish line with pirate flag and parrot in hand.
Heat 4 had two more sinkers. Shortly after embarking, the Pirate 4 Conner raft submerged despite a spectacular effort by the crew to keep it afloat. Disqualified for use of plastic tape and rope, the boat was out of the running for best sinker. The SS Tetazoo, a uniquely-shaped boat from the third floor of the east parallel of East Campus, made it halfway across the pool before sinking. With the other boats incapacitated, The Three Baskets’ crew paddled in unison to the cheering of the crowd and barely edged out TiPPsy for the last spot in the final heat with a time of 2:15.
Three Baskets, Bail Out Team, and Trouble took their places at the starting line for the final heat. Bail Out Team got off to an early start and sped down the pool, but had a difficult time maneuvering around the buoy. Trouble took the lead, and Three Baskets closed the gap. Coming out of the turn, the three boats were neck and neck. Bail Out Team pulled in front and cruised to the finish with the fastest time of the day — 1:21.78.
In addition to being the fastest boat, Bail Out Team secured the highest average score for best technically constructed. With its showy display and perseverance, the Flying Dutchman, with crew Alan D. Foreman ’09, Stephen P. Fournier ’09, and Gavin M. Cotter ’09, won the most spirited award. Finally, the prize for best sinker went to the aptly named Winning Boat.