OLD TOWN – The University of Maine hosted the American Society of Civil Engineer’s regional conference over the weekend.
On Sunday, one of the conference highlights that started right here in Maine took place.
Ten colleges from across the northeast raced concrete canoes down the Penobscot River in the name of science.
The University of Maine held its first ever concrete canoe race in 1974. The original canoes weighed more than 500 pounds.
According to one of the team captains for UMaine, their canoe weighed 340 pounds.
The captain of Wentworth’s canoe team, Chris Drussell, said the weight creates challenges when it comes to paddling.
“We’re around 300 pounds unloaded,” Drussell said. “With two people in it, it’s very, very heavy. It doesn’t have a defined shape like most canoes do, so turning is very, very challenging.”
Students at UMaine started designing their canoe last fall.
The biggest challenge was to make it float.
“Most important is when we design our concrete mix is that it’s less dense than water,” said Andrew Guimond, one of the captains for UMaine. “Water has a density 62.4 pounds per cubic feet and our concrete has on average 55 pounds per cubic feet.”
With the help of some duct tape and foam, UMaine’s team managed to stay afloat, coming in eighth.