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NESS Recycle Regatta

NESS Recycle Regatta

What is it?

The mission of the NESS Recycle Regatta is to engage the community in fun, experiential learning, and stewardship by engineering a boat out of recycled materials. We have partnered with our friends at Educational Passages to provide virtual learning and assistance while you engineer a model boat and work to be crowned champion of the NESS Recycle Regatta! Participating mariners will need to master buoyancy, construction, and physics to race their boat to victory! Are you ready to take on the challenge?

When is it?

Engineering of NESS Recycle Regatta boats can happen at any time! We encourage you to repurpose items at home to create your boat. Keep us updated with photos and videos to let us know how you’re doing. You can even time your boat on a set course to continue to improve it! Send photos and progress reports either to the NESS Recycle Regatta Facebook Page or by emailing adventure@nessf.org! To aid you in your engineering challenge, NESS and Educational Passages will be posting helpful videos of tips and tricks on topics like buoyancy, recycling, how sailboats sail, and more! Our educators are here to help you, feel free to reach out and connect!

No sign-up is required, just start building and be sure to submit an official entry form when you send us photos or video of your final product! 

[Please note: by sending us photos or videos of your boat, you are granting NESS permission to use those photos and videos for official external and internal NESS use.]

Calendar of Events:

  • 1 May – Boat Engineering Begins! 
  • 12 May – 30 June – Every Tuesday our educators will be releasing a new educational resource to help with the engineering of your vessel
  • 1 July – Deadline for Images, Videos, Speed Tests of Your Vessel
  • 10 July – Winners Announced

Fleets

The NESS Recycle Regatta will have three fleets. All races will occur within the boats’ respective fleets.

The SAILFISH FLEET is designed for model sailboats. They are small scale designs that can operate on their own, without a human captain, using wind. Your natural power source will come from the wind or from your own lungs using a straw!

This fleet will compete virtually by submitting progress reports and photos to NESS staff and completing your own tests of your boat in a safe way in a local body of water (this can even be a puddle, bathtub, or a pool!). Speed will be calculated by measuring distance over time. Never calculated speed before? No problem! NESS Educators will be providing resources to help you through this process.

If your boat isn’t the fastest ship in the sea, that’s okay! Prizes will be awarded for creativity, your engineering method, and other seaworthy categories. Check out the full list below!

The SQUID FLEET is designed for model power boats. They are small scale designs that can operate on their own, without a human captain, using propulsion. We challenge you to move your boat using propulsion from rubber bands!

This fleet will compete virtually by submitting progress reports and photos to NESS staff and completing your own tests of your boat in a safe way in a local body of water (this can even be a puddle, bathtub, or a pool!). Speed will be calculated by measuring distance over time. Never calculated speed before? No problem! NESS Educators will be providing resources to help you through this process. 

If your boat isn’t the fastest ship in the sea, that’s okay! Prizes will be awarded for creativity, your engineering method, and other seaworthy categories. Check out the full list below!

The SHRIMP FLEET is a non-competitive fleet that does not race other boats. Anything that floats goes! Use your best engineering and materials available. Challenge yourself to make a sailboat that only uses natural wind for power, is too big to fit in a bathtub, or is 10 different colors! Let us know how you are doing by sending us photos or videos! Prizes will be awarded for creativity, your engineering method, and other seaworthy categories. Check out the full list below!

Please see boat and safety requirements sections for further guidelines.

Race Competition Guidelines for SAILFISH and SQUID fleets:

  1. Make a blueprint. Engineers always plan before starting to build!
  2. Gather materials (safely!) that are recycled or discarded.
  3. Build a prototype, you might end up changing your design and that’s perfectly okay!
  4. Test your design! See how the boat moves, floats, and sails! Notice how far your boat is able to travel, and what “body of water” your boat is in. This will be important for measuring your speed!
  5. Measure and record a specific distance that you know your boat is able to travel. Mark this distance (ex. tape on the side of the tub as a start/finish line). Measure this distance with a ruler, meter stick, tape measure, or other device.
  6. Time how long it takes your boat to sail that entire distance!
  7. Speed = distance/time. So, if your boat traveled 10 feet in 2 seconds, your final speed would be 5 feet/second. This answer came from dividing 10/2 and combining the units used.
  8. Improve your boat design based on observations from your first trial.
  9. Start the testing process again!
  10. Take photos and videos and send the NESS team your boat’s fastest speed by emailing adventure@nessf.org or posting on the Recycle Regatta Facebook Page!

Boat Requirements for ALL FLEETS

Your entire boat must be built from recycled or repurposed materials. We encourage you to not only be an honorable mariner, but also a steward for the environment. Collect items that would otherwise be recycled or discarded after use. The NESS Recycle Regatta team discourages participants to buy new materials for this project. 

Materials you may use in boat construction:

All parts of your boat must float! 

  • Plastic
  • Cans – aluminum, tin, any that will float
  • Duct tape
  • Cardboard
  • Glue
  • Fishing line
  • Other recyclable or repurposed items with positive buoyancy (they float)! Check these guidelines for more information on what can and cannot be recycled.
  • Decorations and crew costumes are allowed and encouraged!

Materials you may not use in boat construction:

  • Wood
  • Rubber 
  • Inflatables – raft, pool toys, etc.
  • Fiberglass 
  • Caulking compounds
  • Electrical systems
  • Engines – gasoline powered, battery powered, etc.
  • Paint or varnish (can be used for decoration, but not for waterproofing)
  • Raw materials made out of recycled content (Trex decking, etc).

Additional boat requirements:

  1. Design is left to engineers! Let your imagination take over.
  2. The NESS Recycle Regatta team discourages participants from buying new materials for this project

Safety Requirements

Please read the following carefully. Failure to comply with safety requirements will result in disqualification.

  1. All participating mariners must wear a personal flotation device (PFD) in the water, near the water, or on a dock. If you are testing a boat in a controlled location (such as a bathtub), a PFD is not required.
  2. Animals cannot occupy a boat. 
  3. Sunken or discarded boats must be recycled if possible. Some parts of your boat may not be recyclable. Please check these guidelines on what can and cannot be recycled and check with your local recycling center for their requirements.
  4. You must have a means of recovering your vessel, after launch, from the surface of the water, or, if your vessel sinks, from Davy Jones’ Locker.
  5. Most importantly, HAVE FUN! Participants are expected to maintain the decorum and dignity expected of a yachtsperson. At the discretion of the NESS Recycle Regatta Team, your entry will be disqualified if it is deemed that your team’s behavior or entry was inappropriate in any way.

Prizes

Prizes will be awarded for all fleets! Prizes will go to the following boats:

  • NESS Recycle Regatta Champion – Best Overall
  • Ocean Capable – Most Seaworthy
  • Floating Art – Best Looking
  • Sea Slug – Slowest Boat
  • Lipstick on a Blobfish – Not the Best Looking 
  • Approaching Light Speed – Fastest Boat Squid Fleet
  • Future America’s Cup Winner – Fastest Boat Sailfish Fleet (Using Wind)
  • I Bring The Wind and Sail Fastest – Fastest Boat Sailfish Fleet (Using Lungs and a Straw)
  • Dolphins Study My Form – Most Hydrodynamic
  • Just Chugging Along- Least Hydrodynamic
  • Ready for the Red Carpet – Most Luxurious
  • Engineering Method Expert – Best Engineered
  • If Henry Ford Built Boats – Most Ready for Mass Production
  • Mine Has a Helicopter Pad – Largest Boat
  • Most Marvelous Mini – Smallest Boat
  • Best Submarine – Best boat that did NOT float
  • Belongs In An Art Museum – Most Creative
  • The Black Pearl – Boat Most Likely to be Used by a Pirate