Perfect day for a boat race!

50 degrees and overcast, that is!

Two students standing outside the makerspace in front of a small wooden boat made to resemble a Greek trireme
student athletes ditching practice to continue rigging their replica Trireme

For the last week and change, students have been taking advantage of their crafty construction skills and the resources at the makerspace to construct (minimally) creek-worthy watercraft. This flurry of activity is the latest iteration of a time-honored tradition at Swarthmore, a moderately anarchic but sublimely sophisticated boat race known as the Crum Regatta.

several students crouching over a kayak-like boat wrapped in plastic and kraft paper
A group of engineering students checking their craft confirms with computer hydrodynamic models

This year’s entries have a decidedly technological bent, with several craft relying on gears, bike parts, and other methods of mechanical propulsion. Others have leaned resourcefully into the free/reusable materials on campus to make rafts of discarded recyclables. Rumor has it that one group may be attempting to turn a human into a raft. But at the end of the day, we all know it’s the mighty Crum who decides who emerges triumphant, and who runs mercilessly aground.

a small raft with colorful mesh bags filled with empty plastic recycled containers
lunch, and buoyancy for this team’s craft both provided by Wawa

If you’d like to witness the regatta regalia in person, find yourself at Crumhenge just after 3PM today. If you’d like to see the behind-the-scenes workshop and technology that enables these quick and resourceful constructions, come check out the Makerspace in Whittier Hall. And if you’d like to participate next year, keep on the lookout for emails from the Office of Student Engagement — the Makerspace offers targeted training and safety workshops around the regatta and it’s a good way to take the plunge into making, with a team to back you up!

Happy sailing!

a deconstructed bicycle with wood structures attached, in progress toward being made into a pedal-powered boat
The skeleton of a pedal-powered vessel. Leg muscles not included.