Concrete Canoe Team Takes National Honors

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

The Fairmont State American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Student Club's "Consistent-C-33" Concrete Canoe finished 12th in the nation at the 18th Annual National Concrete Canoe Competition hosted by Clemson University on June 24-27.

The team also finished in the top five in the nation in two event categories. Led by Patrick Guthrie, Chair, and Greg Wilson, Co-Chair, a fifth place finish was earned in the men's sprint and a fourth place finish in the oral presentation. Participating in the men's sprint were Greg Wilson and Jason Dauch. The presentation team consisted of Patrick Guthrie, Greg Wilson, Shane Fisher and William Postlethwait. Mike Brown, Jeff Snyder, Kara Cunningham and Tiffany Harton made additional contributions.

The canoes are judged in four main categories: aesthetics and structural integrity, a written paper, a business presentation and five races. The competition provides students with the opportunity to experiment with different materials and realize the versatility of concrete in meeting challenging design applications. Basic skills are taught in the classroom, but this type of hands-on application is learned by doing.

The competition began at the regional level where FS took home the gold in the annual Virginia's Conference. Qualifying for the first time last year, Fairmont State was the only West Virginia institution invited to participate in the national event. Ranking 12th overall in the nation, Consistent-C-33 was up against the top 21 concrete canoes in the nation. Participating in this year's event were Boise State University, California State Polytechnic University "“ Pomona, The Catholic University of America, The City College of New York, Clemson University, Drexel University, Michigan Tech University, New Mexico State University, North Carolina State University, Oklahoma State University, Texas A&M University, Tulane University, University of California "“ Berkeley, University of Evansville, University of Florida, University of Wisconsin "“ Madison, University of Wisconsin "“ Platteville, U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Wentworth Institute of Technology and Western Kentucky University.

Fairmont's 12th place finish is the best showing at the national event for the Virginia's region in 10 years. More than 270 canoes were entered into competition at the regional level this year.

The final concrete matrix had a unit weight of 57.8 pcf. Fiberglass fibers were used to reduce shrinkage, cracking and a number of ad mixtures were added to improve the overall characteristics. The reinforcing material chosen was a carbon fiber intertwined between two layers of concrete. An innovative foam male form was built on top of a beam so that the entire canoe was accessible for the concrete pour. Ribs were formed on the inner hull, as well as a gunwale flange in order to improve the overall structural integrity. The boat was cured in a custom-built humidity chamber under optimal conditions. The final product weighed in at 193 pounds, with an overall length of 20.67 feet, width of 30.5 inches, and depth of 12.6 inches. The color scheme was a stained outer hull of maroon and an inner hull of pigment enhanced white. Consistent-C-33 was designed for faster speeds and better maneuverability with a hard chine concept.

"The club would like to thank all of its sponsors and Fairmont State University Provost, Dr. Anne Patterson, for attending the event," said Tia Richardson, P.E., the club's advisor.

For more information on ASCE and engineering technology programs at FS, e-mail Tia Richardson at