Getting their feet wet

Published 11:40 am Saturday, July 9, 2011

Jenna Edwards pilots the USS 2 Q-tips toward the finish line. -- Dale Liesch | Tidewater News

FRANKLIN—Neither E.B. Knight nor Mickey Johnson had ever built a boat, but they had the winning design in the inaugural Franklin High School FIRST Robotics Cardboard Robo-regatta at Barrett’s Landing on July 2.

The red, white and blue vessel constructed completely of cardboard and named the USS 2 Q-tips won for the best overall time and was voted by the crowd to be the most patriotic.

“We made a scale model about 2 feet long,” Knight said. “We took it from there and tripled the size.”

The boat, which was named for its builders’ resemblance to Q-tips, was piloted by the Knights’ grandchildren, Jenna Edwards and Zachary Story.

The FHS robotics team made two of the other three boats in competition — the USS Bronco and Gone Fishing. Donations to the event support the robotics team.

The Bronco was awarded second place. Gone Fishing took third and was voted the most creative.

Robotics team member Grant Scarboro said the team built two cardboard vessels in one week.

“Anybody can build the boat,” Scarboro said. “We built two in a week, and they floated.”

Team members and coach Liz Burgess were happy with the turnout of 50 spectators.

“Turnout was better than we expected, and it was an enthusiastic turnout,” Burgess said.

For team member Darryl West, building the boats was the easy part.

“The rowing was tiring,” West said.

As for the craftsmanship of the vessel he was piloting, West had complete confidence in it.

“I knew it wasn’t going to sink,” he said.

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