Cardboard Boat Race 2019

The Cardboard Boat Race will be back on  Saturday 14th September 2019!

Put your skills to the test in our engineering challenge!

Build a boat out of nothing but a few bits of cardboard and some sticky tape, then sail it around a course in Plymouth harbour!

Entry fee: £20 per team (max. 6 per team) + £20 REFUNDABLE deposit brought on the day for the tools provided (Build on the Day teams only).

We have a "Build on the Day" and a 'Pre-build' category. This means you have two options to choose from when registering:

  1. Build on the day - Feel like you can build your vessel in 3 hours? This is the one for you!

  2. Pre-Build - If you feel you need more than 3 hours to perfect your design, register for pre-build and lift the pressure off your build. Just turn up on the day with your vessel and your sea legs ready to race! We will provide free workshops if you feel you need a bit of a steer.

See below for more details on each.

Build on the day

We will supply you with all of the equipment, materials, and engineering expertise you need to construct a boat and paddle it safely accross the harbour.

You will have 3 hours to design and build your boat before the race begins. Engineers will be on hand to help you.

Choose from 3 start times: 10am, 11am, and 12pm.


If you don't feel like 3 hours is enough time for you to design and build the luxury yacht of your dreams, this is your chance to build your vessel in your own time.

Turn up on the day with your boat at 11am to sign in. Racing will start at 11.30am.

Optional pre-build workshops may be provided if there is sufficient interest. If you are interested, please email devcorncbrc@imechenearyou.org by 30th June and we will arrange a date in late July/August.

If you feel you can complete your boat by yourself, show us what you can do. Just remember that you can only use permitted materials.


Are you entering as a team from a school or youth group? Please email DevCornCBRC@IMechENearYou.org to request an access code for your tickets.

Primary age group timing: 0900 Registration & Scrutineering, 0930 First Primary Race

Secondary age group timing: 1000 Registration & Scrutineering, 1030 First Secondary Race

Rules and regulations are provided on the Eventbrite Page where you can register now. Click the button below to register.

Buoyancy aids and safety boat support will be provided by qualified instructors from the Plymouth and Devon Schools Sailing Association(PDSSA).

Food will be available for purchase from local eateries.

Please read the full competition rules and restrictions before entering a team. For more information visit the Eventbrite page.

Documents to be added soon:

Rules and regulations
Risk assessment briefing sheet
On the day details

Design Competition

Not keen on racing but want to get involved? Enter our design competition.

After a successful first competition in 2018, you can submit designs for the Committee Boat by 31st July to devcorncbrc@imechenearyou.org. A shortlist of designs will be selected by the committee before opening them to the public vote.

The designs can be as wacky as you like, remember you don't have to build or race in the boat - that's the committee's job! Designs must comply with the construction rules. Anyone of any age or experience level can submit a design. Please include name, age (if u18) and a contact email address.

Find out more

Our committee will have stands at Plymouth Armed Forces Day (in the Babcock Tent) on 29th June and at the Plymouth Big Splash STEM event on 16/17 July if you want to come and find out more before you register.

Want to volunteer?

This event would not be possible without our volunteers. The ticket price goes on consumables and items to make the event better every year. If you are a STEM ambassador and interested in volunteering, please email our coordinator at devcorncbrc@imechenearyou.org.

© 2011 Institution of Mechanical Engineers. IMechE is a registered charity in England and Wales number 206882