Penguin Regatta

The Penguin Regatta is a cardboard canoe race that allows students the opportunity to design, build, and race their best ideas in an annual competition. The event is held in May of each year in the Olympic pool in the Beeghly Physical and Recreation Center on the campus of Youngstown State University. The Penguin Regatta gives high school students the opportunity to apply STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) concepts in a real-world situation.

Teams of students from area schools are assisted by a teacher-coach to build a life-size cardboard canoe. They can compete in six categories: Best in Showboat (Design); Technical Journal; Oral Presentation; Showboat Race; Follow-the-Dotted-Line Race; Greatest Weight Afloat Race.

The overall program is aligned to the Ohio Common Core Standards in English/Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, and Technology.


  • Increase awareness of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) careers
  • Increase the number of under-represented groups (women and minorities) participating in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) activities and education
  • Reinforce academic and technology content standards
  • Introduce the engineering design process
  • Foster teamwork
  • Encourage critical thinking and problem solving skills
  • Teach project management


Canoe Design

In order for a vessel to be considered a canoe, it must have a bow, stern and hull.

A canoe diagram


  1. Bow - forward part of the boat when the boat is underway
  2. Stern - the other end of the boat
  3. Seat
  4. Thwart - horizontal crossbeam near the top of the hull used to increase hull strength
  5. Gunwale (pronounced gunnel) - reinforcing strip running along the top edge of the hull to which the thwart(s) are attached
  6. Deck (under which a flotation compartment may be located which prevent the canoe from sinking if capsized or swamped)


The program is administered through the Office of Associate Degree and Tech Prep Programs at Youngstown State University and funded strictly through modest team registration fees, donations, and grants.


For more information, contact the Office of Associate Degree and Tech Prep Programs, Youngstown State University, One University Plaza, Jones 3015, Youngstown, OH 44555, (330) 941-2333 or e-mail Arlene Floyd.