Miss USA sails the Charles

This fall, Webb freshmen are got their first taste of Webb's project oriented engineering curriculum by competing in teams to design, build, and race water walking shoes.  Over the years, competitions have included rowboats, canoes, sailboats, and even paddle-wheel powered contraptions.  

This past summer, a group of ambitious Webbies from the Class of 2009 joined forces with a contingent from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Boston community to put their boat-building skills to work.  The group designed, built, and partied on a 12' by 24' Mississippi steamer float named the Miss USA.  The steamer provided the absolute best seats in the house for the Boston Fourth of July festivities including the annual concert by the Boston Pops and, of course, the fireworks.

After a month of planning, the Webb-led group spent five frantic days constructing the steamer replica in a Cambridge backyard.  The Miss USA was so large that it had to be built in three separate modules and assembled on the water.  Says Wombi Rose '09 of the effort, "A year ago the boat was only a dream.  In fact, it had become a standing joke at the office because no one, aside from the builders, believed that the boat would ever truly be built.  Yet, despite numerous challenges, the team pulled through and we enjoyed a magnificent day on the water in the most patriotic craft on the Charles."

After spending the day grilling, befriending the State Marine Police and neighboring vessels, and watching the fireworks, the steamer made its final voyage back to shore where it was promptly disassembled and stored as lumber.  Says John Wise '09, "It is pretty disconcerting to see something you've poured so much energy into disappear in a matter of hours, but the project was an awesome challenge and a lot of fun. The Miss USA is something we will never forget."

If you have a great idea for the group's next project, please e-mail Wombi Rose (wombi.rose@gmail.com).