McGill Concrete Canoe

About

The catch? It must float completely submerged below the surface of the water.

McGill Concrete Canoe is made up of more than 60 undergraduate students who annually design and build a canoe out of concrete to compete against dozens of schools both nationally and internationally. The idea sounds crazy, but that is exactly what makes it a challenging and exciting project to work on. The catch? It must float completely submerged below the surface of the water. Solving the problem involves creating a unique concrete mix that is both light and strong, designing the hull of the canoe using structural analysis methods, constructing the canoe precisely to design specifications, and ultimately racing the canoe. Supported by one of the best schools in Canada, the team has aggressively climbed the standings in only a few years of existence, highlighted by Participant’s Choice Award at the 2015 Canadian National Concrete Canoe Competition, with no sign of slowing down. Our members are passionate and innovative – we never stop raising the bar.

  • 2015

    We won the Competitor's Choice Award and came 5th overall.

  • 2014

    We won the Best Team Spirit Award and placed 4th overall

  • 2013

    In our first year competing we placed 7th overall.

Updates

Our Teams

Meet our sub-teams

Hull Design

Hull design is a multi-stage process involving research, CAD design, modelling, and testing. We use mathematical modelling, special software and testing of the physical models to explore various shapes the canoe can take. With enough data and testing, the hull design team produces the final hull shape that satisfies the required technical specifications and gives us an edge over the competition

Concrete Mixing

Mixing team puts in a lot of hours in the lab to come up with the best possible mix. The process involves researching and then lab testing new concrete mixes with different components. Every newly designed mix builds on previous mixes for continuous improvement. We strive to make our mix both as light and durable as possible for our canoe to pass the float test and withstand the loading while it is raced.

Construction

Construction team builds and prepares various scale models for testing throughout the year and in the end ultimately builds the competition canoe. The final canoe casting process involves placing by hand the concrete mix onto the specially prepared mold for the final desired canoe shape, as well as incorporating carbon fiber mesh into the canoe for extra strength. The canoe is then left to cure, demolded few days later, and finally sanded down for a smooth finish.

Paddling

The paddling team regularly trains and exercises throughout the year to prepare for racing the concrete canoe at competition. A combination of practices in our old canoes, paddling tanks, and team workouts is used to give us the best chance to succeed in the competition races.

Aesthetics

Aesthetics team is behind the amazing designs that allow our team to stand out from the competition. The task involves coming up with creative ideas for the theme of the year, one of which is then voted on by the entire team. The team has to come up with creative designs that fit the theme to make our final display aesthetically pleasing. The canoe is only part of the whole display during the competition, that also includes the canoe stands as well as the tabling area.

Business

The business team is involved in supporting the team in areas such as finance, marketing, media, sponsorship, and procurement. The goal is to facilitate the team to get all the resources they need to place higher in competition and attend more competitions on the international scale. This is done through building relationships with businesses, securing funding, growing the team and increasing its visibility. On a broader scale we are also involved in outreach to the community to help spark interest in engineering.

OUR CAPTAINS

This team, consisting of primarily civil engineering students, offers each of its 60 members a unique opportunity to develop lifelong and practical skills. It allows students to apply what they have learned in the classroom in a practical setting through boat and mold construction, hull analysis and concrete design, mixing and experimentation. In addition, it fosters a sense of community, teamwork, problem solving and innovation.
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Thomas Teflissi

Team Captain
This is my third year as a member of this team, and my first year as captain. McGill’s Concrete Canoe team has become the extracurricular activity that I am most passionate about. I am driven by this team’s aggressive advancement in only three years of existence. I expect this team to continue its high-paced progress and to become a steady leader in years to come.
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Lina Ishaq

Concrete Mixing
I am in charge of the team who will design and reach the perfect balance between weight, strength and patchability. Last year, we used three good mixes for the final product and our canoe proved to be our best yet, no cracks in sight. This year we hope to incorporate new, creative materials and continue to perfect the weight and strength balance.
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Harry Cai

Hull Design
This is my second year on the team, and I will be in charge of the hull design and structural analysis team. The responsibilities of this sub-team essentially boils down to two parts; one is to research and design a canoe and the other is to perform structural analysis of the canoe and prepare the results for the technical paper. This year we’re hoping to incorporate new technolo- gies such as 3D-printing to aid the process as well as refining techniques used in the past.
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Chris Orcutt

Construction
The construction team I’m leading is responsible for designing and building anything that the team might need, as well as casting and sanding down the canoe to a nice finish. For this project, we will need lots of geomembrane, polyurethane foam, carbon fiber mesh, as well as various tools and safety equipment.
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Alice Zhao

Aesthetics
My sub-team is in charge of designing, staining, and sanding the canoe to a flawless finish. The aesthetics of last year’s canoe was one of our proudest accomplishments, and this year we’re striving to do even better. In order to improve from last year, we must not only have a strong team, we must also have quality supplies. We are constantly on the lookout for improved materials that will make this year’s canoe number one!
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Julie Levy

Paddling
Last year I was a member of the mixing team and paddling team. As a paddler, I participated in weekly team workouts and learned proper paddling technique. This year, I hope to share my love for exercise in order to train a powerful team and lead our canoe to the finish lines as fast and safe as possible.
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Yury Dobronravov

Media
Second-year team member focused on popularizing Concrete Canoe. My role on the team is fairly new, so it is still very much in the process of evolving, but mainly includes managing social media or website, aiding other sub-teams with media design, and brand development. This year is going to be crucial for the marketing sub-team, as we are dedicated to promoting the team ahead of this year’s Concrete Canoe competition held in Montreal.
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Sandro Papais

Business
I am a second year member with previous marketing experience in small corporations. Marketing is a new subteam that began last year in order to offload and centralize work that was previously done in other areas of the team. I work to shape the public identity of the team through external media, branding, public relations, and outreach.
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Sara Khandaker

Sponsorship
I am in charge of establishing new corporate relationships and building off existing ones for future teams. Having worked with sponsors in the past, I can assure you that your donations truly go a long way and are appreciated on this team.
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Jonathan Chan

Strategist
I am responsible for the long term strategy of the entire team, with a particular focus on human capital and operational efficiency. I identify areas of improvement and implement the execution strategy. This is my third year on the team and can safely say that your donations really help us learn and build the final product.
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Louis Otter

VP Finance
Back in high school, I competed once a year in a cardboard canoe competition. Joining concrete canoe was an easy decision because of how fun and engaging it is to work in a team. As VP finance, my job includes organizing a team budget, and applying for campus funding to afford our many expenses as a design team.

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