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At Stony Brook regatta, sailing and sinking

College students facing finals often struggle to keep their heads above water. But Friday at Stony Brook University, that idiom turned much more literal -- and fun.

The school held its 23rd annual Roth Regatta, with students racing custom-designed boats, made entirely of cardboard and duct tape, across the 40-year-old man-made pond located in the heart of Roth Quad. Some boats, including one shaped like a Chinese dragon, made it through the waters multiple times unscathed. Some, like the Bat Boat, didn’t make it 10 feet off the starting line.

“I come to the regatta every year,” said junior Anthony Sahagun. “I’ve always been an observer, but this is my first year doing it.”

Sahagun’s boat, a canoe design, finished the race but took on too much water. He and his team had to dismantle it to remove it from the pond.

“We still had fun out here and we had a lot of fun building the boat,” he said.

Jerrold Stein, Stony Brook’s associate vice president and dean of students, estimated that more than 3,000 people turned out in the 70-degree sun to watch their friends (or laugh at them) as they paddled through the muddy waters.

“I think it’s great,” said spectator Derek Gamboa, a junior who attended for the first time. “I think it’s really great to have everyone come together.... I really love everyone’s creativity this year.”

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