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(Marie Bellis/PAW Archives)
(Marie Bellis/PAW Archives)

Building a concrete canoe seems pretty ambitious, and racing one sounds quite arduous. But Princeton engineering students Alan Stone ’74 and William Lewis ’74 were up to both challenges in the spring of their senior year. For their independent work in the civil engineering department, the two designed and built a 180-pound canoe using wire mesh, ferrocement, and a coating of epoxy resin. The cement was applied by hand, PAW reported, “with the help of friends and a little beer.” After test runs on Lake Carnegie, Stone and Lewis raced their creation against 39 other entries in an intercollegiate competition on the Schuylkill River. They had confidence in their design but were worried about their ability to paddle in a straight line — a concern that proved unfounded when the bow, adorned with a Princeton P, crossed the finish in first place.