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Annual Concrete Boat Race 2016

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On a day when some serious rain was predicted by the weather bureau, the Inland branch once again, organised their Annual Concrete Boat Race Day. As it turned out it was a glorious, wind-free day, which proved perfect for all involved.

Benoni Sailing Club at Homestead Lake, was once again selected for the event because of its prime location, generous size and its amenities.

The day started with the judging of the boats that had been constructed by the university students from UJ and Tukkies. The 47 concrete boats were lined up along the lakeside, having been carefully and enthusiastically constructed by the students to prescribed rules in terms of design, dimensions, weight and materials. This year the design theme of the craft was set as a Stand Up Paddleski (SUP), and had to be constructed in such a way that one person could propel it with a paddle. The SUP had to be capable of being lifted by only two team members. No buckles or attachments of any nature were allowed which attach individuals to the boat. The deck must NOT have enclosed the occupant's legs to the extent that it may trap him/her in the case of capsize or sinking. Synthetic materials could be used to provide flotation. Flotation could not add to the structural integrity of the craft.

The judges this year were:

  • George Evans – PPC
  • Marius Grassman – Concrete Testing Equipment
  • Jaco du Plessis – Go Consult
  • Andries Marais – Chryso-abe

The construction of the boats was carried out to this very strict criteria, the most important of which was that they must float! The boats had to be made from a freely available, commonly-used cement, mortar or concrete. Lightweight aggregate could be used, and the binding agent had to be predominantly cementitious in composition.

Limited quantities of other materials were allowed, provided that they did not replace the binding action of the cement. The strength and stiffness of the boat had to be entirely due to the cementing action between hardened concrete or mortar and its reinforcement. Non-concrete parts were not allowed to contribute to the strength or structural integrity of the boat and could be removed at the judges' discretion.

The prize winners in the construction category were as follows:


Boat name

Academic Institution



Loose Cannon University of Johannesburg Chryso-abe


Aqua Concrete University of Johannesburg AfriSam


Pokemon Row

University of Johannesburg

SIKA/Loskop Valley Lodge


 Winning Construction TeamR   Winning Boat ConstructionR
Winning Team and Boat – Construction Category 


Runners Up Construction TeamR   Second Place Boat ConstructionR
Runner-Up Team and Boat – Construction Category


 Third Place Construction TeamR   Third Place Boat ConstructionR
 3rd Place Team and Boat – Construction Category


Once the judging was over, the racing began, facilitated by Johan van Wyk, Vice Chairman of the Inland Branch and MC for the day, who ably steered the various heats to reach the stage where 3 'final' races decided the winners in the Student category. The Industry and Ladies’ races were concluded in one heat

The racing was very competitive, and different shapes and buoyancies of the boats soon sorted fast-moving craft from the slow. Races took the form of a relay where a 4-person relay team paddled 4 legs across a pre-determined course on the lake. Whether it was the change of design, or the fact that the paddlers had to stand on their craft, is not known, but there was a huge increase in the number of craft that capsized this year, much to the consternation of the paddlers, who often fought bravely to balance on their craft in the middle of the lake.

The racing concluded with an ‘Anything that Floats’ open race, and the paddles were ‘flying’.

After all the heats and the finals had been held, the winners in each category were as follows:


Student Race Boat Name Academic Institution
1st Loose Cannon University of Johannesburg
2nd Waterworx University of Johannesburg
3rd Pirates of the Caribbean University of Johannesburg
Industry Race Boat Name Organisation
1st Amazing Racer AfriSam
2nd Wet ‘n Wild Chryso-abe
3rd Obras PPC
Ladies Race Boat Name Organisation
1st Loose Cannon Chryso-abe
2nd Project Orange Chryso-abe
3rd Crocodile Sprinter Mapei
‘Anything that Floats’ Race Boat Name Organisation
1st Amazing Racer AfriSam
2nd The Chariot PPC/BASF
3rd Crocodile Sprinter Mapei
Quickest Sinker Boat Name Organisation
49 seconds Sonic Sea Craft AECOM



Monetary prizes for the top 3 students' construction projects, and the students’ race were donated by PPC Cement, and presented to the winners by Thabiso Maloa from PPC.

Winning LecturerRA special award, also donated by PPC, was presented to Deon Kruger from the University of Johannesburg for being the lecturer that registered the greatest number of students and boats. Medals were awarded to the first three teams in the other boat race categories.

Left: Roelof Jacobs presents special award to Deon Kruger from the University of Johannesburg

The Inland Branch of the Concrete Society would like to thank all the Sponsors for their generous contribution to, and continuing support of, the Annual Concrete Boat Race Day! 

Thanks also to the Benoni Sailing Club for the use of their facilities; ASM Safety Consultants, John Sheath for the photographs, and the local residents for their patience and understanding.


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