(UPI:Boston Globe - February 19,2002)

The University of Hartford hopes to become the first entry in this years 2002 running of the Charles River Race with a concrete canoe. The idea was the brain child of team captain David de Manbey. "Sure a lot of people make remarks about the weight, but I don't hear any complaints about its toughness. Last year we ran into more of our share of bridge abutments navigating down the Charles. Before it was our plastic canoe going up against concrete, now its concrete against concrete. Lets see who the winner is now!".

Not all the team members are quite as optimistic. Sue Spies who faces a half mile portage had this to say, "Dave is in the first leg and doesn't have any portages. I have to carry this load a long way. And what happens if we drop the boat, does it split in half?".

It seems that the University has not been without their controversies. It is rumored that the design of this years boat includes a ram for sinking other boats. No one knows for sure since the building and design of this model have been a top secret. There has also been some ugly rumors of a crooked contest the team is running for this years race. Last year the controversy surrounded the University and their mascot Howie the Hawk

Howie the Hawk is still missing following what could best be described as an "out of control" celebration by the University team following last years race. Howie is accused of raiding a local Kentucky Fried Chicken store. Although finger prints were unable to be taken, eye witnessess claimed that they would recognize that tail anywhere.

Engineers at the University have named their new design the RAINBOW 333 (333 lbs). Head engineer Sean McCarthy had this to say about their new controversial design. "We cut the weight considerably from our award winning model last year - the RAINBOW 425 (425 lbs). We figured the team would need the lighter model for the portages." Sean was evasive fielding questions about the battering ram build into the design and what purpose a battering ram would have other than to attack other boats. "I'm not at liberty to discuss the design of our new RAINBOW 333 but I will tell you this - other boats in the water with team University of Hartford would be best served keeping their distance."

Team members are hoping the boat will give them the edge they need to win the race this year. Other teams are wary of the University of Hartford team and are not sure what to expect. Paddlers sometimes muse as to what it takes to win a race - is it the design of the boat or the skill of the paddlers. How do you pose that age old question to the University of Hartford team - it appears they have broken all the boundaries in both categories.

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