STONY BROOK - Students at Stony Brook University carried on a decades-long tradition by setting sail today in cardboard boats for the annual regatta.

The race requires that boats be made only of household items such as cardboard, string, glue, duct tape, wax and paint. The point of the race is to paddle across Roth Pond without the craft falling apart.

"There's a yacht class with four people in the boat, speedster with two, and the best-looking boat gets the showcase award," says Student Government President Mark Maloof.

The Society of Hispanic Engineers has won the showcase award for the past three years. Its Batmobile craft thrilled onlookers today when the motorcycle apparatus separated itself from the mother ship, but in the end, the engineering marvel was not built for speed.

Senior Jesse Thompson says the annual event is not about winning the race, but about having fun before the finals.

The first regatta was held in 1988, when a group of students got the idea to pilot cardboard boats across the muddy waters of Roth Pond.