The University of Illinois started it all. In 1970 civil engineering students there claimed to have built the world's first concrete canoe- reportedly an ungainly craft which might have benefited by attending a Weight Watcher's class. (It weighed 365 pounds.) Two years later the Boilermakers hosted a race and won first place over 18 contestants who responded to the area-wide invitation to participate. They hosted the race again the next year and this time with a craft of 125 pounds. Next year's race will be hosted by Note Dame's peddlers, who placed second this year using a canoe whose maximum speed, according to authorities, is classified information. Christened the Floating Irish, her construction began with fabrication of an expanded polystyrene form. A #2 smooth steel bar was installed in each gunwale and a layer of nylon mesh was placed on the form. To these surface was applied a neat cement paste and then a three-sixteenth inch layer of vermiculite concrete (using presoaked aggregate) made at a water cement ratio of .40 and a cement aggregate ratio of 2:1 by weight. Another layer of nylon mesh, a final coat of neat cement paste and an epoxy-based paint brought her final weight to 130 pounds.