Do you have what it takes to build a boat, and then blow it ten feet down a raingutter in a winning style?

Ahoy, mates! This could be the sailing regatta of the century! Although the seas are only 10-foot lengths of raingutter filled with water, and the ships a mere 6 inches long, the race is a very exciting event. Each boy builds his own boat with supervision and help from parents or other family members. He also provides the wind for the sail with his own lung power.


The regatta boat kit, available from the Scout Shop, has a pre-shaped balsa hull, metal keel and plastic sail. The hulls are sanded and shaped, and painted with colorful lacquer. Hull and sail are then decorated with decal kits (also available at the Scout Shop). The boats race in pairs on raingutter courses, propelled by the boys blowing into the sails OR by the boys blowing into the sails with a drink straw.

The actual "race" will be divided into age categories: Wolf, Bear and Webelos. Each age group will race amongst themselves. The race will involve two lanes of "rain gutters". The boys are to blow air on the boats in order to advance them through the water. Hands are only to be used to upright a turned over ship, and are not to be used to advance the boat. In addition, boys should not use their faces, lips, hats, nose or other bodily parts to move the boat - just the air in their lungs!

Rules/ Boat Specifications:

Hull: No longer than 7" or shorter than 6 1/2" Mast: 6 1/2" from deck to top

Keel: Supplied in kit Rudder:

Supplied in kit

Sail:Supplied in kit

1. Boats must be made from the BSA Raingutter Regatta kits. However the materials supplied in the kit can be modified and added to somewhat. The hull, mast and sail provided in in the kit must be used, however, they can be modified. The hull cannot be shortened. Sails cannot be altered, but, they can be decorated.

2. Boys, when called to race, place boat in gutter and place one hand in front of their sail holding the boat back against the end of the gutter, they hold the straw in their mouths with the other hand and get ready to blow on the word "GO" from the judges.

3. When racing boys are allowed to "upright" their boats with their hands, but, cannot push the boats forward when doing so. This will be a big temptation for the boys to do and it seems they need to be reminded over and over not to do it, especially the young Tigers. We will give one warning and run the particular race over if one boy pushes his boat ahead AND that boat wins. We will have to eliminate a boy from racing if he pushes his boat on the restart of a race. We don't want to eliminate a boy from racing.

4. Only one (1) award per boy. If a boy wins a "place" award he cannot win the "Judges Choice" award.

Building & Design Tips:


1. Stability is the key. Metal keels and plastic rudders are provided with the kit to help stabilize boats. Other ideas to help in this area:

(a) Build boat and test it over and over in bathtub to check for stability. After testing weights can be added to level the boat as it goes in the water, however, REMEMBER THE MORE WEIGHT THE SLOWER THE BOAT. It's best to design the boat so it's stable without having to add weight.

(b) Catarmaran design. This is the most stable sailboat there is. One can be made easily from the BSA kit by cutting the hull in half (down the middle from front to back), and then turning the two halves with the curved side down. Then it just takes the addition of a little lightweight wood, such as balsa, to connect the halves and make a mast holder. The catamaran design doesn't need to utilize the metal keels provided in the BSA kit, and thus the boat is lighter. It is advisable to use two(2) plastic keels however to help the boat run straight and true.

(c) Keep hull flat. Do not round the hull into a V as with a normal boat. The flatter and wider the hull the more stable the boat will be.

2. Make the boat as light as possible. Drill out the hull, or remove wood from the "deck" of the hull.


3. Put sail as low on mast as possible, this promotes stability.


4. Tie back sail by tying thread to each of the lower corners of the sail and then securing the "lines" to each side of the boat (tying to a straight pin and then pushing the pins into the hulls is an easy way to do this). This will keep the sail from twisting when being blown on. The sail will stay at a 90 degree angle to the hull and allow it to "catch" the most air possible thereby promoting speed.


5. Channeling bottom of boat. Cut channels under the hull of the boat. Some straight back, some in a V with the point towards the front of the hull. This will seem to add somestability and promote speed of the boat. It also lightens the boat which contributes to speed.

6. The bottom edge of the sail needed to be about 1/2 inch above the deck of the boat. If the sail was too low the corners rubbed against the gutter or dipped in the water. If the sail was too high the boat was top heavy and tended to tip over.

7. The boats sailed best if they were balanced with more weight to the rear. This elevated the bow of the boat, and when they were blown, they ran almost even. * The keels needed to be placed about 3/4 of an inch behind the mast. Don't follow the instructions in the kit.

8. The rudder should be placed touching the keel.

9. Blow evenly with the straw at a point about 1 inch from the bottom of the sail. Blowing the boat down one edge of the gutter rather than letting it "tack" back and forth seemed to be the fastest.

10. Use "Krylon" spray paint -- it dries in about one minute on the balsa wood hulls.

11. Wax the hull

12. Add bumpers

13. Practice how to steer your boat in the bathtub before the race.


Set up for race:

(a). Use all four (4) 10' rain gutters to race in.

Each gutter is four (4") inches wide and filled with water.

(b). Divide Pack into four (4) divisions according to rank: Tigers, Wolves, Bears and Webelos.

(c). Do a double elimination tournament.

(d). Provide awards for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place for each rank. Have a "Judges Choice" award.

(e). Boats powered by the boys blowing through straws. The straws will "even" the playing field so to speak as only so much air can go through a straw.

(f).For this event(Raingutter Regatta) for this event, five judges will be positioned at the end of the raingutter track. Four of the judges will be incharge of one (1) lane and an overall judge to give ruling.

(g). After the races have been completed. Awards will be presented to winners.

(h). Order trophies from :

Decorating Tips:


2. An area to show off your decorations is on the sail. This is an excellent place for decals and stickers...boys love both. The sail provided in the BSA kit has a glossy side and a dull side. The dull side can be lightly spay painted to compliment the color of the boat. Use caution when painting a sail, too much paint will just peel and crack when the sail is placed on the mast.

3. Flags: A small flag can be made with a staight pin mast and attached to the deck or even on top of the mast. This ia a cool decorating idea. The American, or your State flag are some ideas...or, just a wild colored one.

4. Crew: Small figures such as "Mighty Max" tm(Mattel Toys) make excellent decorating ideas and can be glued to the deck of the boat.

5. Glitter instead of paint.



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