A winning raingutter racer stays on an even keel, moves in a straight line, keeps the bow above water and does not drag.
If your boat does all this, it finishes ahead of any boat that can’t. Here’s how to build your winner.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
WHAT YOU’LL DO
Step 1: Sand the balsa wood hull’s sides and bottom until smooth.
Step 2: Put the mast in, and bend back the mast to “rake” it a little. Take the mast out for now.
Step 3: Seal the hull, using two coats of polyurethane, then sand it smooth.
Step 4: Add the keel and the rudder. Put both on the centerline and at right angles to the bottom of the hull. Put the keel on as far back as you can, just ahead of the rudder.
Step 5: Glue the keel’s narrow edge next to the hull and the angled edge forward. This makes your boat harder to tip and quicker to right.
Step 6: If you paint the boat, keep it simple — spray paint works fine. Three thin coats make an attractive finish. Attach the mast after painting.
Step 7: Trim 1/4 inch off the top and 3/4 inch off the bottom of the sail. Cut a new bottom hole 1/2 inch above the old one. Clip off the bottom corners so they can’t snag the gutter.
Step 8: To keep the sail above the gutter, attach it so that the bottom is 1 1/2 inches above the deck. Glue the sail to the mast so that it can’t move. Attach the sail at right angles to the centerline.
HOW TO CAPTAIN THE BOAT
No matter how well you make your boat, victory demands a skilled captain. An even wind, for instance, moves the boat faster than do frantic puffs.
Practice long, steady breaths. Your breath should hit the sail directly behind the sail and just below the center.
If you’re too high, blowing downward, you will force the bow down, slowing the boat. You’ll blow your chance to win.
Position yourself so that you are blowing from behind the boat and slightly up, using a gentle, steady breath.