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Make the ultimate raingutter regatta racer

SAFETY FIRST: Ask an adult to help with tools you haven't used before.

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.


  • Regatta Kit (BSA Supply No. 17090, $3.99,
  • Fine sandpaper
  • Scissors
  • Polyurethane
  • Paintbrush
  • Superglue
  • Spray paint (optional)
  • Adult permission and/or supervision


step1.jpgStep 1: Sand the balsa wood hull’s sides and bottom until smooth.

step2.jpgStep 2: Put the mast in, and bend back the mast to “rake” it a little. Take the mast out for now.

step3.jpgStep 3: Seal the hull, using two coats of polyurethane, then sand it smooth.

step4.jpgStep 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.

step5.jpgStep 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.

step6.jpgStep 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.

step7.jpgStep 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.

step8.jpgStep 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.


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.

no.jpgIf you’re too high, blowing downward, you will force the bow down, slowing the boat. You’ll blow your chance to win.

yes.jpgPosition yourself so that you are blowing from behind the boat and slightly up, using a gentle, steady breath.

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10 Comments on Make the ultimate raingutter regatta racer

  1. In answer to the question on raingutter regatta water track, we use regular raingutters, capped on both ends, for our tracks. They work really slick…

  2. The BSA How To Book will give you the instructions on making the Raingutter Regatta Course.

  3. I hope this works it is my first raingutter regatte!

  4. Are there any Cub scout regulations that I will need to follow? or does this “raingutter regatta” meet all cub scout regs?

  5. Say does anyone have instructions to making the raingutter water track? Need it ASAP

  6. skate-board-guy // April 13, 2008 at 4:12 pm // Reply

    This boat is awesome. It was a bit of complicated project (especially since I had to do it with my little brother who thinks painting is tipping the paint jar over my head), but the hard work was completely worth it. Now, over the summer I’ll have something to do when my family goes to the beach- race boats with my brother. I have a feeling I’ll win, though,because my brother is only 4. He probably won’t make a very good boat captain, but he will be really annoying one!

    -Later, dudes!

  7. cool

  8. realygood

  9. I love boats and this is awsome!!!

  10. Eagletrail // April 4, 2008 at 3:22 pm // Reply

    I Am a boy scout, but this is a great ship, not as fast as a P38 Lightning, but you can maybe win every race with this.

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