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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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12 Comments on Make the ultimate raingutter regatta racer

  1. Green Ninja 2 // October 28, 2012 at 1:30 pm // Reply

    This had better work!! I NEED to keep my pack event winning streak going!!! I won the Cublympics and Pinewood derby. if i loze, ill be this-

    -angry dude!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    pce out

  2. The Wild Webelo // October 24, 2012 at 10:08 am // Reply

    Boy i hope this works because this is my first time and my last time!

  3. Ford Powerstroke Diesel 7.3 // October 23, 2012 at 5:43 pm // Reply

    My Race is Nov. 17th hope I win a trophy

  4. This boat better work…

    • This is the second year we have used this design with one alteration. We are the only ones in the pack to use it. There is something to the keel and rudder being set against one another because for the second year it produced a win. And when I say win I mean blowout. In a few of the races the win was by a full half the distance of the raingutter.

  5. hopes it will work for me

  6. i took first last year but i hope this helps me do even better

  7. We followed your instructions and won!

  8. We built one nearly the same, but trimmed the sail and glued it to the deck. No one else had the keel moved and no one came close to beating us !

  9. Hope this works!!!

  10. Callumsmom // July 28, 2012 at 4:56 pm // Reply

    Followed the instructions, and even though we didn’t have any polyurethane my son still won! Noone else had the keel turned this way or so close to the rudder. The tips for blowing really helped too since I noticed most of the other contestants blowing downwards. Thanks!

    • I also used the instructions.It really works! I learned the hard way not to put too many stickers on it…makes the balance off!

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