Recent Comments

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.

Submit a Photo of Your Project

Important Note: Please only upload photos of your project. Because of privacy rules, we can't post any photos that show people's faces. Always ask for your parent's permission before uploading anything to a website.

13 Comments on Make the ultimate raingutter regatta racer

  1. scout of troop 342 // April 23, 2013 at 10:43 pm // Reply

    I want to do this but we don’t have a random rain gutter sitting around or some balsa wood. 🙁

  2. Going 2 use some of the directions for a school project hope it works.

  3. I have to say that following this there is a few rule violation that comes with the regatta. One is there needs to be a space between the keel and the rutter and also super glue is not supposed to be allowed only “a water-based resin or wood glue. I find it disheartening that one of the scout codes is to do your best. Yet the rules are not taken into account. My own sons pack did this and I am not happy. However we (my son and I ) followed them he placed 3rd.

  4. Denleaderdad // December 1, 2012 at 9:09 am // Reply

    Inverting the keel with the narrow part in the hull did not work
    for us. This design is slow… Build it according to directions in the box to win.

  5. My regattas tonight i hope it works

  6. Third place finish for my Tiger Cub’s first regatta, even against some older scouts in the pack!

  7. Worked like a charm tonight! 3rd place finish for my Bear Cub! Followed it all to a tee, and put three coats of poly on it.

  8. I sure hope this works???

  9. I totally believe in this article! My son won the overall pack by following these instructions to the tee! He will be racing in the district races sometime in the next month! Thanks to Mark Lardas for this great article!

  10. Still working on it. Hope it works.

Leave a Reply to Fartsniffer Cancel reply

Please don't use your real name.