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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. I hope it works

  2. a person who does not like donuts // November 4, 2008 at 4:49 pm // Reply

    i am sending the person who made this flowers

  3. me is the peoples // November 4, 2008 at 4:46 pm // Reply

    my race is in 4 days and i havent started making my boat!

    i am to try this

  4. My 8 year old bear came in first place after we used these instructions. My only suggestion would be to carve some thin grooves into the bottom where you put the keel and the rudder so they will hold in place better when you glue them.

  5. We did great!! Followed your instructions. First time racer and came in 2nd place for Webelos. Ran out of air after 5 races. Very happy.

  6. This seems like it might work. but my friend won last year and he didn’t do any of this except for the sanding. he didn’t even blow like it says here. I try this way anyway though.

  7. dont you use a straw to blow?

  8. I tried your tips on my sons boat and they work great.He won 2nd place the first time he had tried it. Thanks

  9. You don’t make holes for the rudder and Keel just glue them on the bottom????

  10. my dad just broke the mast`-`

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