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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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29 Comments on Make the ultimate raingutter regatta racer

  1. sicky sicky nar nar // October 18, 2019 at 9:14 pm // Reply

    The new design is different than the old one.

  2. Can’t wait to do it

  3. Thanks

  4. My son just won first place today with this design. Honestly, no one else was even close

  5. Cubmaster 171 // May 16, 2015 at 3:07 pm // Reply

    We give the boys a bendy straw to use for blowing on the sail. They have to keep track of their straw so they have something to drink their root beer floats at the end of the races. Also, make sure and create a surface around the edges to break surface tension that forms when the boat hits the side of the gutter. My kids wrapped their boats in duct tape the last few years, pretty fast

  6. how do you make a good sail design

    • usually, you would want your sail slightly curved and wide to catch as mush air from the fan as possible. The curved sail design will help contain the air flow within the sail to help stability, as well.

  7. We had the boy scouts reffing(is that the right word) and they had lots of fun

  8. Honey bucket 2 // October 19, 2014 at 1:06 pm // Reply

    Rules now state that sail cannot be touching anypart of boat other than mast and must use all parts supplied with kit.

  9. yeah, I like my trimaran that i painted red.

  10. The last time I was in a raingutter regatta, I was the only one who put the sail connected to the bottom of the ship without the stick. That way, the sail wouldn’t turn to the left or right.

  11. Master of the seas // June 9, 2014 at 12:35 am // Reply

    Any tips out there how to make the trimaran go faster?

  12. I got 6th place overall

  13. What to do if sail gets lost?

  14. My son came In first . This was the first time in four years . Ty so much for these tips . One happy Cub Scout !

  15. i got first place by doing this by my self it really works

  16. We used this design last year and my child came in last place during each run. I had no idea how much more you could modify the sail (cut pieces off and reattach in a different position, etc) and how much more you could modify the boat itself. Not to mention my child’s boat was the only one that actually looked like a CHILD made it!

  17. cub scouts rule im 1

  18. Looks great. There’s a lot of other materials that can be purchased, but the kit is the way to go. Keeps it simple and Balsa is an ideal species for this purpose.

  19. helphelphelp // August 22, 2013 at 3:53 pm // Reply

    thanks 4 awesome help

  20. Use Super Glue

  21. i have 2 boys in cub scouts and we followed these tips for last years regatta…They came in 1st and 2nd place!! We will definitely be using these tips again this year! They hope to pull 1st and 2nd again next week! Thanks!

  22. What glue should be used?

  23. Hope She wins!

  24. this stuf looks cool

  25. wish our pack did that regatta thing

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