Raingutter Regatta with my girl scout troop

The Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts for years have been doing pinewood derby races, and at some point they also started doing raingutter regatta events. Since I have daughters and I am the troop leader, I talked to my troop about doing a rain gutter regatta and they all were very excited about it.

So I started hunting around the council and none of the other girl scout troops were doing these, so figured we would do our own.

The way it works in the cub scouts is they purchase a kit for each of the kids, take it home and the dad builds a boat from the kit. The kid usually paints the boat, then they take that boat to an event to race it.

Their event rules say you have to use just the materials in the kit, that way everyone has a similar boat to race. There is one neat modification where the hull is split in half and a catamaran is created. Then instead of using the sail that is included inside the kit, the packaging is used to make an over sized sail which is a lot more powerful.

Since we were just doing this regatta in my garage, and being a puddle ducker, figured we could build our own boats and race them. I decided to make our miniature puddle ducks by ripping the edge off a 2x4. This made a nice 1.5" x 3" rectangle that was about 3/8" thick.

I sanded the edges, especially the bow to make it go through the water easily. This is one of my sanding tricks, I put a disk in my drill press and then I can hold whatever piece I am working on with both hands and work it across the sanding disk.

I made a template to mark where the mast hole goes. Quick tap with a nail and presto they are marked and easy to drill.

I always have a pack or two of shiskabob skewers on hand for various projects and crafts, and they also make great masts. In no time at all, I had a bunch of sailboats ready for my troop.

For the sail, we used pieces of corrugated cardboard. The corrugation is perfect to slip over top of the skewer stick to make a sail. So I made a bunch of rectangles for the girls to make sails from.

At the meeting the girls cut the sails the way they wanted to and colored them with markers. They also colored the hulls of their boats.

The raingutter regatta race track is pretty simple. Most people get a couple of rain gutters and lay them across a couple of tables. I just happened to have a big leftover piece of PVC pipe, so I capped it and then cut it in half. Because the pvc was so floppy, I used a scrap piece of plywood and made a sturdy base for it. It definitely would have been easier to just use some raingutter, but hey, I like making stuff .... :)

The way you race is by blowing on the sail to make it run down the track. Not supposed to touch the boat (as in push it with your nose). Sometimes they blow too hard and the boat gets knocked over. We just had them right the boat and start blowing again. First one to the end of the track wins that race. Water knocked out of the track so I had a jug handy to keep refilling.

We had a bracket type race, so the winners of one race would move up to the next bracket. They they would race and so on...

I gotta warn you, it is just hilariously fun to do this !! The girls were jumping and screaming the whole time. Just a ton of fun.

And they got a patch too.