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Rain Gutter Regatta

Pack 521 Rain Gutter Regatta  August 29, 2009
 
Scouts and siblings and new scouting prospects gathered in our back yard for 2 hours in late summer to build simple catamaran boat kits and race them in informal relays races. All parts needed to build boats were provided by the pack at the event, and participants assembled and decorated their own boats.   Participants were invited to bring light items (like Lego pirates) to decorate their boats. We organized relay races and had fun.
 
Here’s how we did it:
  • Pontoon Boat Kits (prepared ahead of time with enough parts for 40 boats):
  • Decks: ¼ inch Luan plywood, 3” wide x 4” long,  ¼ inch hole drilled through center, painted with a white sealing primer (to make them waterproof and provide a nice surface for decorating)
  • Pontoons (2 per boat): Made from dense Styrofoam insulation board used for insulation sheathing for houses (Dow Corning makes this; it is a sky blue color and comes in 2x8x3/4” thick sheets).  Cut the sheet into pontoons 3/4”x3/4”x5”
  • Masts: 1/4” hard-wood dowels, 5” long
  • Sails: White polyethylene sheets sold in hobby stores for building model train set ups. Cut the sheets into pieces 3”wide x 5” tall. Use a paper punch to make holes for the mast in the middle of the top and bottom edges of the sail.
  • Other needs: hot-melt glue guns, permanent magic markers, stickers, stencils (sample stencils provided below)
 
Gutters:
  • Two 5”-wide vinyl gutters, 10’ long with end caps, supported over their full length by 2x4 studs on edge, one under each gutter, and one bolted along the side of each gutter, spanning two saw horses, leveled, and clamped or screwed to the sawhorses.
 
Building the boats:
  • Scouts decorate sails
  • Hot melt glue is used to fasten pontoons to bottom of the boats, with adult supervision. Their placement is important. The back ends of the pontoons should be flush with the back edge of the deck so the front ends of the pontoons extend beyond the front edge of the deck. This keeps the bow higher than the stern so that the bow does not nose under as boys blow on the sail. The outboard sides of the pontoons should be recessed from the sides of the deck about 1/8” so the pontoons won’t rub the gutter walls and thereby slow the boat.
  • Hot melt glue is used to fasten the mast into the center hole on the deck.
  • The sail is slipped over the mast. The polyethylene sheet is stiff enough that it bows out nicely.
  • Scouts decorate the decks with whatever they want… and they’re off!
 
Sample stencil patterns for sails:
 

  
 
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