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The Raingutter Regatta May 15, 2006

Posted by Joe in Uncategorized.

P1010017.JPGFor the past few weeks, Benjamin and I have been working on our latest Cub Scout project, the Raingutter Regatta. For the uninitiated, the Raingutter Regatta is another father-son craft project where you start with some raw materials and work together to create the best model you can. It’s similar to the Pinewood Derby we did last fall and to the Shuttle Race we did earlier this year.

Starting with little more than a block off balsa wood, you carve, shape, and fashion your diamond-in-the-rough to look as much like a boat as you can. A little sandpaper and and a lot of imagination go a long way, here.


Then you add a mast, sail, keel, and rudder. When you are satisfied with your design, you add a couple of coats of paint and some enamel to keep the boat from taking on water. When it’s completed, you take it to the competition to see how you fare against the other father-son duos.

As the name implies, each Scout places their boat in a raingutter that has been filled with water (after it has been detached from the house, of course). Unlike the Pinewood Derby (which is gravity powered) and the Shuttle Race (which is powered by rubberbands), the Raingutter Regatta boats are 100% powered by the breath of Scouts. It’s a great competition! At the sound of the gun (or in our case the sound of the Scout Master counting to three) the Scouts start huffing and puffing to empower their vessel down the makeshift river. You’d be amazed at how much hot air can come out of a 7 year old!


Benjamin and I created a Pirate’s ship. I helped with the sanding and gluing, but the rest was up to him.


Out of the approximately 12 boats we finished in the middle of pack. Our ship just didn’t want to stay on course and kept bumping into the sides of the raingutter. But, for the third time in as many competitions, Benjamin’s craft was voted in the top 3 best looking! The Pinewood creation came in second place while his Shuttle took top prize!

He was happy, but most importantly we got to do it together.



1. Anonymous - May 16, 2006

I know where he gets his hot air from….need I say more. It’s from the same kid who when he was small and would ask a question that he knew I would say no to. He always had a reply, regardless of my answer. One day, I asked him how he did that. He replied “First, I think of every possible answer you could give me and then I think of a reply, either way. Then, I think of an answer to that reply and so on.” This coming from a 5 or 6 year old was a scary thing to a mother. I knew I was fighting a losing battle from then on. You notice, I am not naming names here. Love, Beck

2. Joe - May 22, 2006

Well, you could have easily preempted all that and simply said ‘yes’ the first time. 🙂

3. sheryl - May 22, 2006

The sail is really cool. Presentation is sometimes just as important as performance. And congrats to Benjamin on his good sportsmanship!

4. Laura - May 22, 2006

I was so proud of him- for his performance and hard work making it, yeah- but mostly because he did the right thing even when other kids didn’t. It made my heart swell and tears sting my eyes to see him penalize himself and set his boat back at the starting point because he had to touch it to set it upright. The other kid he was racing against in one “heat” was practically pushing his along with his fingers. But the Scoutmaster had told them they had to start over if they touched it and he did even though he gave up his lead and the other kid didn’t follow the rule. That’s the kind of stuff that makes me the proudest- we are raising a kid with integrity, and that’s getting hard to find.

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