Raingutter Boat Racing - How To Make A Fast Regatta Boat

Balance Your Weight

Where your boat balances determines how well your boat deals with waves and staying on the surface of the water. If the weight is too far forward, the nose (bow) of your boat will get swamped when it meets the waves. Too far back, and unnecessary water drag can develop or it can "wheelie" right over on its back. If your sail is at the rear of your boat, make it float with its nose up about 1/2-inch above the waterline when NOT being blown.

Less is Best

Design your boat to weigh as little as allowed by your regulations. Heavier boats may not hydroplane; they have to move water out of the way with their hulls. Even if they do hydroplane, you have to blow harder to go the same speed. There is some evidence though, that 1/8-ounce may be too light - the boat loses too much momentum when you take a breath.

When floating, a 6-inch regatta boat sinks about an eighth of an inch (draft) for each ounce of weight.

To control the weight and its placement in your boat, make the boat as light as possible. Use free weights to concentrate the weight where it is needed. For a 1-ounce boat, a few pennies works great (there are about 11 pennies to the ounce). Use clay for small weight adjustments - it's water-proof. Express your theme with deck figures or builtup structures and it may be possible not to use weights at all.


For any kind of boat, make the balance point low in the hull to guard against capsizing. This means placing free weight low in the hull. If your weight is too far above the waterline, your boat will become "wobbly" or unstable. If the balance point is too far back, the boat may flip backward hitting a wave. Too far forward, it'll get swamped by waves or be hard to hydroplane.

For the enthusiast
A simple hydroplane balances about a 1/3 from the rear of its planing surface. The planing surface is the flat, bottom part of the hull that touches the surface of the water when it is hydroplaning.

Placement of the balance point is key to the success of a hydroplane. Fortuneately, the boyancy of the wide hull allows the weight to be placed on the hull above the waterline. So how low you put it doesn't matter as much as how far back. On the other hand, when the balance point is in line with your blowing force, more power converts to speed.

Weighting Your Boat

For more control over weight at the competition, make your boat a bit light and plan to add a little weight at check-in. Construct your hull like a hollow box, or make a cavity near the sail as in the simple hull. Install access holes to make it easy to add weight. Cover them with colored, vinyl tape.

If you don't have a hollow well in your hull, cut one on the top under your sail or hot glue your weight to the top of the hull in front of the sail. Get assistance when working with tools.

A small amount of weight (clay works) that is easy to add and remove can be placed inside your sail where it will not be seen.

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Raingutter Boat Racing - How To Make A Fast Regatta Boat
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