Raingutter Boat Racing - How To Make A Fast Regatta Boat

Design for Looks or Novelty

Most raingutter regatta competitions rate design just as highly as speed. Design usually means "what looks good" rather than "clever things done to make a faster boat". Pick a theme. Make a statement, a scale boat, amuse or make a scene. These boats can travel almost as fast as pinewood cars, so air resistance may be a small consideration. However, other factors will likely determine your success to a greater degree. Before you read about making a fast regatta boat, know that a fast boat can also look good.

Judging Design

Design for looks involves building for the judges. In order to have any advantage in the design category, you must know what the judges are looking for. The design judges in a regatta may not have a written rulebook. Ask your race coordinator about design judging guidelines or see if they'll use ours.

In local races, judges are often selected on the spot from onlooking adults who have no children in the competition being judged. They may be asked to read a judges' information sheet. Even if they do, chances are they will still look for the boat that appeals to them most based on their own ideas of craftsmanship and look.

Pick a Theme!

Given that there are certain hull designs that work best for speed, most variation will be in the shape of the sail and the overall theme of the boat decor. You can probably get a mental image of themes like "Noah's Life Boat", "Peter's Surf Board" or "Dolphin Skis". A paddle boat might score higher points for its complexity and execution.

For the serious competitor
Whatever your theme, don't feel obligated to stick too closely to the boats presented in this manual. There's lots of room for your personal touch.

To create your design, pick a theme in accordance with your club's goals or overall race theme. Determine how to demonstrate that theme through small figures, deck-structures, deck-o-rations, your paint scheme and the name of your boat.

Even if you are a pure design artist, you can still benefit from this manual by reading the sections about shaping and finishing your boat. You'll need to make more time for drawing your boat, sculpting it from foam, balsa or spackle and blending the finish. But don't forget, most rules state that your boat must at least FINISH one race!

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Raingutter Boat Racing - How To Make A Fast Regatta Boat
Copyright © 1997, 2000, 2001, 2004 by Michael Lastufka, All rights reserved worldwide.