Raingutter Boat Racing - Breathing Life Into Your Boat

Dry Dock

Welcome to the Dry Dock! The information, concepts and experiments developed in this manual will take some mental strength and stamina to fully grasp. A periodic rest on this sandbar can only help you sail through it all. Grab these two essential tools to keep from getting stuck in the muck when the tide goes out. Here's a breif explanation of our mathematical notation and a handy description of the units used in this manual, including conversion to and from standard units is covered.

Modeling The Regatta

For you students of miniature boat racing who are not deterred by greasy hands and craning your neck once in a while, go ahead and pop open these access panels!

  1. Answers from the models

    Why should you bother to understand or use mathematical models of the regatta? Here are some of the answers we found by using them.

    1. What is the fastest time possible?
    2. What is the "scale" speed of my boat?
    3. Will my boat float?

  2. Answers From Experiment

    Each experiment uses a simple homemade device to demonstrate or measure important properties of your boat.

    What is the best size for my sail? Make a simple device that shows you the best size for your sail.
    How hard am I blowing? A homemade device measures your breath speed. Use it in the models to estimate how fast you can make a boat go. Then build it!

  3. Development of the Regatta Model

    Follow the step-by-step creation of the regatta model. See how this complex physical activity can be captured "on paper". Understand the limitations of mathematics to express it and why computers are essential tools in science.

    1. Virtual reality: Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 1 Corinthians 13:12

      Modeling creates a kind of virtual reality. Though a shadow of reality, it amplifies your ability to understand what is going on and how to turn it to your advantage.

    2. Bath Tub Bouyancy

      Much of what we know about water, waves and objects in them come from experiences in bath tubs.

      Caught by a few drops of water Meet Archimedes the detective.
      Secrets of a water bug How do they walk on water? Can knowing help build a better boat?
      The ups and downs of waves This one makes me dizzy.

    3. Kinetics of a Hull

      Model of a hull in the water.

      Forward Balance Tip your hat to an old sail's pitch.
      Hulls and pressure drag Dragging a hull through the water.
      Hydroplaning A model for walking on water!


  1. How Does Your Boat Measure Up?

    One step at a time. These carefully designed worksheets lead you through steps to estimate your boat's characteristics and performance.

    Worksheet for boat CM Find out from design drawings where your boat's center of mass is.

  2. Equipment To Build

    Here's how to make simple devices needed to measure and solve for some characteristics of your boat and breath that can't be hounded out purely on paper.

    Test rig determines best sail size This device is indespensible for finding the best sail size.
    Device to determine breath speed Use this setup to measure your breath speed and to increase your ability to compete.
    Measure weight, volume and density Measure two main properties of your boat using the principles of bouyancy.
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Raingutter Boat Racing - Breathing Life Into Your Boat
Copyright © 1997, 2000, 2002, 2004 by Michael Lastufka, All rights reserved worldwide.