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Moondog Free Press Blog: Sailing away

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Sailing away

The Cub Scouts hold an event called the Raingutter Regatta. It's a sailboat race along a 10-foot section of raingutter with the kids providing the boat's power by blowing on the sail through a straw. Each scout gets a kit which includes a wooden hull and mast, plastic sail and rudder, and a metal keel. The kids build and decorate the boats with the help of a parent, and trophies are given to the winners. There are also awards given for Best Paint Job, Crowd favorite, etc.

Little Boy Moonpuppy (LBM) is enormously excited about the whole deal, and quite frankly, so am I. My father was away on business a lot when I was a child, and as a result most of my father-son projects ended up being just "-son" projects. I can still remember watching my first Pinewoood Derby car disintegrate as it rolled down the track. It looked like it ran over a tiny IED. With that Cat's in the Cradle moment etched in my brain, I made up my mind that LBM and I were going to build the coolest, fastest, most original little Cub Scout sailboat the world has ever seen.

The specifications for the boats are pretty basic:
  • Hull: No longer than 7" or shorter than 6 1/2"
  • Mast: 6 1/2" from deck to top
  • Keel: Supplied in kit
  • Rudder: Supplied in kit
  • Sail: Supplied in kit
I watched a YouTube video of a race , and I saw the main drawback with the boats is their tendency to tip over. One solution to this problem would be to split the hull in half and convert the boat into a Catamaran, but when I tipped my hand about this plan to the scoutmaster, he said that was not allowed. It is not mentioned in the specs, but it is not allowed? Oh well, back to the drawing board.

Note: I have another idea, but I'm not going to post it here until after the race. Moondog Toy Boat Inc. is taking our Reseach and Developmet underground.


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