More about the Raingutter Regatta

Raingutter Regatta


The raingutter regatta is a racing event for Cub Scouts in the Boy Scouts of America that is the sailboat equivalent of the pinewood derby. The sailboat kit consists of a seven-inch (178 mm) long balsa wood hull, a 6-1/2 inch mast, plastic sail, plastic rudder, and metal keel. Within the basic design rules, Scouts are free to paint and decorate their sailboats as they choose.

The boats are raced in a standard rain gutter that is ten feet long, placed on a table or saw horses, and filled to the top with water. The boats are propelled by blowing on the sail, either directly or through a drinking straw; the boat cannot be touched with hands or the straw. The first boat to reach the end of the gutter is the winner. The overall winner is determined by an elimination system.


  • The boat must be newly built for the current Cub Scouting year
  • Hull: 1-piece design, no longer than 7″ or shorter than 6 1/2″
  • Mast: 6 1/2″ from deck to top (measure the one from the kit…it may be too long!)
  • Keel: Supplied in kit (no modifications)
  • Rudder: Supplied in kit (no modifications)
  • Sail: No larger than material supplied
  • Sail boat: Made from the provided official BSA Regatta kit
  • Hydrofoils and catamarans are NOT permitted because they provide a competitive advantage.
  • The rules for the Raingutter Regatta are fairly simple. The boys build boats from standard BSA kits. The boys can decorate in any manner they choose.
  • The actual race will be divided into rank categories: Tiger, Wolf, Bear, and Webelos similar to the Pinewood Derby. The boys blow air on the boats, through straws, to move them through the water. Hands may only be used to upright a turned over boat and may not be used to advance the boat. Boys may not use their faces, lips, hats, nose or other body parts to move the boat — just their lung power!

BSA Raingutter Regatta Boat Kit

BSA Raingutter Regatta Boat Kit

Construction Rules

  1. The boat must be newly built for the current Cub Scouting year. As much as practical, the boat should be substantially built by the Scout with parental supervision. The boat should use every part from the BSA Raingutter Regatta Kit. Additional parts, decals, paint, and glue are permitted.
  2. Overall width shall not exceed 2 1/4 inches.
  3. Overall length from bow to stern (including rudder) shall not exceed 7.00 inches, nor shorter than 6.50 inches.
  4. The mast must rise 6.50 inches above the deck.
  5. Below the waterline, no more than the forward 1 inch and the aft 1 inch may be shaped in any way. Surfaces and edges may be sanded smooth.
  6. The boat must have a single hull. Although you might find designs for double hulled boats we ask that all boats must be single hull. The boat may not be of hydrofoil, hydroplane, outrigger, or catamaran design.
  7. Only the sail supplied with the kit may be used. The sail may be trimmed, but must not be shaped or folded. The sail must be upright for its entire length and must be attached to the mast supplied with the kit. The mast may be placed in any position on the top of the boat and the sail may be arched or curved in one dimension only. The sail may be tied, tacked, or glued in place as long as it is upright and unfolded.
  8. The keel and rudder from the kit must be used. Only the keel and rudder supplied with the kit may be placed below the waterline. The keel and rudder may be placed anywhere on the boat, but cannot cause the boat to exceed 7.00 inches in overall length.
  9. The Rank, Den Number, and first and last name of the scout should be on the lower portion of the sail.
  10. Modifications above the waterline for creative or decorative purposes are allowed as long as they do not alter sail performance. Details such as figures, decals and paint are permissible as long as these details are securely glued or fastened to the boat. The scouts are encouraged to decorate their boat, as this adds to the experience.

Racing Rules:

  1. When called to race, hold you boat back with your hand against the end of the gutter until you hear the “Go!”
  2. When racing, you will be allowed to “upright” your boat with your hands if your boat gets stuck, but you cannot move your boat forward when doing so. There will be one judge per track, and the judges will give a warning if you move your boat forward. If you get a warning(s), the race goes on. If you lose the race after getting a warning(s), no action is required; however, if you win, the race will be repeated.
  3. If one of the boats gets broken during a race, the results stand. (Did you se the “Down and Derby” movie where the super fast car that the dads built lost a wheel in the race?) We will allow a 5 minute break for you to fix your boat as best as you can for the next race. You parents can help you fix your boat.
  4. We will race each race twice, switching raingutters. If there is a tie, will toss a coin, and the winner of the coin toss will choose track for the tie braker.
  5. We will have a double elimination race.
  6. A race might be repeated if the judges find a reason that merits it.
  7. The Raingutter Regatta is a chance to show our good Cub Scout Sportsmanship! Remember, “Do your Best!”