Building & Design Tips:
1. Stability is the key. Metal keels and plastic rudders are provided with the kit to help stabilize boats. Other ideas to help in this area:
(a) Build boat and test it over and over in bathtub to check for stability. After testing weights can be added to level the boat as it goes in the water, however, REMEMBER THE MORE WEIGHT THE SLOWER THE BOAT. It's best to design the boat so it's stable without having to add weight.
(b) Catarmaran design. This is the most stable sailboat there is. One can be made easily from the BSA kit by cutting the hull in half (down the middle from front to back), and then turning the two halves with the curved side down. Then it just takes the addition of a little lightweight wood, such as balsa, to connect the halves and make a mast holder. The catamaran design doesn't need to utilize the metal keels provided in the BSA kit, and thus the boat is lighter. It is advisable to use two(2) plastic keels however to help the boat run straight and true.
(c) Keep hull flat. Do not round the hull into a V as with a normal boat. The flatter and wider the hull the more stable the boat will be.
Unlike the standard design, building this boat requires making cuts through the kit's balsa hull block, and more extensive gluing. Scouts must not attempt this project unsupervised! This document is intended only to outline the work required to build the boat, not to teach safe workshop practice. Power tools aren't necessary for this project, and I recommend that they NOT be used because of the small size of these parts. Handle and use sharp hand tools carefully, and be careful to avoid burns from hot glue and glue guns, if used. It's your (Akela's) responsibility to know how to use your tools safely, and to ensure safety throughout construction! If, for any reason, you're not completely confident that you and your scout can safely complete this project, please don't try! Building a toy boat is far less important than your safety!
2. Make the boat as light as possible. Drill out the hull, or remove wood from the "deck" of the hull.
3. Put sail as low on mast as possible, this promotes stability.
4. Tie back sail by tying thread to each of the lower corners of the sail and then securing the "lines" to each side of the boat (tying to a straight pin and then pushing the pins into the hulls is an easy way to do this). This will keep the sail from twisting when being blown on. The sail will stay at a 90 degree angle to the hull and allow it to "catch" the most air possible thereby promoting speed.
5. Channeling bottom of boat. Cut channels under the hull of the boat. Some straight back, some in a V with the point towards the front of the hull. This will seem to add somestability and promote speed of the boat. It also lightens the boat which contributes to speed.
6. The bottom edge of the sail needed to be about 1/2 inch above the deck of the boat. If the sail was too low the corners rubbed against the gutter or dipped in the water. If the sail was too high the boat was top heavy and tended to tip over.
7. The boats sailed best if they were balanced with more weight to the rear. This elevated the bow of the boat, and when they were blown, they ran almost even. * The keels needed to be placed about 3/4 of an inch behind the mast. Don't follow the instructions in the kit.
8. The rudder should be placed touching the keel.
9. Blow evenly with the straw at a point about 1 inch from the bottom of the sail. Blowing the boat down one edge of the gutter rather than letting it "tack" back and forth seemed to be the fastest.
10. Use "Krylon" spray paint -- it dries in about one minute on the balsa wood hulls.
11. Wax the hull
12. Add bumpers
how to steer your boat in the bathtub before the race.
Raingutter Regatta >