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Raingutter Regatta during COVID

Our Pack is currently planning to do Raingutter Regatta next month. Due to COVID, we are planning to have scouts use fireplace bellows instead of straws to power the boats. Since our charter org is limiting building capacity to 40 people, we are planning on holding the event in the parking lot (“under the lights”). Curious about what other Packs may be doing to make this a successful event during COVID.

I have always called that the Virus Olympics cause all the blowing


I have heard some packs using small fans, but I like your bellows idea better.

You could use balloons, like the rocket derby…

Someone suggested hair dryers, but the proximity to water rules this out. Someone else also suggested a bicycle tire pump, but that strikes me as awkward.

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I’ve been in a few brainstorming sessions on this…

  • One alternative is to separate the scouts with 1 gutter per table, but that makes it harder to determine a winner.
  • A box fan might work, but that’s even harder to do outside (and around water).
  • This video from Boys Life shows how to do it with small fans on sticks.
  • But I also like the bellows idea, and they’re not too expensive. If I can convince my committee to try a Regatta, I think we’ll use this approach.
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We were still worried about the hygiene around the straws, spit, the water, etc.

I think this is more of what they were thinking.

Air compressor + hose splitter + two hoses + blow guns = fun!

Great ideas! I watched the video of the kids using the fans which I sort of liked, but maybe I’m old fashioned, it seemed too easy? I like the idea of using the bellows since its “kid powered”; one battery operated fan might have a competitive advantage over another depending on how they are handled, battery life, etc. The air compressor idea is very compelling, but it means having a noisy air compressor involved…


I agree. It is more Cub driven. Not that pinewood derby is cub driven, though.



Have two separate raingutters six feet apart. you’d likely have to purchase a second “raingutter kit” but then you’d have an extra.

@BrendonHoch, I’ve never tried the compressor, so you’d have to do some testing. It’s certainly better for outside. The compressor itself could be in another room. Most hoses are pretty long.
You would need to kid-test the bellows. Your lions might not be able to manage them very well.

We’re skipping it until afterwards.

The whole idea is the amount of air a kid can blow determines the winner, not how well they can aim something at the boat.

Unlike pinewood, the boats don’t really affect the race that much

Might consider the “space derby” instead. Could be a lot easier to distance.


That is what our pack is doing. We have never done the space derby before, but we haven’t had the same health risks before.

We decided to do Space Derby in lieu of regatta as well. We have never done it before and look forward to a different event. Online scout shop has all the medals for $0.24 each…so we got a deal on those instead of our usual regatta ribbons.

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@KevinCarlyle - We don’t use the kits. We used pipe insulation, popsiicle sticks, cups and paper. So, boat design was important to the outcome of the race.

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