By ELISA ESSNER
Fairview Elementary School’s cafeteria was transformed into a noisy harbor Jan. 29 when Cub Scout Pack 703 hosted its annual Raingutter Regatta.
Thirty-five of 53 Fairview scouts showed up for the event, accompanied by a number of siblings, parents and grandparents — a pretty good turnout, according to Cubmaster Kelly Whitaker.
The regatta consisted of a design competition and a series of races. Scouts were judged against other members of their den.
The design portion of the event was judged by an impartial panel, featuring Fairview Principal Diana DeMoss, Fairview preschool teacher Patti White and Paxton-Keeley Scout leader, Tim Brothers.
“I think the judges are looking for something that’s not too perfect,” Whitaker said. “Something that shows a child’s had a hand in making it – a culmination of a kid and parent’s efforts to create a finished product.”
Boat designs varied greatly, from extremely simple – a sleek all black ship – to more ornate – sporting team logos, a pirate motif, and even a U.S. Army decal.
Whitaker explained that the design requirements are fairly open-ended. The scouts receive a “Raingutter Regatta Kit,” produced by Boy Scouts of America. It contains a pre-shaped genuine balsa wood hull, metal keel, plastic rudder, sail and wooden dowel mast, according to the BSA’s online store.
“The boat comes pre-shaped but they’re allowed to do some shaping as long as it meets the rules the Scouts have set,” Whitaker explained. “The design is done on their own time.”
Pack 703 ran two simultaneous races on opposite ends of the cafeteria. Two sawhorses held up two aluminum rain gutters, each approximately 10 feet long. Scout leaders placed a boat in each gutter, and the boys prepared to blow their boat from one end to the other.
As they waited for their own heat, scouts debated blowing technique – long, deep breaths or quick, short puffs – and cheered on their friends.
Final race results weren’t available at the time of publication.