Author: Jose G. Barr
The new cub scout year is off to a great start for our pack here in Redlands, California. The boys all brought their best catamaran boats out for a fun afternoon of racing and friendly competition. Being that this was Josephs first regatta, we didn't do to bad. There were a few lessons learned as well as some design consideration that we observed on the other boats in the regatta.
One of the greatest lessons learned is that you can put together a winning catamaran within a few hours. My good friend Frank and his son Nicholas left no doubt that this is possible, they placed first in the pack regatta. Congratulations my friends. Joseph and I spent a few hours the day before shaping, painting and assembling his catamaran. Most of the boats were built along similar timelines from a few hours to a few days.
One thing that I did that I realized may have resulted in some instability is the rounding of the catamarans pontoons. While I sanded down the front to a point I also rounded the entire length of the pontoon. After watching the races, I realized that the most successful designs, including the one built by Frank and Nicholas, had flat bottoms. They shaped the front, but left the bottom and rear alone. This contributed to the catamarans being more stable and turning less in its lane. Joseph had to adjust his boat a few times when it started to turn sideways.
Once the catamaran is in the water the boys are given their propulsion tool (a soda straw). They will use this to blow air towards the catamarans sail. Of significant importance here is the location where to blow air on the sail. If air is blown to far up, the catamaran will dip its nose down causing resistance in the water. The proper way to direct the flow of air is to aim it at the bottom edge of the sail so that the air pushed forward and up, propelling the catamaran over the top of the water.
The most important factor here is that the boys had fun. This is one of those activities that brings families together for a fun afternoon. At the end of the races we had a BBQ and went swimming. Being the good den leader that I am, I took the opportunity to complete some of the requirements for the "Spirit of The Water". My boys are well on their way to earning their Wolf rank at next summers graduation camp out.
The founder of the scouts, Lord Robert Baden-Powell, once said “There is no teaching to compare with example.” I give a lot of credit to my fellow mothers and fathers for teaching their sons by example. Our pack here in Redlands is strong because of the example set by these amazing folks each and every day. Thank you one and all for the dedication you show to not only your children, but to the boys of your cub scout family.