RAVENA — The basement of the Congregational Christian Church on Main Street in Ravena was awash in a sea of little blue shirts last Wednesday evening. A clamorous uproar could be heard at regular intervals as the Cub Scouts of Pack 1067 sailed their Rain Gutter Regatta ships to victory or defeat on the not-so-high seas of their rainspouts.
The pack decided a couple of years back to forsake the track traditionally used for the race — your standard metal rain gutter — and technology has now provided the boys with a much safer alternative, a really cool blow-up version that.
To accommodate the 37 boys in blue, leaders and other volunteers had set up three of the inflatable tracks that covered two of the church’s long dining tables.
A couple of weeks earlier, each Scout had been given a regatta kit which contained a block of balsa wood, a metal keel and plastic rudder and sail. After weeks of shaving, cutting, sanding and painting with their favorite crafty adult, they were finally ready to set sail on Wednesday night.
Each boy was guaranteed two races. If they lost both of those, then they were out. If they won, then they moved on.
The race is run by boy-power alone. When their time to race came, each Scout was given a long orange straw with which they were able to provide the wind power (direct from their little lungs) to fill their sails.
Each heat took less than a minute to run and after a very noisy and exciting hour-and-a-half, the winner had been decided.
In first place was WEBELOS Jack Barry, second Arrow of Light Ian Shackelton and third Arrow of Light Kenny Rosimini.
The boys were also awarded for their creative design in the Best in Show category. Each year, the boys not only try to come up with the boat that will maneuver fastest through the water, but they also try to come up with the coolest design and if their fellow Scouts agree, they take home the honors.
This year Wolf Scout Bradley Hoffman got the most votes for his catamaran design. Second place went to Ian Shackelton for his “Black Pearl”, replete with a Minecraft-style depiction of Jack Sparrow keeping watch from the sail. And third place went to WEBELOS Scout Darwyn Derry with his Star Wars boat.
The regatta is an annual event for the boys and they look forward to it each year. Though his oldest son Danny has now moved on to the Boy Scouts, where they engage in more lofty pursuits like designing and constructing ropes courses, Dan Barry has spent many years helping his two sons design, carve and decorate their way to victory.
And this year was no exception — Barry’s son Jack, a WEBELOS Scout, took first place for fastest boat, which was all about fish. One fish adorned the boat, there was one on the sail and two small fish as banners that flew straight out at attention above the main sail.
“We have really enjoyed working on these projects together over the years; I think it gives the child and dad an opportunity to work on something a little bit more technical than what you might do as school work. You’re actually given an opportunity to carry a project through to seeing it used. We have a lot of fun with it,” said Barry.
The regatta completed, the next balsa wood carving event on the agenda for the Scouts is the annual Pinewood Derby, which will take place in April.