'Rain Gutter Regatta' teaches basic engineering to children

Jan 29, 2018

Children at Marion's Natural History Museum raced in the town's first regatta of the year in late January.

This regatta was fun-sized though, fitting into the History Museum rather than out on the ocean waters. Participants in the Natural History Museum's "Rain Gutter Regatta" designed and built their own small sailing vessels, with the help of engineer Mark Whelan and volunteers from Tabor Academy.

Whelan explained basic concepts of engineering to the children, showing them what works when building a wooden sailboat, as each child constructed their own boat. Tabor student volunteers aided with cutting and drilling the wooden pieces and gluing them together. The children could build either a single-hull boat or a catamaran. They added a keel and sail before decorating their boats.

When the boats were ready, their owners raced them down to long rain gutters filled with water, to find out whose design worked best.