First you need to secure 2 aluminum raingutters with end caps. This will cost you around $10 per raingutter, and when you add the end caps the set of complete raingutters will cost about $25. Do NOT get vinyl raingutters, because they bow out terribly when filled with water if they're not being secured to a house, and you could lose all your water to the ground, which is especially sad if you are doing this inside due to inclement weather.
Boats: There are now two BSA kits: The traditional one for $3.99 (soon to be discontinued) and the new Trimaran kit for $4.99.
1. foam meat trays for the bottom, bamboo kabob skewers for the poles, and copy paper for the sails
2. Have you tried a Vegetable Regatta? Slice
the top off of a bell pepper, gourd, zucchini, or other vegetable.
Hollow the middle with a spoon. Add a shishkabob skewer or two and a
piece of paper for a mast. Test the floatability and mobility in a sink
or tub of water.
3. Pool Noodles cut in sections, add bamboo kabob skewers and paper sails
You can keep the spread of germs down by having the boys blow their boats through a straw.
You might like to know that blowing the bottom of the sail (fashion the sails like the original kit's and have the bottom edge of the sail touching the boat) will make the boat more stable. Ultimate Racer will show what the original kit and sail dimentions look like. (Don't worry about putting holes in the sails ahead of time. Just have the boys poke the skewers through the paper they decorate.)
These budget boats are so inexpensive, you could use this at the local Scout Expo (or Scout-A-Rama)! It would be a hit!
*If you use a traditional kit, the instructions at Ultimate Racer (from BSA's Boy's Life Magazine) really does make the fastest boats. Particularly take note of the placement of the rutters!