Fun ways to play with your Puddle Duck
Hatch Event - Team up with others, and try to create as many 3D hulls as you can in a weekend.
Often other puddle duckers that already have boats will help you build new ones, both for the fun of it, and to increase the local group of duckers.
(contact them directly from the member list)
Day Sail - See if anyone wants to meet up and go sailing.
Short Voyage - Is there some interesting island, beach, geocache or water side restaurant that is some distance from a launch point you know about?
Overnight Voyage - Its nice to have a beach you can pull your duck onto, and any duck can be converted into a boat you can overnight in, just lay down inside and go to sleep.
Sailboat Games - There are lots and lots of really fun sailboat games
Parent & Youth Racing - The kid is in charge of the boat, and the parent is there to help with whatever is needed. See: Parent & Youth Racing
Buoy racing - Can be as simple as bring your own buoys, set them out and go race around them. Don't forget to bring your home made trophies
Mixed class regatta - Just like buoy racing, except invite people with other types of boats. Ducks have a US Sailing handicap rating of 140
State & Regional Championship - If you organize regular races, then consider hosting an annual state level race.
World Championship - Anyone can capture the rights to host the world championship, here are the parameters: world championship race
Contacting Other Puddle Duckers - Lets Go Sailing
We have an open membership list, and if a ducker has their email listed, that means it is OK to contact them directly about duck related stuff.
When your boat goes 3D, you need to email other local duckers to let them know you built a duck, and are interested in going sailing. The majority of duckers do not participate in discussion forums because puddle ducking is about actually going to sail and enjoy your friends in person - not sitting around on the internet talking about it. Anyone can bulk post twitter messages, it takes real effort to go sailing, and ducking is one of the things that is worth doing !!
The magic won't happen by itself, someone locally has to organize duckers so if nobody else is doing it, then you gotta stand up and take the initiative. Figure a time, place, ducking activity, and invite other local duckers. Afterwards, send in an article about what you did, then do it again. Being invited to go sailing & seeing an article about what everyone did last time is VERY motivating, so if you keep at it, soon your local fleet will grow and you will have tons of fun.
In life, what we get is largely proportional to the effort we invest. The harder you work at trying to motivate other local duckers to come join you, the more fun all of you will have together.
Contacting Other Puddle Duckers - Get Help Building Your Duck
Local Duckers - If you need advice and help building your boat beyond the freely available materials, then I'd suggest you contact other local duckers to ask them for advice, and possibly to get a look at their boat. It is amazing how much you can learn, just by seeing a puddle duck in person, even if only for a half hour or so. Also they will probably infect you with our can-do attitude, because puddle duckers are the most innovative boat builders on the planet. The advantage for them, is that when you complete your boat, you can go sailing together.
Article Contributors - The next people you will want to contact are duckers who have contributed articles. At the top of every article is a link to the ducker's contact info so you can email them direct. Since they are sharing what they know in an article, obviously they have real world experience and can elaborate further about what they have learned.
Boat Building Books - Books are expensive to have published, so usually they have good information inside of them. Here are the boat building books I think are worth mentioning.
Boat Building Forums - I do not participate in forums, and we do not have an official class forum. Duckers create & moderate their own forums. Some of them are listed as links on ducker's profile pages, so check your local duckers to see if any of them have one. There are also many general topic boat building forums.
Caution About Forums - Be weary of any advice you get from forums. There are people who frequently post only for attention and may not know what they are talking about, also knit pickers who often grump, have a negative attitude & try to cause problems in various ways. There are also people who use our forums to generate a profit for themselves by selling plans, which violates a core value of our club that we share plans & boat building information for free. selling pdracer boat plans is prohibited
However out there in forum land, there are many duckers who do try to help others build boats with our positive can-do attitude, and will help you by sharing what they have learned with their experiences. If you wonder if someone has experience, you can simply look them up on the member list, read their articles to see what experience they have.
Pay It Forward - After you learn to build your duck, remember how others helped you so when you have the chance, you can help someone else build their puddle duck, that way you pay it forward.
Promoting Your Puddle Duck Events
What kind of events should you promote?
There is no single prescribed way to play with puddle ducks, and there are many other fun ways that are not listed above. Whatever you think is fun, chances are others will think the same, so it is merely a matter of getting the word out it is time to get together and have fun !!
Where to advertise your event
Posting your event only at online forums does not produce very good results. You need to contact other duckers directly, and this is the reason we have an open membership list. If they are interested, then keep their email address and keep them updated on your events. A good interval for reminder emails, is send a note twice a month, when within the 2 month window of your event. That way they have enough time to build stuff and make arrangements to participate in your event.
Sit Outside Home Depot *** MOST PRODUCTIVE ***
The majority of puddle duckers have never built a boat before and many of them have never sailed before. The one most common feature is they like to build stuff and those types of people visit home improvement stores.
The most productive technique for bringing in new duckers is to park your PDRacer outside your local home improvement store (with the mast up) on Saturday morning, and hand out flyers. John Bridges 512 has done this with great success. It helps to have flyers with a few pictures of how easy the duck is to build, your contact info so they can join your local fleet, and PDRacer.com so they can visit the website to use the other resources and information here. Please get permission to do this, I am sure the store will let you because the new duckers will buy their materials from the store.
John was able to go one step further, he arranged to leave his boat setup inside the entrance of the store. He had it there for 2 weeks and it did a great job of advertising his fleet.
Contact Local Newspaper
Local newspapers are constantly on the lookout for human interest stories such as puddle ducking. They would be more than glad to come out and cover your story. I have been in my local newspaper about once a year and it is simple -- you contact the paper and describe what you are doing. They will have you contact one of their reporters. You tell the reporter when and where they can see your event in action, and they will show up to cover it. They take their own photos and then write up a nice piece to include the story. Make sure to include your contact info and PDRacer.com so that readers will be able to find you.
Flyers in local stores
Most small mom and pop stores will let you post a flyer in their windows for an upcoming event. Gordon Seiter did that very thing in his town. The first time he just had a text description with some computer graphics and he said those flyers didn't work very well. The next year, his flyers had a picture of a partially build boat, and a picture of a couple boats sailing with a description like: build your own boat, come sailing with us. He said that flyer worked much better.
There is a free classified website called Craigslist.org They have a boat for sale category, and that would be a great place to post an advertisement for your event, or to get others interested in building ducks.
Host Hatch events
The best thing to motivate people to build their boat, is to host a hatch event. This is where you get people together to build bare hulls quickly - such as everyone meets at your garage on a saturday. Invite other local duckers, they will come help build for the fun of it.
It doesn't have to be complicated, you can simply invite them to show up with materials and build what you can in the time you have scheduled. Or possibly you want to arrange a hatch where you have templates and other preparations to make building more efficient. Above all, understand that gathering to build boats together is just as fun as going to sail them.
No Protected Territories
We don't have any protected areas, so anyone can host an event, anywhere they want. Ofcourse you want to use common sense and try not to screw up someone else's event locally by hosting something on the same day.