Homemade Buoys? Hey, they work!

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Carl Van Houten

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Maintaining a track is not what some people think of when they get into this hobby but every time you go to the pond you should be running around buoys. It keeps some order on the pond and helps you when you go to a race. What I have learned is that you have to figure out how to make a buoy that will last. It can't be made of anything too tough or you will tear up your boat if you hit it. In the past I have tried 2 liter coke bottles sprayed orange from the inside, crab buoys cut in half, white foam buoys cut to shape and on and on.

The best buoys I have ever made that don't tear up boats and are easy to make and cheap are made from 3/4 " thick Blue Dow foam that you can get at Lowes. The reason this foam makes great buoys is because once done the buoy is actually a disc that is 2-1/4" high and 10" diameter. These make great club buoys but may not be legal for sanctioned tracks.

Being low profile most sponsons can't stick into these but rather will skip over. Stack three 3/4" thick disc together and bevel the top and bottom edges. The top bevel helps a sponson go over the buoy and the bottom bevel (the most important one) helps the buoy slide over when hit. We tried crab trap buoys in the past and they are too hard and when cut in half the radial sides actually dig into the water when hit and resist moving.

In the pictures notice that I pull off the plastic and stick a screw driver through the wire guide and then through the foam. Mark your circle then just hack them out with the hand saw. Stack three of them back on the crew driver. Stick a skewer through them all to prevent them from spinning. To prevent blowouts (picture #6) spin the skewer as you push the pointed end through the foam. Then cut them on the line. I put three spots of silicone on each side of the center disc and let them sit over night. I typically use 3 skewers equally spaced on mine.

Its easy. In an hour you are done and have plenty of buoys! Paint them the next day and you will find that they last much longer than anything else. If you are trying to keep a track up at your pond give this a try.

-Carl
 

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Carl Van Houten

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Balloons are used in Huntsville for the 90+mph stuff they are definitely needed to keep from tearing up the really fast custom made boats but for weekend club tuners the foam disc work best. If someone touches a balloon you have to send someone out to replace it and that would get old real quick.
 

Kris Flynn

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Mar 11, 2002
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they look nice Carl! Another cheap aternative is pool noodle. BUT you can stick the sponsons into the pool noodle quite easily :rolleyes:
 

MichaelDornbusch

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Sep 17, 2018
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Our club used tetherballs. Usually yellow we would paint them orange. Made slits in them and blew up orange balloons inside to make them float. Great attachment point that was sturdy. Boats would usually glance off without damage. If you hit one square the balloon would pop thus decreasing damage. Weighted with short pieces of rebar that were drilled to accept line.
 

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