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Pioneer Works presents the 2nd annual Red Hook Regatta, in which hundreds of spectators will gather on Valentino Pier to watch as homemade boats navigate the rough seas of New York City's shipping harbor.


Valentino Pier
Near the corner of Coffey Street and Ferris Street
Red Hook, Brooklyn

The Races

Boat Race

The main event features 3D-printed, radio-controlled boats designed and built by members of the Red Hook Initiative’s Digital Stewards. Teams will compete to transport “cargo” (foam containers with metal plates) from “Stevedores” on the beach to designated “crane operators”, who will be receiving the cargo on the pier using fishing rods equipped with red magnetic hooks. Each cargo container picked up by a crane constitutes one point for that boat’s team, and the boat with the most points is the winner. This race is mayhem — the tides, the wind, the wakes from real container ships, and the technical challenge of the task make the race a must-see event.

3D-Printed boat from the 2015 Regatta.

General DIY
Boat Race

In the second annual Regatta, we introduce an entirely new category of competition: the General DIY Boat Race. This race allows teams to employ laser cutting in their boat fabrication process, opening up a whole new range of fabrication possibilities. We expect to see innovations like laser-cut hulls or laser-cut ribbing with vacuum-formed hulls. For inquiries about materials and fabrication for the General DIY Boat Race, please email us at

Family Activities

In the hours before the race, we will be hosting fun activities for all ages at Valentino Pier, including carnival games and music on the main stage. Kids can participate by building, decorating, and racing their own paper boats in our Children’s Wind-Powered Boat Race.

The Rules


The deadline to register your boat and pick up an electronics kit is September 9, 2016.

Material Rules

For the 3D-Printed Boat Race, all boats must have a 3D-printed hull and must be majority 3D-printed. Parts that are not 3D-printed may be used when necessary (for example: water seals, mechanical parts).

For the General DIY Boat Race, all boats must be homemade but there is no restriction on materials used. This race allows boats using laser-cut components, 3D-printed components, plastic, foam, wood, and more.

Size Limit

Boats in all races must fit within a 2’x2’x2’ box


Electronics kits will be provided by Pioneer Works and include:

  • 4 Channel Receiver/transmitter pair
  • Motor and propeller
  • 7.4V 5000mAh Battery
  • Speed Controller
  • Steering Servo
  • Deck plate for access to electronics

Teams may replace or upgrade any elements of this kit if they wish.

How to Enter

Participation is free and open to anyone who wants to build a boat and race.

To enter your boat into the 2016 Red Hook Regatta, please sign up here.

Download support materials for your team.


The Red Hook Regatta was conceived as an initiative within our Civic Journalism program and subsequently evolved into a major neighborhood event, drawing a diverse group of local participants racing 3D-printed and laser-cut boats along the Red Hook waterfront. The Regatta purposefully connects Red Hook’s rich history as a shipping port to new technologies like 3D modeling/printing, electronic circuitry, and digital game design. At its core, the Regatta embodies a form of storytelling and media production that connects a community to its history, environment, and culture as well as the current-day issues that it faces.

Jesus Benitez and Laurenzo Reed (of the Red Hook Initiative's Digital Stewards Program) collaborated with the Pioneer Works education department to create the Red Hook Regatta in June 2015.

Video Games


Yes. We will host fun activities for all ages throughout the day at Valentino Pier, including carnival games and music on the mainstage. Kids can participate by building, decorating, and racing their own paper boats in our Children’s Wind-Powered Boat Race.

You can pick up an electronics kit in the Tech Lab (3rd floor) at Pioneer Works, which is located at 159 Pioneer Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231. Please email us to schedule a time to pick up your kit.

By Train: take the F or G train to Smith & 9th St. Pioneer Works is a 15 minute walk from here.

By Bus: take the B61 bus to Van Brunt St./Verona St. (or the B57 to Lorraine St./Otsego St.)

Pioneer Works
159 Pioneer Street
Red Hook, Brooklyn, NY