April Tools 2009 began with sunshine and the builders' surprise at having to build a boat from a package containing: 10 pieces of 1"X2"X8' lumber, 2 pieces of 2"X2"X8' lumber, 25' of poly rope, 1/2 lb. of 1 1/4" screws, 1/2 lb. of 1 3/4" screws, a 10'X10' sheet of poly sheeting, a 4'X4' piece of 3/8" plywood, a large roll of duct tape, and...oh, yeah...a 10" diameter X 12' Sonotube! Comments of 'Is that all???' were common. But they put their minds to it and at the end of the 1 hour planning period all had a plan, and at the sound of the 11AM start horn the sound of whizzing handsaws again filled the air. Some very interesting designs emerged, from pontoon boats to long slender craft formed from slitting the Sonotube longitudinally and essentially turning it inside out! Pictures best describe them though, so check out the Photo Gallery!
Meanwhile the little kids were having a great time building and painting their miniboats under the able supervision of Katrina Woodard and Krystal Meilleir, and they floated them in the pool till the water became brown with the combined colours. The PH Community School also provided the services of facepainter Gwen Christiansen and and the storytelling talents of Bonnie Creak from the Sechelt Library to round out the day.
The food was great as the Rotary added French fries and pizza to their hamburger and hotdog menu, as well as generously supplied free hotdogs to the under 12 year old set. The Pender Harbour Living Heritage Society (PHLHS) added cookies and coffee and, of course, April Tools T-shirts. Larry Westlake demonstrated sailmaking techniques and both the Sunshine Coast Museum and Archives and the Egmont Heritage Centre provided displays. Free paddling of PHLHS heritage boats the PH Dragonboat let many people get out on the water on a gorgeous day!
By the time the adults had placed the last round of duct tape on their craft, the Youth Teams were putting their boats in the water for the Trophy Race. They had constructed them over the previous month in 4 after-school sessions in the high school shop with the help of members of the PHLHS, then added creative paint touches on their own. Now ready to race, they were off with the start horn. Unfortunately SS Tricky filled with water before getting around the course, but the team on SS Fatman beat out the remaining floaters to have the glory of having their names engraved on the 'Big Saw' trophy which will be housed in the PHSS trophy case for the next year. Then came the race they all were waiting for...the FUN race. With a pretty relaxed set of rules this race can be pretty wild! The SS Tricky team joined up with the Pufferfish to have a 4 girl powerhouse, but nobody actually paddled across the finish line since no one was actually inside a boat at the end! Swimming to a first place finish were the No Namers!
The first heat of adult racers allowed the Desperate Coast Wives to show their mettle and determination. They had a clear victory for the Broken Paddle Award given for perseverence in the face of adversity as they tenaciously paddled far after everyone else was ashore, crossing the finish line to thunderous crowd applause. Cheap Oars came in first in that heat with the Fireflies a close second. When the Madeira Park Firefighters' Hosers made a strong showing in first place in the second heat, the dynamics of the final contained some very interesting possibilities! Were the Fireflies going to be unseated after all? It all came into doubt before the final heat even began, when the Hosers dumped their boat twice before even getting to the starting line! But they got it together and the race was on! Cheap Oars sailed to a clear victory, leaving the two cross-Harbour firehall rivals to duke it out for second and third. When the Fireflies' boat went down in the last curve in Chain Alley, it became clear that the Hosers really were going to take second place! Dave Goble valiantly swam the Garden Bay boat to a third place finish and Team Excalibur came in with a very respectable fourth. Garden Bay did win the Spiffy Skiffy Award though for a great looking boat!
No telling what next year will bring!