Torrential would be an appropriate description of the rain that opened April Tools 2013, but that did not stop the 12 hearty teams of builders from plunging into planning mode at 10 AM when they got the news of their latest challenge. No plastic this year, but yes there will be screws, 2 sheets of plywood, plenty of 1X2s, and caulking to help staunch the leaks. However, the boat must be a multi-hull (at least 2), all the hulls must be the same size, and they must be mounted at least 1 foot apart. And, of course, this must be accomplished in only 3 hours using hand tools and battery-powered screw guns…and a shelter might help!
Three hours of frantic labour later, 12 amazingly varied craft were sitting in the warm sun being admired by a large crowd that seemed to materialize out of nowhere as the clouds parted.
At that point, the builders took a break while the youth teams got their fantastically-painted boats into the water. After a tight finish, the grade 12 team "Undecided" took the trophy. The Fun Race again had Undecided in 1st place, although a lot of spraying water, overturned boats and a heroic swimming finish by Ship Happens added to the action.
The adult races that followed saw an unprecedented number of sinkers---and multi-hull boats LOOK so stable! As it turned out, any boat that actually made it around the course ended up in the final, since 3 boats in each preliminary heat didn’t manage to do that! In the end, the Fireflies reclaimed their number 1 title with Cheap Oars in the most unique boat of the race in the number 2 slot, and last year’s winners Bud 2 in third. The graceful but very small freeboard boat by Clearwater Secondary took the Spiffy Skiffy Award, and the Caterpillars’ swimming finish overwhelmingly won the judges’ choice for the Broken Paddle Award.
The little kids also seemed to be in the multi-hull mood, and the swimming pool where they float their boats was so jammed that there must have been at least a 1 sailing wait to get in. Getting their faces painted, painting pots and doing potato prints seemed to keep them distracted, however (take note BC Ferries…).
So in spite of the rainy start, April Tools 2013 turned out pretty fun. Take a look atthe pictures as they go up to get a true feeling of the day and check out the results sheets below for all the race details. And please patronize our fabulous sponsors! Rona, Sunshine Coast Credit Union, PH Rotary, Pender Harbour Diesel, Twentyman’s Tea and Coffee, the Grasshopper Pub, Prudential Sussex Realty, Bobbi and Bernie Bennett, Marketplace IGA, Marina Pharmacy, Oak Tree Market, and Sunshine Coast Resort. Without them and a whole raft of volunteers, it wouldn’t have happened.
That was the main 'twist' that the builders in the 2012 April Tools Wooden Boat Challenge had to face! Their materials list included 1/2 sheet of plywood, a bundle of 8 ft. 1" X 2"s, a 6' X 20' sheet of plastic, the obligatory roll of duct tape, 250' of mason/chalk line, but NO screws! And as if that wasn't enough to deal with, they were asked to pick up a 24" diameter beach ball emblazoned with the Maple Leaf shortly after the race start, and carry it INFLATED all the way around the race course! Some sank, some dropped the ball, some never made it off the launch ramp, but everyone had a great time. The winners included the Garden Bay Fireflies in third; the Great Hope, a new team from the ACEIT program in Sechelt, in second; and long time contestants from Delta, Bud 1, in first. The Sinkers took the Spiffy Skiffy Award, and the Squamton Four received the Broken Paddle Award for their heroic swimming finish in heat 2.
The racing was not all about the adults though! The Youth Trophy Race was taken by Team Awesome for the fourth year in a row! The Hydrophobes placed first in the Fun Race (can you actually win the Fun Race?) since they crossed the finish line, though not necessarily by actually paddling. Sawyer Cote of the Spongy Llamas was rewarded for his amazing perseverance and unusual paddling style, and DT Double J took the prize for best swimmer. Team Awesome had the best attack, and 3 1/2 Men ended up the wettest team.
The little kids had a bumper crop of activities to keep them busy this year and were still hammering nails and painting away long after the last mini-boat hulls were gone. They got their faces painted, made pirate flags. painted pots and made dream catchers. They even got free hot dogs from the Rotary!
The day was completed with dragonboat rides from the Dragontinis, the chance to row a classic boat for free, and full stomachs thanks to the Rotary BBQ and the PHLHS baked goods tent. Bobbi Bennett did an amazing job with the 50/50 and the Harbour Air tickets auctioned for a good price.
It was a really fun event this year! A little damp weather can't keep a good town down...not on April Tools day anyway!
Thanks again to our wonderful sponsors: Sunshine Coast Credit Union, Rona, Rotary Club of Pender Harbour, Twentyman Tea and Coffee, Grasshopper Pub, Pender Harbour Diesel, Bobbi and Bernie Bennett, Prudential Sussex Realty, and Harbour Air Seaplanes. Thanks also to our other supporters: Marketplace IGA, Oak Tree Market, Marina Pharmacy, SunshineCoastHomes.com, and Sunshine Coast Resort. April Tools couldn't happen without their help!
For complete race results, see below. And, of course , nothing tells the tale like the pictures so visit the photo gallery--there are LOTS of pictures!
And the winners are...
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Needless to say, the Pender Harbour Living Heritage Society isn't going to give that away just yet! No doubt there will be some interesting twist to test the boatbuilding talents of the this year's participants but, as usual, it will not be divulged until the day of the event---which is April 28 this year. One thing you can be sure of is that it will be fun and maybe even a little devilish!
The day will begin at 10AM with the reveal of the 'twist' and the first view of the building materials. Building from the materials provided (only hand tools and cordless screw guns allowed!) will begin at 11AM and continue till 2PM. Then the high schoolers will have their trophy race and free-for-all while the tired builders take a much need break. Adult races will follow and who knows how it will all turn out! Will they sink or swim? Will they even get all the way around the course? Can anyone beat the Garden Bay Firefighters?? Upsets (of all kinds...) can happen!
Meanwhile there will be burgers and baked goods to keep everyone energised and lots of fun activities for the little kids. After all, what would April Tools be without free mini-boatbuilding! Handmade boats will be available to row or paddle around the Harbour for free. In other words, you're in store for another great April Tools---if we're lucky we may even have a beautiful sunny day like last year!
Be part of the action! Sign up your team of up to 4 builders by printing the entry form below and mailing it with your $160 entry fee to the address on the form. If you get it in by April 1st, it's even cheaper at $140!
We're really looking forward to April Tools 11---come out to Millennium Park in Madeira Park on April 28, 2012 and join us! Don't forget to check out the Photo Gallery to relive the excitement of years past.
It couldn't have been a more beautiful day for the 10th annual April Tools Wooden Boat Challenge, a welcome change from our blustery on-and-off spring! But the action on the race course was anything but smooth and balmy! The very limited list of building materials--only 1 1/8 sheets of plywood, a few 1X2s, a 2X2, some screws, a rope, a roll of duct tape and a lot of caulk--forced builders to the edge of what will float. Actually some didn't, at least not for long! Adding to the complexity this year was that it was a relay, with one paddler getting off on a float near the finish, and the second paddler completing the course. This all occurred within easy viewing of the large crowd, much to their delight!
But it's hard to keep a good team down and Garden Bay's Fireflies again emerged victorious in their sleek and longer-than-you-would-think-possible-with-only-1-sheet-of-plywood craft. Coming in second and third, respectively, were Ladner's SS Wim and Team Natalus, both long time participants who put in their best finishes ever. But finishing first isn't everything as Team Jaschinski proved by doggedly paddling their surfboard to take this year's Broken Paddle Award. Good looks count too, with Madeira Park's Raid picking up the Spiffy Skiffy Award.
As for the teenagers, Team Awesome took the Trophy Race again this year, with the girls' teams The Cap'm Longjohn and Rainbow Ninja Pirates coming in second and third. The Fun Race was it's own wet thing, of course, with Blood, Sweat and Tears taking first place. Sawyer Cote showed that the grade 8 boys had amazing perseverence by swimming his boat over nearly half the course before getting some help to get it across the line. There were prizes all around, but no one escaped dry.
As for the little kids, tons of miniboats boats were made, painted and floated, faces were painted and crafts were crafted! At times the kids activities tent was a veritable hive of youthful construction!
The Rotary and the PHLHS kept everyone fed, and the Museum displays brought both entertainment and education to the event. Even the classic boats got their chance to be paddled arround the Harbour under a clear blue sky.
It was a great day! Thanks again to our wonderful sponsors: the Sunshine Coast Credit Union, Rona, Twentyman's Tea and Coffee, the Grasshopper Pub, and Bobbi and Bernie Bennett. Special thanks to Marketplace IGA, Oak Tree Market, Marina Pharmacy,and Coast Video for the teen prizes, and to Sunshine Coast Resort for additional funding.
It's hard to imagine that the 10th Annual April Tools Wooden Boat Challenge is approaching on April 30, 2011. Ten years of the creative use of unexpected materials, quick'n'dirty boat construction, and headlong (sometimes literally...) races in beautiful Pender Harbour! Time flies when you're having fun!
Members of the Pender Harbour Living Heritage Society are currently working hard to come up with an unexpected 'twist' to make the 2011 boatbuilders really stretch their imaginations-or maybe 2 twists! Contestants will see their building materials for the first time on April 30 at 10 AM and will have 1 hour to design a craft that will meet all the race criteria. Then, using only hand tools and battery powered screw guns, they will have 3 hours to build a boat sound enough to make it around a course at Pender Harbour's Government Wharf. Piece of cake! One eligibility heat, one final heat, and on to cash prizes, trophies and best of all...bragging rights!
Not to be outdone, the teenagers will have a 'trophy race' followed by their famous, no-holds-barred 'fun race.' Always a crowd-pleaser, this race often has more to do with swimming than paddling ability- but who knows? Treat bags from the local businesses make it all worthwhile.
The little kids will have the chance to build, paint and float a mini-boat as well as enjoy other fun building and crafts projects. All are free--no boredom here!
Rounding it out will be a Rotary BBQ, lots of baked goods, the chance to row or paddle a boat in the Harbour and more. What's not to like?
Keep the date open--Saturday April 30 from 10 AM to 4PM-and enjoy spring in Pender Harbour! You'll see why we're still at after 10 years! Better yet, enter a team and see if you can meet the Wooden Boat Challenge. Teams of up to 4 enter for $160, or send in your entry before April 1 and it'll only cost you $140. This covers all boatbuilding materials and scores you a 10th Anniversary T-shirt. All you need to do is bring your hand tools, your best ideas and your sense of fun. Printable entry form below.
When the rain fell throughout the night and April 24 dawned an overcast grey, the organisers of April Tools 2010 were concerned that the enthusiasm for April Tools 2010 might be ...well...dampened.
What were we thinking! This is Pender Harbour and this is April Tools!!! Tents sprouted in the parking lot of Millennium Park and 12 teams of builders turned their thoughts to the first task of the day--deciding how they were going to deal with this year's twist. Paddles were to be no bigger than 8" X 22" including the shaft!
As usual, designs varied wildly but at the 11AM start time, saws began to flail as the building began. Three hours later everyone had a craft ready to be tested in the waters of the Harbour, and most would even go on to finish the course! But first, the high school teams would have their chance to hit the water...literally. After a hard-paddled and orderly race for the 'Big Saw" high school trophy was taken by the team of LL Cool Jay, the Fun Race began. Although it started in a most conventional way, it's seems that LL Cool Jay lost it's way and started going around the course in reverse. Shortly thereafter no boat remained occupied and eventually even the amazingly misnamed Don't Sink sank!
Meanwhile, throughout all the mayhem of adult building and teenage dunking, the kids hammered away happily on their miniboats. In the end multihulls, boats with sails, and boats with mortars vied with vessels of many colours for space in the swimming pool. Their face-painted sailors, filled with free hot dogs from the PH Rotary, wore pirate hats and hats with flowers, and they took home lanyards and mermaids and other boat passengers.
But then came the Main Attraction, and even the sky gave up a little sunshine. Those short little paddles made the work of getting around the course a lot tougher and much sweat...and the odd tear...were shed! The top 3 teams from each of the preliminary heats (see below for complete results) proceded to the final with only 1 boat failing to make the complete circuit--though some took a little longer than others... In the end, those lions of April Tools, Garden Bay's Fireflies, prevailed. A close battle for the next places saw the Fabricating Four slip past team Running Bear, who placed third.
But all kinds of efforts are rewarded at April Tools, and the Fireflies pleased the crowd enough to take the Spiffy Skiffy Award, and the valiant and wet efforts of Madeira Park's April Fools won the judges' choice for the Broken Paddle Award. Even the 50/50 winner benefitted mightily from Bobbi Bennett's spectacular salesmanship as he took home a fat $638!
But nothing gives an idea of what April Tools 2010 was really like better than the pictures! Surf through the Photo Gallery as we get them up for everyone to enjoy!
As usual, builders will have 1 hour to consider their materials and the 'twist' they must incorporate before taking to their saws, electric screw guns and duct tape to construct a craft that will propel them first across the finish line and into the Pender Harbour record books! High school races will entertain the crowd between adult building and racing, and expanded kids' activities will keep the little ones occupied. The Rotary BBQ and PHLHS baked good tables will provide the energy for the day and the chance to paddle a skiff or a Dragonboat in the Harbour will provide fun diversions.
See the April Tools
page for more details.
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!
Who would have guessed this year's 'twist'?
There were a few sunburned faces on the Sunshine Coast last Saturday as Pender Harbour celebrated its wild and wacky salute to spring, the 2008 April Tools Wooden Boat Challenge, in the gorgeous sunshine. There were also some confused faces as the 8 teams of boat builders found out that their materials did not contain the expected polyethylene sheeting this year, and that their staple guns were only good for fixing their team numbers to their boats!
The big surprise came when April Tools organizer Richard Haschke presented each team with its very own rebar and plywood paddle wheel! These had been constructed by the organizers in advance and were to be the teams' only method of propulsion this year. No paddles or oars allowed.
The teams learned about this new twist at 10:00 AM Saturday morning and needed every bit of the next hour to figure out how to fit these paddlewheels into their boat designs ---- and how to steer those boats! But, as always, the teams rose to the challenge and precisely at 11:00, the hand saws ripped into action. By the time the “down tools” order sounded at 2:00 PM, some incredible designs had emerged!
Meanwhile, the kids had a chance to make and float their own little boats, as well as make tasty Fruit Loop necklaces and try a coloured salt-melting ice experiment with the helping hand of Jim Calder from the Success by Six program. The adventuresome paddled and rowed boats in Pender Harbour. A real highlight was the arrival of the Pender Harbour Paddling Society's Dragon Boat and lots of people got a chance to join the crew for a paddle around the harbour. Larry Westlake demonstrated classic boat restoration, and boat exhibitors showed their wares. Everyone gobbled up the Rotary Club's BBQ'ed hamburgers and sausages, and not one Pender Harbour Living Heritage Society cookie, tart or cupcake remained when the races started.
The high school team of Kelly Roach and Karl Peterson paddled their creation, “Norse Warrior,” to victory in the High School Trophy Race, as well as took the Spirit Award. The team of “It'll Do” (William Reid, Brandon Ewen, Nick Silvey, James Brown, and Colton Edwardson) won the Fun Race, and the rest of the youth teams won prizes for everything from the Wettest Boat to the Invisible Boat.
In the adult races, which got underway at 3:00 PM, the issue of steering became prominent early as one team swamped and another appeared more interested in parallel parking in the adjacent boat sheds than making it around the course! In the second heat, four boats managed to finish, though some were a bit more wobbly and some a bit later than the rest.
In the runoff race, the Garden Bay Volunteer Firefighters, the “Fireflies” (Bruno Cote, David Goble, Kerry Rand, and Dustin Ouellette) established an early lead and pumped strongly into first place and the $700 top prize - again! The close match between second and third place was finally settled by another Pender Harbour team Motley Crue (Doug Johnson, Chris McLeod, Cole Young, Stefan Benzinger) taking the $400 second prize and Delta's “OX” 8 ( Reese Motzek, Tony Fitzenmaier, Jeff Engholm , Grant Frew) claiming the $250 third place. BCIT's Cheap Oars cleaned up the remaining trophies, taking both the Broken Paddle Award for perseverance in the face of adversity and the Spiffy Skiffy Award, a people's choice prize for the best looking boat.
See for yourself what a great day it was by taking a look at the Pender Harbour Living Heritage Society website at http://www.apriltools.ca
and browse the photo gallery, or visit Duane Burnett's website at http://www.duaneburnett.com.
The Pender Harbour Living Heritage Society wishes to once again thank all the sponsors, donors, and volunteers who made the day such a great success. See you next year!
Pile up in chain alley
April Tools 2007: A Slight Twist
Those diabolical organizers of Pender Harbour's April Tools Wooden Boat challenge introduced a twist this year that had everyone scrambling. At 10:00 AM on boat-building day (April 28th), the assembled teams of boat-builders learned that this year they had to “row,” not paddle, their boats and that they had to make the oars out of the building materials provided.
The result was hilarious. In the final heat, three boats got hopelessly tangled up in the infamous “chain alley” a narrow opening where the boats have to pass under a ramp leading down to the floats. There just wasn't enough room for 3 sets of long, sweeping oars to fit through - a great photo opportunity for the happy, camera-wielding spectators.
It didn't change the results though. For the fifth year in a row, the team from the Garden Bay volunteer fire department (Bruno Cote, Dave Goble, Kerry Rand, and Dustin Ouellette, collectively known as the “Fireflies”) emerged victorious. A team from Delta named “Cabin Fever” (AKA “SSWim”), consisting of Peter Motzek, Doug Duncan, Scott Alexander, and Alex Kurenov came in second. Kohlby Janyk, Mike Bathgate, Darcy Perry, and John Schroeder from the Madeira Park volunteer firefighters (their team aptly named “Flyswatters” because of their declared intent to unseat the Garden Bay team) came in third. All teams vowed to come back next year and take another “swat” at the Fireflies.”
Meanwhile, in the youth races, the “Unsinkable Eggs” (Jesse Roose, Hannah Stark, Eric Hamilton, and Devin Manning) claimed the trophy for first place in the “serious race”. However, the other two teams, the “Terror Tippers” (Corbett Edwardson, Cody Edwardson, and Luke Roose) and the “Timber Tiger” (Luke Hansen, Chase Campbell, and Jeremy Hargrove) got their revenge in the “fun race” by showing that the “Unsinkable Eggs” were, after all, not unsinkable!
The crowd seemed to enjoy all the other activities, too. Kids had to be pried away from the mini-boat-building area at the end of the day. Several people took advantage of the opportunity to get out and paddle or row one of the traditional boats available for that purpose, to admire the steam-bending demo, and of course to gobble up the BBQ'ed fare on offer at the Pender Harbour Rotary tent.
The Pender Harbour Living Heritage Society wishes to thank all the sponsors, donors, and volunteers who made the day such a great success. See you next year!