April Tools 2008: A New Spin
Recap & Gallery
Who would have guessed this year's 'twist'?
- April 28, 2008, Pender Harbour
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!