On Saturday, April 26, residents of Pender Harbour and visitors will gather again at the government dock and Millennium Park for the 13th annual April Tools Wooden Boat Challenge.
The teams of boat builders arrive early, look over the building materials they've been given and wait anxiously for the announcement at 10 a.m., which will tell them what crazy "twist" the organizers have come up with this time. Then they set up their saw horses, grab their hand tools and get to work on the vessel that will transport them around the Harbour race course and (hopefully) into the winner's circle.
In addition to the cash prizes, there is an award for the best looking boat. Spectators get to vote for this one -called the Spiffy Skiffy award. And then there's the Broken Paddle trophy, awarded by the race marshals to the team that perseveres in the face of adversity, which usually means they spent considerable time in the water!
April Tools is a real family affair. Youth teams build their boats before the big day and bring them (often crazily decorated) to the dock for their races, which take place in the early afternoon before the adult teams take to the water. They have a serious trophy race, and also a fun race, which often involves getting wet.
Thanks to local businesses, there are lots of prizes for the brave teens. Add to that food and mini-boat building and lots of other crafts and activities for the kids, and you have a recipe for a fantastic day. Even a little rain cannot dampen the high spirits.
The Pender Harbour Living Heritage Society presents this event with the support of local businesses, community organizations and generous sponsors.
To sign up your team of up to four builders, call Richard or Jackie at 604-883-0539 or go to www.apriltools.ca. Entry fee is $160 per team.
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