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Wooden boat challenge celebrates 10 years

The 10th anniversary of Pender Harbour's one and only wooden boat challenge is only a few weeks away.

The 10th anniversary of Pender Harbour's one and only wooden boat challenge is only a few weeks away.

April 30 will see Pender full of the sights and sounds and the controlled chaos of "quick-n-dirty" boatbuilding played to the tune of rhythmically humming handsaws, makes this festival one of the most anticipated of the spring.

The main event has teams of up to four builders presented with a pile of novel boat building materials, one hour to figure out how to make something that will float from them, three hours to convert those plans into reality with only hand tools and battery-powered screw guns, followed by a sometimes wet race around Madeira Park's Government Wharf. This questionable behaviour becomes more reasonable when the $750 first prize comes into the picture - not to mention the significant value of the bragging rights.

Presented by the Pender Harbour Living Heritage Society with the support of local businesses and community organizations, April Tools has something for all ages. Teens have the chance to build boats in the weeks prior to the event with the help of Society members, and their races have their own unique flavour. The trophy race has the straight-up serious quality of competition, but the 'fun' race often has more to do with swimming than actual paddling. The little kids get into the action at the mini-boatbuilding booth, and with the addition of activities sponsored by the Community School there is something for them to do all day. Best of all, the kids activities are free.

A Rotary barbecue (including free hot dogs for kids), baked goods, displays and demos, and an opportunity to paddle a wooden boat in the Harbour round out a great way to get outside in the first glints of spring sunlight.

April Tools runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Millennium Park in Madeira Park. Entry fee is $160/team (early bird price of $140 if registered by April 1). Call Richard or Jackie at 604-883-0539 for information or an entry form, or go to the photo gallery at to see what April Tools really looks like. You can even find us on Facebook!