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Third annual boat challenge is back

The Pender Harbour April Tools Wooden Boat Challenge is back for another year.

The Pender Harbour April Tools Wooden Boat Challenge is back for another year. Now is the time for boat designers and builders to put their thinking caps on, because this year, there's a new twist - or two!

As usual, teams of four people will have three hours to build a boat from a standard set of materials (plywood, nails, screws, caulking, etc.) using hand tools only, but this year the diabolical organizers are taking one sheet of plywood away, leaving only two!

Building will begin on April 24 at 11 a.m. and end at 2 p.m. with an hour's break before the run-off heats start at 3 p.m. And the other change? Watch for a slalom-style course.

Target Marine is kindly donating the cash prizes again: $1,000 for first prize, $750 for second and $250 for third. As well, there will be the Spiffy Skiffy prize (people's choice award) for the best looking boat and the Broken Paddle award for the team or individual showing the greatest perseverance in the face of adversity.

The event takes place at Seafarer Millennium Park (formerly the government dock) in Madeira Park.

Last year, organizers introduced a special competition for high school teams. They receive their materials in advance (kindly donated by Curtis Lumber) and, with the support of their shop teachers, the students build their boats as a school project. From 2 to 3 p.m. this year, in the break between building and racing for the adult teams, watch for the high school races. A squirt gun race and Spirit award will round out events for the high school teams. There will be lots of activities for spectators, too, including breakfast at the community hall, a dockside barbecue put on by the Pender Harbour Rotary Club, boat-building and other activities for the kids and displays and sales by local artisans.

Pender Harbour Power and Sail Squadron will hold a marine equipment swap meet (including donations and equipment on consignment) starting at 10 a.m., also at Seafarer Millennium Park. Proceeds will go to support the Maritime Heritage Centre and the Power Squadron. Call Jack Dennis at 604-883-2572 for more details.

Entry fee is $160 per team; deadline for entries is April 14. For entry forms or more information, call Richard or Jackie at 604-883-0539. April Tools is a project of the Pender Harbour Living Heritage Society.