Nov 7, 2019

Ports Crafty IllustrationDon’t miss the boat with these Cruising Tips from PORTS.

The new edition of PORTS Cruising Guides: Georgian Bay, Lake Huron & the North Channel from the publishers of Canadian Yachting will be available in January!!  Look for upcoming details on how to order your copy early!

Tip: Hold a boat-building race and a race with built boats

Here’s a great challenge for two or more kids on board that can work for a day, a weekend or a week-long cruise. If you’re not going boating, you can even organize it as an on-land contest among kids at the yacht club. If you have a lot of kids, you could have teams.

Part One is to make a toy boat. Part Two is to race it and win. Consider it a sort of pint-size, water-borne, reality-show version of Junkyard Wars.

The time frame is whatever you set, of course. If you’re cruising for a week, maybe you allow several days for the budding marine engineers to gather the materials and concoct a craft, holding the big race near the end of the cruise. (Don’t forget to offer up ice cream at an appropriately ostentatious gala awards ceremony.)

The challenge is to make a toy boat using only found or recyclable materials. That means twigs (masts: a raft?); pieces of paper, rags and scraps of cloth (sails?); scraps of wire or elastic bands (to hold things together, or to turn home-made propellers or paddle-wheels?); and scraps of wood (non-high-tech hull material?) are all legal. So are plastic water or soda bottles (high-tech hull materials: a pair makes a great catamaran hull); aluminum pop cans (they're easily cut with scissors); wine bottle corks (extra flotation?); even an old bolt (ballast?).

Ports LogoPlan in advance, bring along basic tools, some waterproof, a fistful of popsicle sticks and balloons as a starter kit; add some waterproof colour markers for racing numbers.

Uh, if your cruising in a 24-footer, you might want to set a size limit too. Kids can be pretty enterprising.

 

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