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by Dave Lucas – Bradenton, Florida – USA

Around the Shop

Our friend Aussie John is starting another project. The last time he made a cool little sailboat; this time he's going for a motor boat and who can blame him, motors always run but the wind does what it wants. He says this is a twenty footer, we'll keep up with the build. I love it how boat building equalizes all men. It doesn't matter if you're a world famous anything else, when it comes to building a boat you don't know stuff and it don't take long to realize it.

Aussie John's 20 ft motor launch

The dogs love to dig a big hole and sleep in it. Here's Cessna stretched out in a hole she dug with Asia above.

Capt John sent this one, a great picture of ice and snow. Now I want to see these kind from the rest of you snow guys.

Mark from Calif sent this one of his killer dog right after a successful rabbit hunt. Good to have a dog you can depend on to supply food.

Mereck is building a Wee Lassie out in Sandy's shed. I love it when new guys hit the part where the twist comes in and the strips start to pop.

Some shots of Sandy's shop, he's a lot more organized than the rest of us, he can actually find things.

Crazy Steve says he'll have this catboat done in time for Cedar Key in May, we'll see.

Last time he brought his sailing Wee Lassie, here with a new varnish job; we'll see if he gets the catboat finished.

Speaking of Cedar Key, this is the first reminder. It's the first weekend in May so plan on being there.

Cedar Key

This is a reminder I sent a couple years ago but it's still good. Cedar Key is pet friendly so you can bring your dog and even take him out to the island to play in the sand and water. There are sand spurs off the beach in the grass so beware. Rooms are filling up fast so do it now or you can sleep in your car with Stan. Dave

Here's the site to get info about Cedar Key.

The small boat gathering at Cedar Key every year on the first weekend in May can be confusing to first timers. Since there's nothing planned and no one in charge it may not make sense. Here's a brief look at what to expect. Cedar Key is small, you can pretty much walk anywhere in town. When you come in to town on the one and only road take a brief tour to get the lay of the land. On the left you'll see the market to get food, snacks and stuff. They also have a deli that makes great subs, you can put your order in on Friday. Make sure you stop there before Saturday and get some for lunch on the island. A couple blocks on down the road ends at 1st St. Hang a left there and a right on the next road to go across the bridge. Island Place is on the right and you'll see a lot of boats pulled up on the beach there. A lot of canoes and kayaks will be on the grass all around the place. Keep going across the bridge and down the street with all the restaurants and bars. You'll be tempted to come back to one later for dinner and drinks, we've all done it. Expect long waits, high prices and bad food. Do not go to one of these places for breakfast on Saturday morning unless you want to sit around and get out on the water at noon. There'll be a hundred little boats all over the water between you and the island and you'll be sitting there waiting for your check. Keep going on the road past the public launch ramp. This is a big, nice ramp and if you have a larger boat you'll need to use it. Most small boats can be launched off the beach. When you get past the ramp go left on 1st and keep going down to the end and around the corner. You'll see the Faraway Inn's covered drinking area and the beach across the street. I usually launch off this beach and stay at the Faraway, be advised they are nasty about cars driving on the sand and grass. You'll see lots of boats anchored off this beach or pulled up on the grass. Be very, very careful when walking in the water anywhere. There are big rocks and sticks and rusty boilers and who knows what all over the bottom, they are exposed at low tide but can get you when covered with water. We always wonder why someone doesn't clean these beaches up. Do the sting ray scuffle to avoid the rocks. One year I found my little boat Laylah sitting right on top of a big rock after the tide had gone out. If I'm going to anchor out I take a big anchor with a buoy and find a good spot and leave the anchor in. The Cedar Key B&B is behind the Faraway Inn, great breakfast. If you call the day ahead they may make breakfast for non stayers. The Faraway is the place to be if you're a laid back rum drinking sailor man but they book up early for this weekend. Saturday is boating all day out on the big pencil factory island (it has a strange ass name) and the other smaller islands. It will be hot and sunny, you'll see covered shades, folding chairs the wise people brought. You'll walk up and down the beach looking at the boats, dozens of boats. Wives will be there being ignored by their men. If you have to pee go in the water, it's cool and clear. That should do it, have fun and I'll see you there. The weather is always perfect, 80's and clear. There's a channel through the island, if you can find it. I've sailed through with Laylah. The kayakers love to go through, bring bug juice.

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