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by Dave Lucas – Bradenton, Florida – USA

The Hut, Water Dog, Broken Boat

A lot of boating events are coming up in the next couple of months, I'll try to keep you up on some. The Florida Maritime Museum at Cortez had some good ones in April in years past but not so much lately. I've tried to get in touch with the head men in the TSCA chapter here to get details but have heard nothing, I'm putting my time into these next two that I know are great. Crystal River has their Boat Bash the third weekend in April. This will be a good one to go see their new big scow. The biggie is always Cedar Key the first weekend in May. I always make it to this one along with everyone else in the country.

I put an extension on to the Tike Hut for a swing and the first napper to come along was Barbara, she must have a special sense for these things, same thing happened with a new hammock.

A lot of you have dogs who like water but I bet not as much as Cessna. She spends hours just hanging out in the river waiting for a bird to land. If we're sitting on the dock she'll swim out and stand up on the bottom and tell us to throw something for her. Here she is in three feet of water waiting.

And if we ignore her she'll bark and splash us.

When she goes for a stick her speed is amazing, she hits hull speed and leaves a wake.

Doug figured how to get the sails up on his new Penobscot 17. This is a really impressive boat. The thing has a lot more stuff than his old 14. The lines from both sails have to somehow come back to where you sit and the centerboard rope thingy and the rudder line have to be at hand to get up fast when they hit the beach. And when a gust hits you have to know which sail to let go first or else you turn over. Poor ole Doug is not long for this world.

People keep coming around to the Hut because its addictive and they can't help it but it should be a crime to bring the young here and expose them to this life. Here we have Red and Rachael and for God's sake, they brought their grandkids. These two are both a whisker from becoming Doctors, real Doctors, and now after experiencing this place I wouldn't be surprised if they both chucked it all and took to the boat bum life. That's what happened to the grandparents.

It's too late for this bunch. Whitey Thayer was here with his kids but it's too late for them, they're already boat bums.

It's gets worse; some bring them out here in the middle of the freezing winter and they can play in the water and then are expected to go back to Chicago or some other winter hell hole and forget all about this. Boat bum life is looking better and better.

If you owned a ship yard and spent your days with big rusty, greasy old ships and barges what would you do? Why you'd become the mayor of Jacksonville Beach, Fl of course. And then you'd realize that you need to do something more important with your life so you'd naturally jump straight into building a wooden boat. That's what Fland did. If this is your first start from scratch boat it takes you about two seconds to realize that you don't know nothing about building a boat. And it gets worse the farther you go.

Lenna took this shot of some of the flowers growing on top of my dock. I walk under these every day and have never noticed how good they look.

This is Lenna coming over from home with Red's little boat in the background. Our river life is a good life.

I pulled Helen Marie out of the water after two months and she looked great. The only damage is where the paint was worn off the rudder from sand thrown up from the prop. We spend a lot of time dragging across the sand bars.

I think this is when a new boat looks it's best. Steve is making good progress on his little boat. I'm really impressed with this one. I like his attitude of boat building. If you want a boat build a boat, if you want a museum piece do that but it'll take years to finish.

This is Phil's Whaler with it's newly rebuilt engine. It seemed to idle and run great but it still needed a high speed shake down and for some reason I'm the one who usually gets that honor. The rest of the them are scared the things will blow up and hurt them and I'm too dumb to worry. Well, this one was doing great for the first five minutes or so then there was this big POP and scream and smoke came out the top. Steve came and towed me in and they pulled the cover to find a piston rod sticking out the side of the crank case. It's not my fault if the things fall apart, this is only the third one that's done this to me.

Whalen sent this to show why he loves Cedar Key. The cuties swarm to him like bees to flowers. Ivana came all the way across the ocean for this. I wish she could make it again this year.

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