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by Dave Lucas – Bradenton, Florida – USA

SSS Boat Fest, Odd Boat, Salt Lake

The Small Craft meet was held at the Sarasota Sailing Squadron last April and Saturday 19 was blown away by strong winds, gusts to 28 were recorded. The only boats going out that day were the six year old kids in the little Opti's and there were a bunch of them out. These little boats seem to be able to go out in any conditions, great training for future sailing. I only took a couple of pictures but there are a lot more on these two sites, click on them here and here.

This one is a Skipjack with a telephone pole mast. Standing there looking at it is scary, don't know why it doesn't turn over.

I was pleasantly surprised to see this one, it's the big, blown up melonseed that Howard built here at the shop a long time ago all prettied up and shiny. It's new owner will have a ball being the best looking boat on the water.

Doug was out Sunday after the wind had gone down some and with Simon's help ripped it up in his restored Penobscot 17. If you like to camp they say that the guys at Crystal River will show you a good time. "Sailor boy show you good time", where have I heard that before, probably Whalen.

Crazy Steve's finished his 14 ft catboat and needed to try it out. It's not a melonseed hull but has the same stock Beetle Cat sail as ours. We took his boat and my Laylah out on the Manatee river on a perfect sailing day to see how they compare. This all white finish looks really good after all. He made most of his hardware from ropes saturated in epoxy and shaped to fit his requirement. He even let me try it out for a little while. A dry comfortable boat.

This hull is a foot and a half shorter, a foot wider and a lot higher than Laylah and really handles the waves. I was getting wet from the spray and wakes and he got none. We were just about the same speed overall, I may have been a tiny bit faster due to the longer hull. With a stronger wind and bigger waves to surf he can probably take me. Both of our sails are brand new and still need to have some of the creased pulled out. What's missing from these pictures? He doesn't have a drink in his hand, that's cause the dumb sod refuses to put cup holders in his deck which gives this boat an overall grade of F. If you ain't got cup holder you ain't got nothin.

When I saw the one with me standing up I first thought that I was standing in shallow water next to the boat then realized that I'm in the boat in deep water. I was holding up an empty beer can asking if he had any more. You know, these really are little boats but they're safe on the water.

We pulled up one the beach at DeSoto point to make some adjustments to the rigging.

Here's what it looks like when four Great Danes take over your boat. Cessna likes to go by this bunch and talk to them, good thing they don't like to get in the water or we'd have a boat full of wet dog.

The Everglades Challenge boat's bottom was finished; the black is a very thick epoxy/graphite coating that's sanded down to expose the graphite, suppose to be tough and slick.

My neighbor Ernie was lost in the woods and came across these two floats that Trimaran Frank left here. So naturally he had to see if he could make a fast trolling motor powered boat. Must be something in the air here that makes normally rational guys go boat crazy. We have "real" boats all over the place and never use them, what fun is that. Dr E says that if I tried to get on it with my fat butt it would sink. I thought I had a skinny butt. The thing floats a lot higher with Donna driving it.

What's up with these three? Looks like the two in the back have had a few. They're Brooke and Wendy from Alaska and I suppose they have had a few. Dorsay says that's what happens when I give them a couple glasses of our special Vodka and go for a boat ride, good thing she was driving. I think they're always this happy.

Another friend, Austin is packing it in and moving back to Australia or maybe it's New Zealand and brought a lot of his boat stuff out here for us. It's like Christmas when we see him drive up and ask for help unloading. Hand tools are so-so but when he pulled out the 5 foot long clamps we jumped right on it.

I don't say much about Sandy because he's the quite one who likes to hang out in his shop and build little canoes. And if you interrupt him he'll start talking and not stop till you run away, you know that may be his plot to keep visitors away. His spot is out back under the trees where he can sit and contemplate the world. I caught him by surprise hard at work on a rail, how do I get his job?

I'll end with this picture of me and Norma Ann floating in the Great Salt Lake. As far as I can tell we're the only two who've ever done it. When we go out to visit the kids we always ask people who live there if they've ever been in the lake and they react like it poison or full of acid or something. The salt is probably actually good for you. I can tell you that it would be very, very hard to drown in this lake. You see how high I'm floating. When we got out we dried off really fast and were coated with a layer of white salt.

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