What a delightful weekend! Thank you one and all for making me, my nephew Peyton, and my collection of boats welcome and entertained. We had a great time.
Below, is a vestigial notion that I forwarded to the Port of Toledo:
First, I’d like to thank you for a kindness, and second, make an offer for next year’s festival. My name is Dan Rogers, and I just got home from what turned out to be a 1,200 mile land voyage to and from the Toledo Wooden Boat. I arrived relatively early on Thursday, and had already gotten my boats launched and moored before nightfall that day. By Friday, my 8 year old nephew—along on this long range adventure with me--had become a bit restive, and I was looking for stuff for him to do. You took time from all the other things you had going at the moment, and got me paddles and life jackets so I could take him out in kayak. It was a supremely teachable moment, and he went on to spend quite a bit of time out and about in one or another of the boat house’s boats. As one who cut his own boating teeth at age eight, I’m elated that things came together for Peyton similarly. Thank you.
Second. As it turned out, I brought both a small tug-like creation and a small sailing dinghy for in-water display. The motor boat got lots of attention, and was a pretty decent fulcrum for starting a wide range of discussion with visitors who came down to the floats for a closer inspection of the entered boats. On Sunday, I began taking kids out for motor boat rides (it runs at about 20 knots, so we went out in the main channel for donut cutting, etc.). And on both days, there were several adults whom I introduced to small boat sailing in the rag boat. Some of my spontaneous demos of knot tying, and small boat handling seemed to be well-received. Even a completely adlib sea story telling session delivered while standing in a pink pirogue alongside the float, attracted a growing audience—in a wide range of ages. Those interchanges were fun, for me at least. But, I think there is a bigger opportunity for making boats and boating a realtime affair with more of your attending public.
The trip home afforded quite a few hours, while at the wheel, for reflection. Remarkably—to me anyway—on at least four separate occasions as far away as Albany, folks found us in restaurants, in parking lots, and even in a quiet neighborhood where I was attempting to correct a navigational blunder in Philomath with that long trailer in a narrow cul-de-sac, and was asked, “Are you coming from the Toledo show?” Your effort is pretty damn famous! And, I began wondering if there wasn’t a “next-level”.
Andy Linn’s ongoing effort to put almost anybody into a small boat is a thing of true beauty. He does a masterful job of it; and to my mind, he provides the crux of the whole event that way. I am suggesting a way to build upon that, and show the current and future generation of boat owners a thing or two about the finer points of vessel handling—especially power vessel handling.
Simply a notion, at this point. But, I’m wondering if there wouldn’t be a place for a rudimentary hands-on boat handling and deck seamanship exhibit. Instead of simply walking up and down the dock and admiring the boats, etc. What-if, there was a small power boat available for teaching (mostly kids) how to get underway and return to a float properly? Perhaps, simple maneuvers like a single or twin screw twist. Proper use of cleat hitches, bowlines, surging and checking, etc.?
My first impulse was to suggest you make your yard tug available. I didn’t get the opportunity to discuss that with the vessel’s master. However, she appears to be a good candidate for such a limited instructional mission. Or, a purpose built or modified small craft with limited horsepower (electric) propulsion would be an excellent platform. Especially one that lent itself to limited soloing. And, yes, my own little tug would be reasonably capable for the mission if retro-fitted with electric motors and conventional rudders. (I had the mods pretty well worked out mentally, before I was half way home.) The platform is pretty easy to dream up, or find.
Instructors should be readily available, as well. And, certainly, it’s never reasonable to offer a suggestion without offering to make it happen. My nephew is already talking about “next year.” And, God willing, I think coming back would be a grand thing to do. If this notion sounds like something you’d like to offer; I have both navy craftmaster quals and 100-ton quals in my resume of boating creds. I’ve been teaching folks how to splice and make bends since I was in the Boy Scouts, etc. I can put a program together in just about no time. Or, perhaps, there’s an old sea dog in your local area who is good with kids and can teach adults how to “put her alongside without a bump.” The possibilities are pretty big. The potential impact on some little boy or girl could be career and life altering.
Please let me know what you think. And, thanks for a delightful weekend.
Diamond Lake, WA