This is a challenge put forth by Bringing Home Europe where the writer, photographer, musician, or poet is inspired by a quote from a master. This week’s challenge: “There isnothing– absolutely nothing–half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.”Kenneth Grahame, from The Wind in the Willows
The Cub Scout pack that my grandson is a member of held its annual Rain Gutter Regatta boat races this weekend. The balsa wood boats are pre-cut and ready for original styling by each scout. In the August 2002 edition of Boy’s Life, The Official Publication by Boy Scouts of Americathere are complete instructions on how to build a Regatta boat. This is where my grandson began “messing” with boats.
Once the kit was purchased, my grandson and his dad set up in my garage to create the perfect Regatta boat. They sanded the hull until it was smooth and then used a tack cloth to remove any reside from the sanding. This was serious.
The next day, my daughter and grandson came over with a small can of polyurethane and a brush to paint three coats of the gummy substance over the entire boat. Each coat had to be dried, sanded, tack clothed, then painted again to achieve a waterproof glaze over the boat. In between coats of polyurethane, there was nothing to do but swim in the pool, which made the time go by quickly.
Next, spray paint was used to make the Regatta boat look good. Luckily, for my grandson, I had several old cans of spray paint in the garage just waiting for his boat. My grandson chose silver over the orange or green available. (I think the orange and green were from a former Halloween project.)
On Sunday, they all stopped by once more to put the finishing touches on their boating creation. They added the keel and the rudder. Super Glue was the choice of adhesive. (I did not know Super Glue could withstand water. I guess you learn something new every day.) Curiously, not only did the keel and the rudder stick to the silver hull of the boat, but also stuck to the fingers of my son in law. After a little administration of nail polish remover to those sticky fingers, the sail and the mast were applied. The Regatta boat was ready to sail!
At the festivities, my grandson’s silver Regatta boat made a good showing. With a little help of his robust blowing on the sail, the boat sped down the rain gutter with grace and actually stayed afloat. When the races were over, proud scouts lined up for hamburgers and hot dogs, and to talk to each other about their boats. It did not matter that my grandson’s Regatta boat did not take first, second, or even third place in the race. What really mattered was that he was able to “mess” with the boat. He put it together with his mom and dad and shared his handiwork with his friends. Moreover, as the quote from Master Grahame so eloquently proclaims, “There isnothing– absolutely nothing–half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.” This act of playing did more for my grandson’s sense of family, sense of camaraderie, and sense of self than he realizes. Thank you to the Cub Scouts for providing these very important lessons to him and all the other boys in the pack.