The outcome isn't always as expected, undoubtedly a few will end up in the lake before it's all over but the enthusiasm is high for Kids' Harbor's 3rd annual Homemade Boat Races, especially for the Vance family.
While Bryan Vance may be familiar to many who work with Ameren Missouri's shoreline management crew at Lake of the Ozarks, it may come as a surprise to learn that he is a handyman of sorts. He's putting those handyman skills to work for a good cause these days crafting a homemade boat to raise money for Kids' Harbor.
Vance has recruited his kids, Jacob, Alley and Ethan to help craft a boat that they hope will cross the finish line in the upcoming homemade boat races. As the oldest, Jacob has put the most time in working on the project.
Their goal is to stay afloat but they wouldn't mind coming home with a win.
"Anytime the nail gun and saw comes out, everyone wants to pitch in," Vance said. "We were going to use duct tape for the skin but went with shrink wrap instead. We probably have 11-15 hours in the project after working out the design options, there has to be a lot of discussion when you don't have any plans to follow. We didn't get any help on the engineering. Jacob will be racing. If it holds together, I am sure Ethan will want to make a run in it too."
The boat is made out of ¾" pine boards, Styrofoam and covered in shrink-wrap.
Vance did get some design advice from Jacob Lumley. Jacob and John Lumley took second place in the 2012 peddle boat races for Kids' Harbor.
"We looked at skin on frame kayaks on line and winged it from there," he said.
The race includes several categories including homemade boats, paddle boat, puddle duck, sail boat, stand up paddleboard, kayak and canoe.
Although Vance and his family have attended the races since they began, this is the first year they have taken taken on the challenge to build a watercraft. There is a sense of excitement in the final days of working on the boat.
The big test came this week when the homemade boat was launched for its maiden voyage to see if it would actually float. It did, Vance said.
The big question now is will the boat float long enough to cross the finish line.
"I think as long as no one has any sharp objects around we will be fine," he said. "Our goal was just to have a fun project and to raise a little money for Kids Harbor. Also, we are hoping to make Jay Polchow work a little harder at winning this year. Jay has a meticulously built wood kayak that is very fast. We wanted to come up with something that might be fast enough to make him at least paddle hard and we wanted to do that with as little money as possible.
Page 2 of 2 - The Vance family budgeted $30 to build our kayak and brought the project in under budget. By using the shrink wrap Vance's brother provided, he said they saved quite by not buying enough duct tape to wrap the boat.
Want to go:
Kids' Harbor's 3rd annual Homemade Boat Races will be held from 1-5 p.m. September 8 at the Linn Creek Campground. Enter into any of the five categories. Spend the day raising money for Kids' Harbor Child Advocacy Center.
Kids' Harbor provides a child-friendly atmosphere for children who may be victims of neglect, sexual, physical and emotional abuse. They provide an environment for child victims and their families that facilitates experts including medical and legal services, without further traumatizing the child.
Go to www.kidsharbormo.org. or call 573-348-6886.
• Homemade Boats: Can be up to four people per team, cannot be built or added on to an existing manufacturers hull, and must be powered by pedal, paddle or sail.
• Paddleboats: Two-person teams with boats provided at the races.
• Stand Up Paddleboards: Will be proved at the races.
• Canoe and Kayaks: Homemade or store bought, just be fast.
• Puddle Duck Racers: Homemade sailboats. Go to www.pdracer.com for ideas.