The Boat

Let me tell you a little story. A story of hard work and determination. The story of how, I, in my youth, made a boat. It was my first successful attempt at creating something that worked. It was my most difficult project to date, and one of my most fun ones. It was built for fun, and fun it did provide me. The boat was simple, but in my imagination it was as sleek and powerful as a yacht skipping over the waves of the Pacific. This is the story of my boat and how it came to life for me.
The story begins 4 years ago, when I was 10 years old. I was but a little youth at the time, innocent to the dangers of the world. Our home was having a pool built, and as I sat there every day, looking at the men that came to our home to dig, plow and plaster our new pool. I dreamed of swimming in it, dreamed at how good that water would look falling out of my hair in little shining diamonds. Oh, how I loved that pool, even before it was done. One day, as the men was finishing up the pool, the product of their sweat and toil over the last month; I was struck with inspiration. Inspiration to build something that floated on water-a boat! The boat would be built to celebrate the completion of our pool! Oh boy, was I excited, excited at the prospects of making something, to have something to do instead of sitting, watching the men work.
The next few days was spent drawing up plans, searching for materials and refining plans further. The plan originally called for the boat to be made of cork and be 3 feet long and 1 foot wide. I didn’t have that much time and materials. So, what to do? I gave up, and spent the next few days sulking around the house, searching for something to do. But, my mother, by my third day of moping around with nothing to do, told me to preserve and never give up. I didn’t believe her, how could just having he will to do something make it work? I proceeded to sulk around some more before my mother forced me to get it in gear and start working again. She told me, ”If you’re going to sulk around with nothing to do, I would prefer you sulk around while you have something to do.” I unwillingly set to work again.
First, I reduced the size from 3 feet long and 1 foot wide to 1 foot long and 4 inches wide. Then, I looked for materials that I could make my boat out that could be found around the house. I didn’t want to buy materials. The only thing I found that fit the bill for strength, flexibility, and “floatiness,” was shims. Shims are little strips of particleboard that was left over from the cutting and milling process of the main sheets of particleboard. They are manly sold as paint stirrers. They were strong and flexible. They were also made of, well, particleboard, which is wood. So they floated extremely well. Now, I needed something to seal the cracks between the shim slats of my ship. I didn’t have fancy-shmancy adhesives and glues that could stand up to a category 4 hurricane. But what I did have was caulk. I found a tube of water-tight caulk among the many leftovers from countless projects my dad had done. Now, I was ready!
I spent a day just sawing and filing the bottom and sides if the shims to the correct thickness and shape to create my triangle shaped boat with a flat bottom. I filed and sawed until the shape allowed the nose to cut through water like a hot knife through butter. Then I braced the shape with duct tape in its shape. Then I filled, from the inside, the cracks with caulk. The caulk also acted as the adhesive to hold the boat together. I left it overnight to dry. After the night, I removed the tape and left it for two days to cure. During these two days, the workers finished the pool. The pool was ready to be filled from our hose to its full 12,000-gallon capacity. During the final stages of the completion of the pool, I found 2 small engines with fan blades on them. I remembered that these engines were taken from an old model plane I had long ago. I’d finally found a use for them. I rigged them to blow backward for the boat. The power came from a battery inside a smaller chamber inside the boat. The fans were put on a length of shim that was caulked on the top of the boat near the back and extended 1 inch out on either side. The wiring was taken from an old length of wall wire that we had lying around. By the day the pool was good and done, the boat was done, too!
It was the sailing day! I was so excited, I woke up that day and ran to the boat and called my family together outside by the pool. I hooked up the wires and the little fans began to blow back strongly. I never suspected such power in them! I put my boat on the water and watched as it immediately began to move forward. The nose was floating above the water more and more as it gained speed. Soon, the nose was practically airborne as the engines pushed it forward. I ran around to the other side of the pool, just in time to catch the boat before it crashed into the pool sidewall. I was so proud of my work, and my family was proud of me. As I was smiling and laughing with my family, I was already drawing up better plans for a better, more powerful boat in my mind.
That was one of the best days of my life, when I actually made something that worked. And worked well. The boat was achieved through planning, hard work and determination (and don’t forget resourcefulness, too). These valuable lessons I had learned before, but this project strengthened my belief in the power of the people and the brain. The power of trying, and trying. To never give up. I thank my mother for teaching me that lesson and helping me along when I was moping around without anything to do. I now realize that determination is truly the deciding factor in every job, project, mission, etc. If you are determined enough and the odds are not ridiculously high, you can succeed. That is the lesson I learnt and held dear to my present age of fourteen.





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