As part of this term’s programme, the Explorer Scouts decided that they would like to take part in the Guildford Raft Race. This meant they have to build a raft. Some wood was found and Nick Eagleton kindly gave us a dozen plastic barrels, essential for raft building. After a few discussions around the black board the work began. Two 3 metre pontoons were constructed by attaching the barrels to two parallel 2×4 timbers and secured with the black banding tape you often find on heavy packages and parcels ( a big thanks to Ken for sourcing the bander). Once the pontoons were finished they screwed two transoms across the pontoons to make the familiar raft shape. 4 old plastic school chairs had their metal legs removed and were screwed onto the pontoon for the Scouts to sit on. We finished this work on Saturday lunch time just before Roy arrived with the trailer ready to take the raft for her maiden voyage.
Once at the River, we were joined by Simon Bell, the Scout Leader from Shalford who kindly offered to take the boys on the water, as our regular Canoe sports instructor Nick was otherwise engaged. The craft was launched and to all our surprise it floated high in the water. This was a good sign. The boys put on their Buoyancy Aids and scrambled aboard and to our even greater surprise the Raft sat fairly well in the water with perhaps a little tilt to the prow.
The guys soon got underway and things looked good apart from the forward tilt. After a quick con-flab, the two boys on the back moved to a kneeling position behind the rear seats, this seamed to balance the raft much better.
These adjustments did the trick and the raft was responding well to the boys efforts. Now all that remains is some simple decoration and team selection.
I think as long as there are Scouts, they will enjoy messing about on the water.