In September at the Wooden Boat Festival I went down to look at the boats. There was a square rigger with a pirate. A 22 foot square rigger with the largest sail about the size of a baby blanket. After we had exchanged introductions, Captain Jack explained that his grandfather had built the square rigger to play with his grandchildren and he has restored it. It has an outboard in the middle, well, an inboard outboard so to speak. I asked how it sailed and he said, “Downwind.” I asked about hull speed and currents and he replied “AAARRRR, don’t talk to me about current.” A small child came by towing parents and he handed a pirate toy over from a big gold chest.
Then another small child came up. Very small with red hair. He gave her a pirate flag, which she waved. But she still looked at the boat. “You can come aboard,” he said. He told dad to bring her. Dad stepped aboard with her and Captain Jack put a black bandanna hat with a skull and crossbones on her. Then she saw the swords. Cutlasses made of foam! She reached for one. “Go ahead, you can have a sword fight with your father!”
She did, with me and mom laughing. “Would you like to take the wheel, matey?” said Captain Jack. She nodded. She and dad went back in the very small wheelhouse and she practiced steering the squarerigger. “Me boat has been shanghied, I’d better escape!” said Captain Jack, stepping ashore and leaving her and dad in full possession. The small pirate was very serious the whole time. This seemed to be new territory and she was concentrating on all of it.
Captain jack told me that he came to the festival last year and got invited back. He was very pleased and towed his boat from the inland lake. Hooray for Captain Jack and for all of the boat owners and contributors to the Wooden Boat Festival that encourage the children to be involved and Joey Pipia and all of the play pirates….