Each year the Muskoka Wharf in Gravenhurst is the scene of the annual Summer Vintage Boat Show, hosted by the Antique and Classic Boat Society (ACBS) of Toronto. Having enjoyed Concours d'Elegance in various venues, we thought it would be worthwhile to attend the nautical version of a transportation beauty show in 2016.
Our first sight was the impressive RMS Segwun, a steamboat launched in 1886 and used on Muskoka service until 1956. One of only four ships to carry the Royal Mail Ship designation now, it was a floating museum for many years before a 12 year restoration project saw it return to service in 1981. It is owned and operated by the Muskoka Steamships and Discovery Centre, a charitable organization, and will be the subject of a separate post here.
|RMS Segwun, about to start another day of passenger cruises|
The boat show was pretty simple in its organization. The docks had been cleared of more prosaic craft and show boats moored, so it was a matter of walking along the docks and admiring them, while keeping your balance. There was an area on dry land with some exhibitors close to the docks but also further along the shore. In addition, there was a small vintage car show as well, which was particularly active thanks to a half-dozen Amphicars on the move.
|Canoe construction and restoration shop|
|Modern wooden speedboat|
|Fine decorative work on a new wooden boat|
|Wooden speedboat needing some TLC|
|1949 Muskoka Mosquito, restored by the original builder's grandson in 2010|
|1991 Clarion Gold Cup boat "Riot"|
|"Cash Injection" is a Peter Breen replica of a 1930s Ditchburn boat and was completed in 2003. It has 500 hp!|
|"Gertrude," Replica of a 1900 Swampscott Dory|
Along with the mega-powerful speedboats, we came across the charming "Gertrude," a replica of a c. 1900s fishing boat known as the Swampscott Dory once used in the Atlantic fishery north of Boston. The replica was built in 2002 and features a period 1 cylinder 3 hp two-stroke gasoline motor, which has no clutch or reverse gear but is directly connected to the propeller. "Gertrude" features a unique "Kitchen Rudder," which uses clamshells around the propeller, furnishing reverse and neutral as well as excellent maneuverability. Top speed of the boat is 5 knots.
|Luckily the Corvette does not have a trailer hitch--otherwise how could I have passed up the lovely little Tom Cat hydroplane (65 hp) for $5500, including a custom trailer and cover?|
A much-loved curiosity, the Amphicar was built in Germany by the Quandt Group (the same family that controls BMW!) from 1961-1967. When production ended, 3,878 of the vehicle had been produced, most of which had been sold in the United States. Lyndon Johnson enjoyed scaring guests with his, pretending to lose control and then driving into the lake at his LBJ Ranch. A car of very limited performance with its Triumph Herald engine of 43 bhp, it was not a very good boat either as it was steered in the water with its front wheels so it was not very maneuverable compared to a real boat. It has a two-lever gearbox, one lever being used to engage the twin propellers at the rear of the car in the water. The doors locked shut for water travel. The average price of one of these oddities is currently around US$ 68,000.
|A selection of the old cars present for the show|