Live-ish from the 2015 Toronto ACBS Winter Workshop
Story and Photos by Chris & Julie Bullen
As we all know, even as far south as Florida – baby its cold outside. The oranges are frosty. While up north, the snow keeps falling and it`s been –29c (-20F) for too long. Rich and I are ready to haul the boats south to Florida, but he has a 6 foot snow drift in front of his storage shed and with the wind blowing like it has, there is no sense in doing anything about it (yet). February is getting long in the tooth, I hope the ground hogs are right and some warmer temperatures are just around the corner.
A welcome break at this time of year is always the annual Toronto ACBS Winter Workshop. A great opportunity to get together with our fellow classic boat enthusiasts, to share some knowledge and chat about the upcoming boating season. This year, the event was held in Port Carling, Ontario at the shop of Tom Adams – Tom you may remember restored the famous “Miss Canada IV” Greavette race boat.
Now he has one of the grand ladies of Lake Muskoka in his workshop named “RITA”. She is a 52 foot Minett – originally built in 1914 by renowned boat builder Bert Minett at his company H.C. Minett Motor Boat Company in nearby Bracebridge, Ontario.
From the Muskoka Boat & Heritage Centre website – “Until 1932 Minett produced boats from 28’ to 36’. The factory was located at the top of the falls in Bracebridge and the boats were transferred by horse drawn wagons to the bottom of the falls for launching. One boat however, “RITA” by name, was 50’ long and was shipped by rail car to Gravenhurst for launching to avoid having to transfer the boat down the steep roads leading to the still waters of Muskoka River at the bottom of the falls.”
“RITA” has lived on Lake Muskoka all her life and also in the same boathouse, on Cinderwood Island. She was due for a little attention, so she had to be wrapped and floated to the ramp as she would no longer stay afloat.
Looking at the huge Minett – she must have been the ultimate party boat for the very wealthy way back when, as she has an odd layout.
“RITA” will be sailing once again in about 20 months or so, as we all know you can’t put a hard deadline on these projects.
As part of this year’s winter workshop, the “Master of Old Engines” Matt Fairbrass talked about vintage marine engines and how to keep them going. We also had the “Master of Props” Amanda Holloway (from United Propellers) on hand to talk about the mysteries of prop science. Lastly our youngest boat builder James Osler talked about marine adhesives.
Tom Adams also had a beautiful Minett Shields in his shop – an elegant 1928 28 footer named “Belle Vista III”.
It was a great social day to meet our boating friends and not talk about the weather.
Chris & Julie Bullen
Special thanks to Chris & Julie Bullen for sending us this Live-ish report today. It’s always fun to see what’s inside the walls of the boat shops this time of year. The Toronto Chapter ACBS has many events planned for the 2015 season, you can check out their premium website Here.
Also, the Muskoka Boat & Heritage Centre in Gravenhurst, Ontario does a fabulous job of preserving the history of boating in Canada. To learn more about Bert Minett, his company H.C. Minett Motor Boat Company and later the Minett-Shields Boat Building Company (as well as many other legendary Canadian wooden boat builders), you can check out their great website by Clicking Here.
Do you have snow in your back yard today? Let us know or send us a photo from the back porch – we dare you… Best Sunday snow shot could win you a virtual prize.