Greatest Race Boat Show In Canadian History – Gravenhurst, Ontario July 6th, 2013


From one of the largest and most active ACBS Chapters in the country, the nice folks at the Toronto Chapter ACBS have now finalized their plans for what is billed as “The Greatest Race Boat Show in Canadian History” which will be held at one of the most historically significant classic boating areas in North America – Gravenhust, Ontario.

Celebrating 100 years of boat racing, with 150 race boats on display in the water and on land, this promises to be one of the greatest and most unique classic boating events of the year. Among the many top flight vintage hydroplanes to be displayed at the show will be the freshly restored “Miss Canada IV” representing the recently released movie Harold and Lorna – World Water Speed Champions. The historic re-launch of “Miss Canada IV” will be one of the many highlights of the event.

Another legendary hydroplane “Miss Supertest III” will be in attendance in Gravenhurst with her owner Jim Thompson. “Miss Supertest III” featured a 2,000 horsepower Rolls-Royce Griffon motor, which was designed specifically to compete for the prestigious Harmsworth Cup. She was christened in 1959 and went on to win the 1959 Detroit Memorial Regatta and the Harmsworth Cup in 1959, 1960, and 1961.

Miss Supertest Driver Bob Hayward

When Miss Supertest III’s pilot, Bob Hayward was killed in 1961 while driving “Miss Supertest II” in the Detroit River Silver Cup races in 1961, Jim Thompson retired from racing, He said: “With the untimely death of Bob Hayward, the members of our racing team would derive little satisfaction from further success.”

Owner Jim Thompson with Miss Supertest

So to honor Jim Thompson (the offical host of the Gravenhurst show) and Miss Supertest’s racing accomplishments, we thought it would be fun to share some great vintage racing photographs of “Miss Supertest III” from that period, along with the following Official Press Release we received from the Toronto Chapter ACBS / Classicboat Magazine.

July 6, 2013 Muskoka Wharf, Gravenhurst, Ontario

The Antique and Classic Boat Society of Toronto (ACBS) announced today that it will be presenting The Greatest Race Boat Show in Canadian History celebrating 100 years of boat racing. The 33rd annual show will be held in Gravenhurst, Ontario on July 6, 2013 at the Muskoka Wharf.

There will be 150 race boats on display in the water and on land including both vintage and contemporary gentlemen’s racers, famous Hydros including Miss Canada IV, Miss Supertest III, Miss Canadiana and many other world and North American championship winners. Every class and type of race boat will be represented at the show. In addition many Canadian and American Champion drivers including members of the Hall of Fame will be in attendance adding to the atmosphere.

“This show is unprecedented and unique because it combines so many priceless antique race boats and famous hydros with some of the most modern high powered watercraft together with Hall of Fame and Championship drivers”, said John Kutcy , President of ACBS Toronto.

Throughout the day a number of boats including big hydros will be demonstrating their speed and power on a special demo course in Gravenhurst Bay giving all in attendance a sample of the noise and excitement that is so much a part of racing.

The official host of the show is Jim Thompson, the owner of Miss Supertest III, the only three time winner of the coveted Harmsworth Trophy which is an International competition for motorboats that was started in England in 1904.

The feature boat of the 2013 Show is Canada’s 1st Harmsworth challenger, Miss Canada IV, built in Gravenhurst in 1949. Newly restored, she is powered by a Rolls Royce Griffon engine that propelled her to a 138.8 mph North American speed record that year, and made her the first boat to eclipse the 200 mph mark in 1950. She was campaigned by Harold and Lorna Wilson, Canada’s internationally famous husband and wife team.

This show will be a very unique collection of boats and personalities never seen before in one place in Canada and it will probably be a long time before it happens again.


Friday, July 5th from 10:30AM to 1:00PM

But wait – there’s more fun planned for Friday. Woody Boater will be on hand to cover the Gravenhurst Boat Show this year, and in conjunction with the Toronto Chapter ACBS, we are proud to announce that we will also participate in Friday’s Woody Boater Picnic & Poker Run.

This fun event will be open to show participants and chapter members and will be limted to approximately 20 registered boats. The idea is to give those boats not in the show this year an event to use their boats, as well as the boats in the show.

For the Poker Run we would leave Gravenhurst at 10:30 make our way up the lake stopping at 3 to 4 locations to pick up a card. The plan will be to end up an hour up the lake at “Morris Island” where Chris Bullen and the crew will serve up a barbeque, hamburgers, hotdogs , and some special refreshments for all the participants in the Poker Run.

Woody Boater will ride along with the participants during the Poker Run and awards ceremony, and we will do our best to capture photos of all the boats in action on the lake, and then publish a fun story later that day on Woody with highlights from the event. The winner of the poker run will be featured on the header of the story for Saturday during the boat show and will also receive a framed photo of the event for your boat house, bathroom, office, or…

The cost for the Poker Run will be 19.00 per person which will cover the Picnic lunch on “Morris Island” and prizes will be courtesy of Woody Boater. This is guaranteed to be a fun, low key event for everyone to get out with their friends and enjoy some classic boating on the water.

For more information on the Woody Boater Picnic & Poker Run and to sign up, please contact Chris Bullen at the Toronto ACBS or at this e-mail address

Vintage Gulf Marine Racing Review – Circa 1940

About The Antique and Classic Boat Society (ACBS Toronto):

The Toronto Chapter ACBS is a group of wooden boat enthusiasts that produce an annual boat show to celebrate the rich heritage of recreational boating in Ontario, publish the award winning Classicboat magazine, hold educational seminars and operate a website to support a full calendar of events. For more information on the Toronto ACBS and the 33rd Annual Gravenhurst Boat Show you can contact them by clicking on the following links.

Toronto Chapter ACBS Website –
Classicboat Magazine –
Toronto ACBS Facebook Page –!/ACBSToronto?fref=ts

Here’s a great vintage race boat video to get you in the mood, it was posted on the Toronto Chapter’s Facebook page yesterday. It starts out a little slow but finishes with a “Bang”…

[youtube width=”440″ height=”344”][/youtube]


9 replies
  1. Alex
    Alex says:

    It’s getting on nighttime here. Just watched that vintage race boat video clip. Great. Now I’ll have nightmares about being decapitated by another hull, or filleted by a prop. Can we have a new rule at WB? Only G-rated films past 6:00 pm, like Bambi?

  2. Texx
    Texx says:

    When we were at the Lake Chelan race boat event last year, at the end of the day we were standing on the docks visiting, the race boats were done for the day.

    It was quiet and we were not paying attention to a few guys at the nearby launch ramp who were standing in knee deep water working on an old unlimited outboard motor.

    Suddenly – one of the guys pulled on the rope and the wild outboard (fueled by methanol or nitromethane) came to life and shot away from the dock with the driver hanging on for dear life as the little boat raced away from the docks.

    The unexpected sound and commotion of the outboard engine suddenly coming to life almost caused eveyone on the quiet dock to have a heart attack! For a moment we thought the boat was going to leap over the docks! We all laughed after it was over. I think the race boat driver had it under control, we just didn’t know it at the time.

    When I watched that video today, it made me think of that brave guy in his little vintage race boat…

  3. Cobourg-Kid
    Cobourg-Kid says:

    Hey Guys

    Last summer I spent a lot of time cleaning out my parents house. While I didn’t find much treasure I did find the attached autographed postcard which is definitely treasure to me.

    Super idea re the Poker Run Glad that the premier event will be on beautiful lake Muskoka (only three hours from me!) – O crap! forgot I am currently woody boatless 🙁

  4. Texx
    Texx says:

    Thanks Kid – Boatless or not, make sure you find your way up to Gravenhurst in July… We will find you a seat for the poker run.

  5. Sean
    Sean says:

    I guess I’m lucky I didn’t cancel my Gravenhurst hotel reservation!
    But, now I’ll have to make sure my Greavette driveline swap is complete and the boat is ready to play poker…any bets?

    • Dennis Mykols
      Dennis Mykols says:

      Well, just rebooked out week long stay at the Arundel Lodge to now arrive on Thursday afternoon, the the 4th. Would not miss this type of event, and a Poker Run to Boot, WITH MATT, what more can one ask for??? Well, Free GAS to get there…

      • Cobourg-Kid
        Cobourg-Kid says:

        Hey Dennis

        Fill up the truck and the boat before crossing the border. The price of regular up here is currently about $1.22 a litre or by my calculation, around $4.60. a gallon.. ( we Canucks sell it in litres which makes the dang stuf appear to be affordable). The extra cost is, however, definitely worth it .The Big Muskoka lakes are beautiful and a cruise on the RMS Segwun is a bucket list must do for all woody boaters .

        • Dennis Mykols
          Dennis Mykols says:

          Thanks for the heads up. I ususally try to pull my boat close to empty for less weight, better truck mileage. But at a buck a gallon , I will not gain that much, and will fill up in Port Huron.

Comments are closed.