If You Like Vintage Race Boats – The Rideau Ferry Regatta Is Revving Up This Weekend!


“My Betsy” – Vintage photo from the Rideau Ferry Regatta Courtesy Bill John – Vintage Race Boat Shop

I like the word “Regatta” and the word still gets my attention today when I hear it mentioned or see it used to describe a fun summer event. It brings back fond memories of when the annual “Regatta” would come to the lake with the famous piston powered hydroplanes like the Miss Budweiser & Miss Madison, screaming outboard race boats with crazy drivers and entertaining water ski competitions. For me, the word “Regatta” represents summer sun, summer fun, and all sorts of action on the water.


Photo courtesy Rideau Ferry Yacht Club website.

Fellow Woody Boaters Dave Richardson & Scott Cameron asked us to remind our viewers about their big Vintage Race Boat Event that’s happening this weekend in Rideau Ferry, Ontario – south of Ottawa. For more than a 100 years, the Rideau Ferry Yacht Club has hosted some of the largest and exciting international race boat regattas in Eastern Canada. Here’s an excerpt from their website…

The first regatta dates back to 1897, when canoes, skiffs and steam yachts were gaily decorated, paddles and oars painted and varnished, oarlocks greased, engines overhauled and oilers filled, coal bunkers packed with the best steam coal, and brass-work polished until it shone as bright as the sun itself. The regattas became increasingly popular in the 20’s and 30’s with record crowds of over 4,000 people attending the one day event in a village with a population of less than 100. – RFYC

This year the Rideau Ferry Regatta, one of Canada’s largest “Vintage Race Boat Regattas” will once again celebrate the history of racing in the area by featuring “Miss Canada IV” the record setting Greavette multi-step hydroplane along with more than 50 famous Grand Prix race boats and drivers, reaching speeds of well over 100 mph, as well as many other vintage inboard and outboard classes. – Texx


Photo courtesy Rideau Ferry Yacht Club website.

Rideau Ferry Yacht Club Regatta
August 16-18, 2013 Rideau Ferry, Ontario.
by Dave Richardson

We missed the opportunity to see “Miss Canada IV” and her mighty Rolls Royce Griffon running at Gravenhurst in July due to a balky magneto. But this weekend we have a second chance! “Miss Canada IV” will head the star studded line up of Vintage Race Boats at the Rideau Ferry Yacht Club Regatta on August 16-18. The crew has tested her out several times and feels confident she will be running well. We anticipate over 50 vintage race boats will be running demonstration heats on Saturday and Sunday.

Miss Canada Iv

Miss Canada IV – Courtesy Harold & Lorna / MC IV Facebook Page

Rideau Ferry is at the head of Big Rideau Lake, just off highway 15 south of Smiths Falls, Ontario. Racing has a long history in Rideau Ferry, with the first events as far back as 1897 and continuing through until 1976. The Rideau Ferry Yacht Club was sold to the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority to be maintained as a public boat launch, beach and picnic area, but the sale agreement stipulated it could be used once per year as a regatta site. Six years ago a small group of race boat fans hosted the first RFYC Vintage Race Boat Regatta as a biennial event alternating with the popular race boat event in Clayton, NY.


Photo courtesy Rideau Ferry Yacht Club website.

The event will kick off with “Miss Canada IV” leading a “parade” of famous race boats from Rideau Ferry to the Crystal Palace in downtown Perth, Ontario – remaining there for the afternoon to give visitors a close-up look at these beautiful historic race boats. Opening ceremonies are schedule for 9:30 AM on Saturday with cardboard boat races, vintage race boat fly-bys and a picnic & dance that evening. Sunday will see events all day with an added twist this year – a Sea Flea challenge where local businesses have built standard pattern Sea Fleas and will be racing them in the afternoon.

Such famous boats as Canadiana Grand Prix, Miss Dinomytes, Lauterbach Special and Xanadu will be creating noise and spray on the Big Rideau so come and join us for a weekend of fun and excitement.


DYNOMYTES – Photo courtesy Rideau Ferry Yacht Club website.


Photo courtesy Rideau Ferry Yacht Club website.

For more information on the Rideau Ferry Yacht Club Regatta you can visit their great website HERE.

Dave Richardson

2013 Poster FINAL_0001
If you are in the southern Ontario area or just across the St. Lawrence River in New York, plan to stop by the Rideau Ferry Regatta and check out some premium vintage race boats and premium people, who simply love the sport of vintage boat racing.

Also, for any information on world of vintage race boats, event schedules, and even history of the sport, check out Bill John’s Vintage Race Boat Shop website. It has it all, and Bill is a big supporter of the hobby.


7 replies
  1. Don Ayers
    Don Ayers says:

    I wish there was a small boat class to do some “fun” racing. Like in the golden age when they had the small Dodge boats or E class runabouts. Something very safe and affordable. Like a small 16′ class of standard bottom boat. Jersey Skiffs are scary looking as Hell and how many people really want to risk life and limb in a V8 powered true hydro??

    Am i the only one who thinks this would be fun?

    • Dennis Mykols
      Dennis Mykols says:

      I feel the same way Don. I had so much fun with my gentleman racer at the Niagara Fall Vintage races, when they let us out on the course at the end of the day.
      I would love to get a second woody to do these kind of events. Safe, but fun, and not a ton of $$$ involved.
      Well, we are off to Muscatine, Iowa, for their big three day event on the Mississippi River!

  2. Texx
    Texx says:

    I remember going for a wild ride in Jersey Skiff a few years ago on a bumpy lake. All I can say is that I was glad it had those grab handles for the passenger to hang on for dear life!

  3. Mark Krzyzanowski
    Mark Krzyzanowski says:

    Good times at the Rideau Ferry Regatta. The Ottawa Citizen Newspaper caught me “getting a little loose” in the JS-32 on Saturday.

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