Classic Muskoka Part 2 – Thursday Fun In The Sun With Some Great Friends

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Murray Walker in “Clarie II” an outstanding 1920 Hutchinson Brothers race boat, originally powered by a post WWI surplus Liberty V-12.

THURSDAY WAS AN AMAZING DAY HERE IN MUSKOKA. Our hosts Chris & Julie Bullen arranged in advance for us to visit a number of boat houses in the area, and not only see a spectacular range of antique & classic boats, but to get them out to ride in and photograph. (You can click on the photos to enlarge them)

Starting at 8:00 AM we left on our day-long journey around the lakes on a fixed schedule so the boat owners would know when we were arriving. Julie prepared a picnic lunch for seven of us, traveling in two boats – and with cameras (and drones) in hand we hit the water. All these boats you see today have great individual history which we are planning to cover in more detail after the show.

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Early Thursday morning with perfect weather for a day-long boat trip around Muskoka. Note the drone (Amelia) on the engine box powered up and ready for service.

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One of many jaw-dropping boat houses along the way.

Our first stop at 9:00 AM was at Bobby Genovese’s cabin to meet up with our friends Jamie Smith and Norm Woods, to take “Miss Canada III” out for a ride. Norm is a very successful boat racer and invited Chris Bullen to ride shotgun.

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As they prepare to leave the immaculate boat house Norm makes sure Chris is comfortable for his high speed experience on board “Miss Canada III” – a Keith Black V-8 powered replica.

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With Norm at the controls, the boat sounded fantastic on the calm waters as he puts her through her paces.

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While we reposition the shoot boat, Norm takes a break to explain to Chris the dynamics of “Miss Canada II”. A perfect day to wear a Woody Boater Speedboat Outlaws tee shirt.

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Then after one last high speed run, Norm returns “Miss Canada III” to her boat house for a rest.

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Parked outside the boat house was “Miss Miami V” looking great as always.

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Special thanks to Jamie and Norm for the special invitation and taking the time to make it a memorable experience.

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Then it was time to head over to Dukes for a tour of the legendary facility with Jamie Fowler and a picnic lunch at the dock. The locks at Port Carling are very efficient and a fun experience.

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Just as we were arriving at the Port Carling lock a group of woody boaters came through the other way. This is part of a group from Michigan who are here for the boat show on Saturday.

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Dukes has a rich history in the area and it was interesting to look around inside the boat shop.

The next stop in our tour was at Chris & Louise Cragg’s boat house. We had the pleasure of going out in two of their boats, first a wonderful 1927 31’6″ Ditchburn named “Robin Adair” – The ladies decided to ride along for the photo shoot.

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As they returned to the boat house they were joined by “Amelia” the well behaved drone.

Then we were treated to a very special 1936 18′ Seabird which is powered by a period correct 60 HP Ford flathead V-8. The Ford V-8 required a change in the deck arrangement from three cockpits to two, but the little boat was fast and agile on the water, and Chris Cragg really made her perform. (Chris has decided it needs a new home if anyone is interested)

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Another rather large boat house en-route to Les Rue’s boat house for a visit and to deliver some cards for tomorrows Woody Boater poker run which stops at Les’s. We were surprised to meet our friend Dr. Bob there too, always great see Bob.

Our next stop was with Murray Walker, who has a spectacular collection of wooden boats, including some rare, early race boats. We had our choice of boats to ride in and we decided to go out in the 1920 Hutchinson Brothers 35′ race boat – “Clarie II”. Rich & Linda Hughes, who were traveling with us in their 1968 Greavette were treated to a ride with Murray. “Clarie II” was said to be the fastest boat on the St. Lawrence river when she was launched in 1920, and she performs beautifully even today.

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Once we were done shooting “Clarie II” – Murray and I went out for a ride which was fabulous! – Texx

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Then after a short dinner break back at Morris Island, at 7:30 PM we stopped by to visit Rick McGraw who also has an outstanding collection of wooden boats. Rick invited us out to shoot the legendary “Heldena II” a 1917 George F. Crouch designed 36′ Gold Cup race boat, which is still powered by a vintage Liberty V-12. This time Julie Bullen took the passenger seat with Rick at the helm.

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The wind kicked up on the lake and they experienced a bit of a wet ride due to sme cross winds – all part of the fun with smiles all around! I was amazed at how nimble the 36 footer was as Rick maneuvered her around the inlet for the photo shoot.

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Special thanks to everyone who invited us to their boat houses today, for me it was one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences to not only see these boats in person, but then have the opportunity to photograph them and ride along with the owners. Also a big thanks to Chris & Julie Bullen for making it all possible today.

These owners are very passionate about their boats and enjoy sharing them with fellow classic boating enthusiasts. A great day.

Friday we start early with the popular Woody Boater Poker Run – stay tuned for updates from that event, as well as the Toronto ACBS Summer Vintage Boat Show on Saturday.


17 replies
  1. Bob Menzel
    Bob Menzel says:

    Thanks Texx!
    Your words and pictures are the next best thing to actually being there. Another lake trip to add to the “bucket list”.
    Hope you all have a beautiful weekend and a great show up north!

  2. m-fine
    m-fine says:

    Looks like you had a great day. Here on the south side of Ontario, it rained all day and I believe I rode in exactly 0 vintage race boats.

  3. Greg Lewandowskk
    Greg Lewandowskk says:

    Wow, what a day! Thanks for the great report. I now have to clean the drool off the IPad.

  4. Wilson
    Wilson says:

    As Bob Menzel says, you words and pics are the next best thing to being there…Now off to the Chris Craft dealer meet in Sarasota where we’ll have at least one woody there to join their new Capri they will be showing off for dealers.

  5. Sunday Funday
    Sunday Funday says:

    Wow! “Great day” is and understatement! I have no idea how you could keep on schedule with that tour. I’d still be at the first place…it would take me a week to take all that in.
    Great report!

  6. charley quimby
    charley quimby says:

    I am the former owner/restorer of “Miss Miami V”. That boat almost went under the dozer back in the early 1990s. She was raced in APBA-sanctioned contests back in the late ’40s by the late Edmond Thompson, who went on to small hydros, and raced his Stude-powered Glazier “TM Special” into the 1980s. Ed provided some valuable information to me during the restoration of the little 16-footer. Happy to see that “Miss Miami V” is under good care. CQ

  7. Douglas Potts
    Douglas Potts says:

    Great pictures, we are just packing up to come to the show with the “Scotty” and “Potts 1”. Hope to see every one there.

  8. Steve A
    Steve A says:

    Great photos and write up! I am really impressed by all these boats, and boat houses! It seems that you could do a photo day of just the boathouses, they are so immaculate. That is a region of the world I need to get to someday. Until then, I will continue to live vicariously thru you!

  9. floyd r turbo
    floyd r turbo says:

    What an amazing day of boat rides and photos. Great coverage. And the real overload at Gravenhurst is yet to come. So many great boats and over the top restorations. Can’t decide which is the greater attraction, boats, venue, or the Canadian people.

    • m-fine
      m-fine says:

      The greatest attraction would be the poutine. Then probably the venue and people and boats. Maybe Canadian bacon too.

  10. Kentucky Wonder
    Kentucky Wonder says:

    Thanks so much for the photos and story, though they really make me jealous of the whole experience. The people, the boats, the homes and boathouses are all treasures to be valued very highly. Wish we had time to take our poor little Greavette home for the week. It is homesick.

  11. m-fine
    m-fine says:

    I would have really liked to be up in Canada for this show, but the bacon is ready to go in the smoker for the night, and I have to admit things aren’t so bad around here.

    • Texx
      Texx says:

      The weather was absolutely perfect here today for the Poker Run. Tomorrow looks like the same (fingers crossed). Just no bacon, but….

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