Live-ish From The Big Cruise For A Big Cause – What An Event!

Early this morning we received this Live-ish report from fellow Woody Boater Kathy Rhodes who was at the Big Cruise for a Big Cause event held in the Muskoka Lakes Region yesterday. Here’s her report… – Texx

Honey – Grab The Dog And Let’s Go See The RMS Segwun and the Wenonah II On The Big Cruise Today! – Photo Chris Bullen

By Kathy Rhodes, Classicboat Magazine – Toronto Chapter ACBS

After months of planning, it all came together yesterday in Muskoka when 115 officially registered boats and countless others followed the 125-year-old RMS Segwun and the Wenonah II from the bottom end of Lake Muskoka to the top of Little Lake Joe for the recreation of the famous 100-Mile Cruise.

Segwun and Wenonah Prepare to Disembark

RMS Segwun and Wenonah II Cruising Saturday – Photo Chris Bullen

About 40 boats followed the ships from Muskoka Wharf. As they passed through the Narrows about 30 minutes later, a few more joined in – then a few more, and a few more – all along the route.

Through the locks at Port Carling and the swing bridge at Port Sandfield, they kept on coming. Docks along the route were filled with people waving Canadian flags and homemade signs wishing the Segwun a happy birthday.

Locking Through at Port Carling – One of Several Groups To Pass Through

Jam Packed Locks – Photo Chris Bullen

Boats of every make and era were part of the flotilla – Ditchburns, Greavettes, Shepherds, Minetts, and more – everything from long-deck launches to Dippies. Although the clouds moved in, the rain held off (which is not to say no-one got wet!) – and the sun shone brilliantly during the photo shoot.

Once we arrived in Little Lake Joe, the first impression was absolute mayhem – boats everywhere, heavy wake, helicopters hovering overhead. And then, like magic, the ships and boats began to slowly circle in a counter-clockwise direction. Horns honked, sirens wailed, whistles blew, the piper piped, and tears flowed… Everyone we spoke to was overwhelmed with emotion and thrilled to be part of this amazing event.

Our Big Cause – The Canadian Cancer Society – also benefited. Not counting the donations collected on the ships, we have already collected over $8,000. Our original goal was $5,000.

This was definitely THE. BEST. DAY ON THE WATER. EVER!!

Thanks, Kathy Rhodes
Classicboat Magazine – Toronto Chapter ACBS

Photos by Kathy Rhodes & Chris Bullen

Thanks Kathy & Chris – Fellow Woody Boaters coming together for a great cruise and a great cause… Nice work everyone, and congratulations.


14 replies
  1. Greg Lewandowski
    Greg Lewandowski says:

    Wow. That had to be one of the greatest cruises, events, parties, I don’t know what to call it ever! I thought about buying tickets when yo did the original story, and know I’m kicking myself. Congrats to all our Canadian friends that put on this great event.

    • Dennis Mykols
      Dennis Mykols says:

      It was on my bucket list also. When the story broke about this event, I thought it would be one of the coolest events of this year. As it turned out, we couldn’t if it into the time and $$ budgets, and did not sign up to attend. I knew when I would see the live reports (like today) I would be sorry, and I am… Oh well, can’t hit them all.

  2. Bill
    Bill says:

    wow great boats i especially like the big one on the left in the second lock photo with the forward cockpit that would be a experance to ride up front in that beauty also like the old coal burner those smoke trails were a common sight years ago on the great lakes on a calm day there would be bunches of them just hanging out on the horizon thanks Kathy

  3. Gary Getson
    Gary Getson says:

    An amazing experience, both from our perspective from a wooden boat and a friend on one of the ships it was an amazing day! The two together was magical!

  4. Kerry price
    Kerry price says:

    Luckily enough I just so happened to be up at Muskoka this weekend found out about the event the night before. At 8:30 I was on the water joining the procession in my friends Greavette and did the entire route ending at the Nothern tip of Lake Joeseph. Man what a great day. Purring along the entire morning with legendary boats, simple boats, large and small but for the most part all wood boats of every make and size all around us. I just couldn’t even begin to count How many. They really need to do this event again.

    • Texx
      Texx says:

      Thanks for commenting Kerry… Sounds like it was a memorable event to attend.

      That’s a long way from Texas, did you notice any post-war Chris-Craft Customs up in the Muskoka’s?

  5. brian t
    brian t says:

    That Cruise In looks like a great time.

    Question: The Header Pic with the boat in the boathouse. What is with the water level? Is this due to the tides or due to the drought? Or is the water level normal with that boat and house?? It just looks odd that the garage and doors don’t really hide the boat inside.

    • Texx
      Texx says:

      Brian – When I shot that photo in early July, the water levels in the Hessel area were noticeably down. I think Alex said they were down over two feet. But Alex can confirm this.

      While I was in Hessel, many people were commenting about the water levels.

  6. Noel E. Trueworthy
    Noel E. Trueworthy says:

    The most rewarding part of the event was at the locks. Talking one on one to the boat owners. Most of which do not enter or are involved in any of the boat shows up here. Most are original well cared for craft. Early Minett- Sheilds with external rudders and Scipps engines to a couple of the long deck launches with the spark advance and throttle separate. Even a Horace Dodge triple cock pit double windshield fore and aft. Many were in period costumes to celebrate the day. Perfect.

  7. Patrice
    Patrice says:

    What an amazing day. We met up with old friends and made some new. The view from the deck of the Wenonah on the north end of Little Lake Joe was spectacular. We have never seen so many beautiful water craft at one time. It was truly a once in a life time experience. Hats off to ACBS and friends as well as Muskoka Steamship lines for an unforgettable event.

  8. Bob VandeVusse
    Bob VandeVusse says:

    What about Dukes? There must have been some Dukes. Barbara and I traveled through the Muskoka region earlier this summer and saw many beautiful boats. We enjoyed a great ride on RMS Segwun. It is an experience that every woody boater should have.

  9. Paul Crammond
    Paul Crammond says:

    Many Thanks to Kathy Rhodes and all the others that organized this magical event! Truly even more memorable than the fabulous annual boat shows in Muskoka. (please note: there is no such place as “the Muskoka’s”. This is Muskoka. There is only one. If they must be pluralized, please, I beg you, refer to them as “The Muskoka Lakes”.)

    Anyway, everyone I talked to was stunned by the sheer number and variety of antique & classic boats that assembled in Little Lake Joseph at the prescribed hour.

  10. Kaitlyn
    Kaitlyn says:

    There’s some really nice photos of the fleet of boats around those beautiful steamships. When you’re in the flock it’s a bit overwhelming at how big it became. Derek, Logan (my son, age 4) and I would definitely say it’s the highlight of our summer (if not year!!). Especially driving dad’s red restomode and seeing my logo proudly flying on those burgees. What an achievement!

  11. floyd r turbo
    floyd r turbo says:

    Lake Muskoka, Joseph, and Rosseau are some of the best boating lakes in North America and the Canadians do antique boating right and with flare. My US friend there said the cruise was absolutely electric.

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