altAntique and Classic Boat Shows Round-up

Whereever you travel in Canada this summer, if you plan the dates right, you could spend a glorious day admiring, photographing, perhaps listening to and maybe even riding in an antique or classic boat!

There are shows planned across Canada from Victoria, BC to Hubbard’s Cove in Nova Scotia with plenty of great events in between.

Unfortunately, the first date is already past, but keep this in mind for next summer. This past June 24- 26, 2011 was the 20th Annual Wooden Boat Show in Mystic Seaport, Connecticut. An interesting aspect of this show is that families (including those with no previous experience) can actually enroll build a real boat at the show!

The Antique and Classic Boat Show held at the Muskoka Wharf in Gravenhurst, Ontario by the Antique & Classic Boat Society Toronto usually takes place the second weekend in July with a full program for all. The event begins Friday evening at the Muskoka Boat and Heritage Centre (Grace and Speed museum) where members will gather for the annual friends’ reunion – a casual event. Guy and Kathy Johnstone, owners of Kittyhawk, this year’s poster boat, will be in attendance to share the wonderful history of their boat. Kittyhawk’s original owner was Orville Wright (yes, that Orville Wright) who vacationed on Georgian Bay. Typically, this show attracts up to 100 boats in the water with more on land, as well as on display in the nearby Grace and Speed museum.

For a very different type of boating event, you might want to plan your summer vacation around the 50th Anniversary of the Nova Scotia Schooner Association Races. This very special event takes place July 31 to August 7 in Hubbards Cove, Nova Scotia. After a full two years of planning, it is expected to be one of the most spectacular collections of Nova Scotia schooners to gather together in one port in a very long time.

Skippers and crews are busy preparing their boats, varnishing the masts and tuning their rigs in anticipation of this sailing season’s most exciting event hoping their boat will bring home “The Herald and Mail Trophy”, won for best overall race performance of the week. More than twenty schooners are expected to pull into Hubbards Cove throughout the day on July 31.

Then on August 5-7, 2011, it is the 47th edition of America’s oldest antique boat show, the Antique Boat Show at the Antique Boat Museum in Clayton, New York located in Thousand Islands area of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, only 20 minutes from the Canadian boarder and well worth the drive for antique boat fans.

As always, the Museum campus will be full of antique and classic boats – the special feature for 2011 is a focus on boats designed by John L. Hacker. The Auction, conducted by Antique Boat America, is scheduled for Saturday, August 6. But the museum is open 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. daily, from May 13 through October 10 for the 2011 season. It’s a great facility. Plan about 1.5 hours to visit the museum which is wheelchair-accessible, with paved paths meandering between the buildings and across beautifully landscaped lawns and gardens.

Another excellent event and a great summer tourist destination is the Montreal Classic Boat Festival planned for August 19-21, 2011. The Montreal Classic Boat Festival is hosted by Heritage Maritime Canada and will be held at the Quays of the Old Port of Montreal, in downtown Montreal.

Classic boats, tugs and sailboats will be on display in the heart of Montreal! This is an urban maritime event with a unique French twist. The in-water boat show will be accompanied by land displays, live music, workshops, seminars and a marketplace. Also, this is a judged show which generally attracts some of the best and most beautiful boats, vying for the prizes and recognition.

Out in beautiful BC, you can enjoy the Classic Boat Festival. Every Labour Day Long Weekend, Victoria’s Inner Harbour is the place to be when classic sail and power boats from throughout the Pacific Coast and beyond arrive for the Classic Boat Festival. This is the premier wooden boat show in the Pacific Northwest, drawing more than 200 vessels in a wide variety of categories from steam launches to gaff-rigged schooners.

On the Saturday afternoon, spectators can see the delightful parade of steamboats cruising the Gorge Waterway. The steamboats leave the Inner Harbour around 2 p.m. There is no admission charge for spectators to view the vessels in the Festival. The highlight, however, takes place on Sunday morning with the Sailpast. All vessels leave the Inner Harbour to take the salute from the Honorary Commodore. On Sunday afternoon, spectators enjoy the annual Schooner Cup and Classic Open Sail races.

Chippewa, an Edwardian Gentleman’s Launch!

75 years young and only a few stories to tell! Chippewa was built by Wm. LaFontaine of Sandusky, Ohio in 1936 as a service boat for the Lake Erie Islands in the western end of the Lake. Her early history is still being explored but we do know that somewhere about 1980, Robert Kerr saw her while she was having a new stem installed. Nice thing about an old wooden boat...eventually you end up with a new wooden boat! Smitten by her sweet lines, he purchased her and transferred her to the Canadian Registry. Her upper works, and indeed everything but the hull may charitably be best described as early Beaver Lumber and were quickly dispatched to the nearest landfill. Bob and his family reefed out all the seams and then splined them. Multiple coats of epoxy followed inside and out.

Enter the designer! Bob contacted me about this hull he had and so my wife and I spent an afternoon taking off her lines, tough on the knees but very rewarding. Several sketches followed and Bob loved the Gentleman’s Launch one best. So what you see is just under two acres of varnish covering tongue and groove black cherry, a magnificent wood. The interior is properly described as “furniture”, and having been brought up in the C&C family, that is how it should be described. Inside the vesselk, bookmatched black cherry panels surround you in an opulence only rivalled by the Orient Express. Another C&C alumnus, Brion Jorgensen, was responsible for most of what you see in the way of woodwork. A modern diesel and other new systems work together to make this a unique yacht in so many ways.

So what does it take to be the custodian of such a boat, you don’t own them as much as keep them going. As well you need a sense of proportion and a steady income ! A good yard helps too!