June 13, 2019

Cliffe ShopEven as a teenager, Charlie Cliffe (1921-2017) was interested in building boats. In 1947, he went to work at Link Manufacturing in Gananoque, milling the planks and other components for their line of canoes and runabouts. Only a few years later, however, Link ended their brief foray into boat building and Charlie Cliffe had the opportunity to purchase their moulds and other materials.

Taking these back to the family farm in Wilstead, he started his own sideline business, and a couple of years later he left Link to pursue boat building full-time. Before long, Cliffe began to design his own models and switched from cedar – used by Link – to mahogany lapstrake construction.

In 1960, another opportunity presented itself when Link Mfg. closed its Gananoque factory. Cliffe, with new partner Joe MacDonald, bought the property and moved production there. Along with the benefits of being on the St. Lawrence River, the larger shop enabled Cliffe Craft to produce more and bigger vessels. During the 60s, they produced runabouts and cruisers in the 16 to 26 ft range, which sold well, and at one point they built a 35 ft patrol boat for the OPP. The Gananoque factory employed about ten people.

Cliffe BoatSales of wooden boats fell during the 1970s, and Cliffe Craft began to focus more on custom building. Finding it too expensive to switch to fiberglass production, they instead sold boats by other manufacturers. In 1984 Cliffe Craft ceased construction of wooden boats, but continued to do repair and restoration work. During the late 1990s, the business shifted to the manufacturing of wooden reels and Charlie Cliffe retired. He did, however, continued to build small boats at a shop near his home.

• Gerry Hatherley

Gerry Hatherley is a researcher and writer for the Archives at Muskoka Steamships and Discovery Centre. His main focus has been on the vintage boat builders of Muskoka. Gerry lives in Gravenhurst, ON, and has deep family roots in the region.

This article is the CYOB’s sixth in a series of articles and photos. The series is nine at the moment but Gerry is working on another six or seven. Other articles in the series include:

Aykroyd Brothers

Bastien Boats of Hamilton, ON

Grew Boats

Gidley Boats

Gilbert Motor Boat Company

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Beneteau Oceanis Yacht 54By Zuzana Prochazka

Beneteau saw an opportunity to add a little thrill to any cruising adventure, so they took the hull of the First 53 racer (introduced just last year), and with a few fashionable changes, created the Oceanis Yacht 54, the new entry-level of Beneteau’s swanky Oceanis Yacht line. The result is a performance cruiser that sails like a witch and looks like a grande dame.

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Roberto Biscontini is the naval architect and Lorenzo Argento created the details of the exterior and interior design. 

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Mia and Caleb's EngagementOn July 23 last year, CYOB published a piece on a beautifully restored 1967 Trojan 42 Motor Yacht in Oromocto NB. (That piece was also expanded in CY magazine later in the year.)

One of our Canadian Yachting contributors, Denise Miller, had shared the article on my social media and a young man reached out and asked if she could connect him with the owners of the boat, Dave and Barb. Denise leapt into action and Dave and Barb were thrilled. They concocted a plan that the young lady, Mia, thought she was coming to model for a sales brochure for Dave to do charter tours.

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