Rambler Cruises Anew!

24th July 2014
Rambler Renewed and Glowing

By Tim Du Vernet

Rambler, long a well-recognized feature at the Muskoka Lakes Association Boat Show, has returned to the lakes refreshed and renewed and ready for a new life with Bobby Genovese at the helm. We hope she will once again come to the boat show this year for August 9, in Port Carling.

Rambler is one of those boats on Lake Rosseau that connects generations of summer residents. Parents remember it and their children will hopefully continue to remember it.

At 70 feet, she isn’t the most nimble or simple boat to care for and house. Through the years that Tim Chisholm owned her and since Genovese has as well, she has been kept in a boat house up on Lake Joseph and lifted each season using a complicated system of hoists. Soon she will have a new home on Lake Rosseau.

Paul Brackley, of Gravenhurst’s Brackley Boats, was given the task of restoring her. This was a huge challenge, given her size and state. It took nearly three years , working in very demanding conditions to repair and restore her 38 tons of mahogany on steel frames and oak decking.

Rambler’s effective, but somewhat smelly, 170 hp diesel engine can push her along at speeds up to 15mph. Although not as proportionately narrow as the Wanda III, she is still very narrow at only 10’. She was built by Polson Iron Works in 1903.

Unquestionably one of the most stately boats in Muskoka, Rambler’s colourful flags, now sporting her owner’s insignia, white hull and the rich tones of her oak decks and cabin combine to be a spectacular sight on the lakes during a warm summer’s day.

It must have taken a great deal of nerve and or skill for Tim Chisholm and his staff to drive her. Her tall form easily catches the wind and she originally only had a single screw and rudder to direct her.

In the process of her restoration, rational heads succeeded over originality and she now has bow and stern thrusters to help manage difficult docking situations. With a remote control at the ready, a simple push of a button can direct an effective push left or right at the stern or bow. I am sure the thrusters will save Rambler from possible damaging bumps with docks or worse.

Rambler will be a welcome site, coming through the Indian River into Port Carling. It will be easy to see her when she comes.

Summer Excitement is Here

By Tim Du Vernet

The ACBS-Toronto boat show is looming large now. With just one weekend to go! For wooden boaters, the show represents a serious start to the season with the long weekend past.

While ACBS-Toronto organizes the event hosted by the Town of Gravenhurst, the ACBS is a big organization and draws participation to this show from several of its chapters.

That means both boating participants and spectators alike will get to enjoy a broad range of classic boats from as far away as Florida, Ottawa, and beyond.

As classic boat collecting matures, more and more fiberglass boats become vintage and historically significant. This year’s show will combine all classic craft into a one day public event on Saturday with member activities happening Friday through Sunday.

Once again, the ever popular card board boat building event will be fun for youth and families as well as those who love to see just how far a card board boat can go.

A special highlight of this year’s event is the return of Miss Canada IV to Gravenhurst. Built by Greavette Boats, she will be the centre of attention at 12:00 with official ceremonies. The return of Miss Canada represents the co-ordinated efforts of many people from Ingersol to Gravenhurst. She will be part of a remarkable documentary film titled “Harold and Lorna”.

The show boat is the very historically significant KITTYHAWK. This name is tied to aviation history as well as more humble boating history on Georgian Bay.

Built in 1929 by Gidley Boats, KITTYHAWK started her career as a taxi boat. She came up for sale and Orville Wright bought her in 1931 after she a hardtop had been added.

KITTYHAWK was his Georgian Bay boat, where he spent the summer. At 32’6” and substantial freeboard , KITTYHAWK, is ready to handle the waters of Georgian Bay. Perhaps her sturdy nature is one of the features that attracted Orville Wright. The Gidley “Gull” model is described in the brochure as an all mahogany express runabout, equipped with a Kermath engine. A “general purpose craft she has a passenger capacity of eight plus incidental baggage accommodation.”

Shis is currently owned by Guy and Kathy Johnstone, who summer on Georgian Bay in an area known as Franceville East. KITTYHAWK will be brought to Lake Muskoka and launched specially for the show. It is expected that representatives of the Wright family will be present for the special showing of this remarkable boat.

Once again, there will be lots to see at this year’s boat show. Remember, the show is one day only with a modest admission fee.

The ACBS will also be selling posters featuring the KITTYHAWK in two versions, the production version and a very exclusive, limited edition version produced by Tim Du Vernet. More updates on the show next week!