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Rita Arrives

July 22, 2021 in Uncategorized


It is always a special occasion when Rita leaves her boathouse. This 50-foot private launch was built in 1914 by Minett.  At 107 years old, she is one of the longest surviving wooden boats built in Muskoka. She arrived at the Muskoka Steamships and Discovery Centre yesterday morning after a brave journey through very windy conditions on Lake Muskoka. By all accounts, it was smooth sailing and a first-go success at navigating the narrow slip at the MSDC. Her flagstaff had to be removed to make it through the door unscathed. Not a mark was put on her bright, white hull.

All the family was aboard for the event to celebrate her transfer to the Centre. She will be on display for the summer and possibly through the winter storage months as well. She features all the classic elements of an early Minett launch including the ornate dash. Her controls show just how complicated she might be for a less experienced captain to drive.

Not seen from the exterior, Rita has a cute little “head” and kitchen area, set off in traditional porcelain. She offers a cozy interior cabin space to protect from the sun and other elements, but her showcase feature is the stern deck, with elegant canopy. The circular rope floor covering creates a dazzling effect to the space.

Rita is powered by a Sterling Petrel engine with twin ignition.

There are only a handful of private launches now in Muskoka. The old boathouses around Beaumaris indicate just how many large private launches once plied the waters of Muskoka.

By Tim Du Vernet

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