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by Rob

Miss Supertest III returns to Muskoka this weekend

August 2, 2019 in Uncategorized



Final Showing in Muskoka

The most famous race boat in Canada returns to Port Sandfield

on Civic Holiday weekend

PORT SANDFIELD, Muskoka — When Miss Supertest III was shown in Port Sandfield in early July, it was supposed to be the last time this amazing boat was on display in Muskoka this summer. Instead, the boat’s owner has decided to add one more viewing, in response to public request.

“We had so many people ask us where they could get a glimpse of this amazing boat this summer that we just had to agree to show her one more time,” says Murray Walker.

A showing like this is no small undertaking. Miss Supertest is 30 feet long and more than 12 feet wide. She is mounted on her side on a custom-made trailer, so the highest point of the boat is nearly 15 feet from the ground. The boat and motor alone weight more than three tons. “Moving this boat is a bit more complex than driving your typical boat and trailer,” says Walker with a chuckle.

But Miss Supertest is no ordinary boat. At one time she was the most famous boat in Canada, featured on the cover of Macleans and major daily newspapers after winning the Harmsworth Cup, an international challenge race that pits nation against nation.

In fact, she won the Harmsworth three times, the only boat before or since to achieve that feat. She was paraded down Yonge Street, shown at the CNE, and eventually spent many years on exhibit at the Ontario Science Centre.

This year marks the 60th anniversary of that first Harmsworth win, when Miss Supertest III defeated Maverick, considered the best boat in the United States.

To commemorate that win, the Miss Supertest team is showing the boat twice more this summer – on August 2 to 5 at Port Sandfield Marina in Muskoka, and on August 17-18 at the Vintage Boat Regatta in Rideau Ferry in Eastern Ontario.

That historic race win is also being marked with a remarkable twitter feed. On the anniversary of the Harmsworth race, August 24-27, @MSRaces1959 will feature a “live” feed of the three-heat race, capturing the drama and excitement of the event as if it were happening today.

While public showings are a lot of work, Walker says they’re also a lot of fun for him and the team. “Every time we show Miss Supertest, we have people come up and share their stories and their memories,” he says. People have sent photos, 8 mm films, and even the hand-written music for a fiddle tune that was written to commemorate that historic race victory.

“Miss Supertest wasn’t just a winning race boat. She was a point of Canadian pride, a reminder that we could build and run the finest boat in the world and beat any challenger,” says Walker. “We’re working to keep those memories alive.”

Facebook: @MissSupertestIII

Instagram: @MissSupertestIII

Twitter: @MSRaces1959  ‘Live’ twitter feed of the 1959 Harmsworth race will take place August 24-27.

by Rob

A new hydroplane is underway in Honey Harbour, Georgian Bay.

January 25, 2017 in Uncategorized

McCullough hydroplane

Congratulations  to Bill and Mike McCullough, who  are building this race boat in  their Honey Harbour shop this winter. Bill is the builder with Mike as side-kick.  Bill worked with Vic Carpenter, (Superior Sailboats) for many years in the 80s and also worked for Gary Clarke for a few projects where he gained the knowledge of fine boat building.
This hydro is a new build and a copy of a 1936 Bruce Crandall design 135 CU Inch Stepped Hydroplane Race Craft. Originally these craft were 15′. The McCulloughs  “jumbo-ized” the plans and made a 19′ version, using white oak frames and western red planking for looks and lightness. In between each frame are two steamed oak ribs. Planking will be West System affixed and copper riveted for extra strength and amazing looks. Bill and Mike are choosing a modern Chev. 350 magnum EFI for a power plant, which certainly will make it fly! It is a proven hull and will be a joy to run. The McCulloughs will have the the boat completed for Spring of 2018. The hydro will be tested and up for sale. For further information, please contact Mike at at islandmike2(at)hotmail.com to set up a viewing.

by Rob

“Batboat” auctioned by Bonhams in the U.K.

January 18, 2016 in Uncategorized

This iconic racer was recently auctioned off by Bonhams auction house in the UK. Bidding was expected to reach $120-$150,000 CDN,
The boat was a 1914 British International Trophy Motorboat Racing Championship Contender
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Batboat III – Hispano-Suiza Engined Racing Hydroplane
Coachwork by J Samuel White & Co, Cowes, Isle of Wight and Maynards of Chiswick
Length: 25ft (7.6 metres)
Beam: 6ft (1.83 metres)
Draught 2ft (0.62 metres)
The ‘Batboat’ series of racing motorboats was designed between 1912 and 1914 by John Montague Batting, a keen sporting automobilist and sailor. ‘Batboat III’ was built specifically to contest the Harmsworth-sponsored British International Trophy race of 1914 and was of lighter construction than the heavyweight opposition, representing a new direction in racing hydroplane development. The original powerplant was an in-line six-cylinder aero engine built by the Green Company, rated at 100 horsepower. A detailed description of this craft’s pioneering method of construction is recorded in the Motor Ship and Motor Boat dated 6th August 1914, copies of which are available for inspection.

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In the same edition of this magazine a detailed account is given of the first round of trials for the British International races held under the auspices of the Royal Motor Yacht Club at Netley, off Southampton water. ‘Batboat III’ finished 2nd in the first trial behind the much more powerful (300 horsepower) ‘Crusader’, the average speeds for the two fastest boats being 36.6 and 35.0 knots respectively, and the maximum speed attained nearly 50 knots. In the event, the commencement of hostilities in Europe meant that the actual races were never run.

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Although racing for ‘Batboat III’ would be postponed indefinitely, the advent of war saw it deployed in a new role: as mobile test-bed for nautical engineering and development. Subsequently, during the 1920s, ‘Batboat III’ was used for research into torpedo design, being fitted with two Vauxhall 30/98-type engines and twin-screw propulsion. The latter form of drive, when applied to torpedoes, prevented them from turning off course, thus enabling much more accurate targeting.

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The Motor Boat of August 31st 1934, some ten years later, gives a brief insight into that purpose within an article relating to exploits of the second known owner of ‘Batboat III’ – a Commander Belleville, RN – who had acquired it in the early 1930s. A photograph reproduced in the article shows modifications to the engine covers and cockpit layout, which was extended aft to accommodate two persons in comfort with a small bench seat behind them. Exhaust stubs can be seen protruding from the port-side hull, while an examination of the hull today reveals later repairs covering these exhaust modifications.
Commander Belleville and, subsequently, members of his family retained ownership of ‘Batboat III’ well into the 1980s, when it next changed hands. By this time further changes had been made in the interests of maintaining the craft for pleasure pursuits. Some time prior or just after WW2, the twin engines were removed and replaced by a single Gray Marine ‘Fireball’ motor giving a top speed of approximately 40 knots – no mean feat for a boat now 60 years old and still going strong! Because ‘Batboat III’ was now principally used in salt waters, the original lightweight aluminium deck fittings had been replaced by more durable bronze, and the aluminium engine covers substituted for heavier and more stable ones of cedar and mahogany. Still sporting racing numbers from the late 1930s, ‘Batboat III’ was offered for sale in this form in the mid-1980s, and a comprehensive survey was commissioned by the new owner from Derek Haswell, naval architect and yachting consultant of Broadstone, Dorset. His extensive report (dated 17th July 1986, copies available) is of great interest, detailing once again the boat’s original construction methods and remarking on its fine build quality and excellent state of preservation.

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In this form the boat was purchased by the current owners a year or two later, and it has since undergone further restoration over an extended period in order to re-equip it using components more suited to its original conception. The hull was stripped and completely checked throughout, all but some decking being found perfectly sound, particularly the double-thickness hull with its oiled canvas sandwich construction, which remained perfectly intact. Some deck planks have been replaced to match the originals, while all the deck fittings remain as fitted in the 1930s.
Motive power is now supplied by a marinised Hispano-Suiza V8 aero engine of the type fitted to such WWI aircraft as the SE5-A and SPAD. This particular 10.5-litre example with Capitol Marine conversion dates from the early 1920s and is rated at 220hp; it has been refurbished and is a snug fit in the hull, which has recently been re-varnished and repainted below the waterline. Capitol Marine’s conversion provides a 12-volt electric self-starter, together with a dynamo for charging and lighting. Ignition is by twin distributors. A new phosphor-bronze propeller has been specially computed to match the power output and is geared to give approximately 50 knots at around 2,000 revs. Still to the original layout, the steering is by wire cable externally to starboard by pulleys and quadrant atop the rudder.
The cockpit is equipped with new wickerwork seats with leather cushions to an aviation pattern of 1914, while the dashboard is a new aluminium casting incorprating a complement of instruments including an early chronometric rev-counter, oil-pressure gauge, clock, etc, all of which are approximately contemporaneous with the original build date.
Currently the engine is running in after refitting, and a further period of commissioning may be needed on the water. Batboat III comes with a tailor-made, dual-purpose wheeled cradle, for either slipway launching or permanent storage when off the water, which can easily be accommodated on a flat-bed transport trailer or truck.
A folio of useful documentation and photos relating to its history, together with two large-format original photographs, taken by Beken of Cowes in the 1950s, accompanies this important and extremely rare survivor of the Golden Age of motorboat racing.

by Rob

Friday March 21, 2014

March 21, 2014 in Uncategorized

Rainbow III
With Spring officially here (at least in theory), it’s time to begin fantasizing about wooden boating. We hope that the photos of Rainbow III’s restoration will add to your determination to get on with your own restorative work, or at least go wooden boating!
One of the iconic race boats from the Muskoka Region is Rainbow III is a 25 ft gold cup racer with an external rudder which now resides on Carnelian Bay, CA, United States. Designed by Harry Greening she set a world distance record of 1060 miles in 24 hours on Lake Muskoka. Her hull design has been replicated on numerous boats both old and even today her lines appear on many interpretations of the Gold Cup race boat.
Even clothing Designer Mogul Tommy Hilfiger has shown off Rainbow III in his 2008 Fall Winter Campaign. Click on the Hilfiger ad photo to see Rainbow III and Ditchburn history
rainbow IIIa

by Rob

Sunday March 9, 2014

March 9, 2014 in Uncategorized

1929 European Race Boat Decades Ahead of Its Time.
Cigar Boat 3Cigar Boat 4
We recently received news of an incredible one-of-a-kind 1929 Finnish race-boat, constructed by top marine builders as an experimental prototype. The boat, called Sikari, (meaning “Cigar”) is currently undergoing restoration, after many years in storage, to be ready for the summer of 2014.
Enjoy the story, photos and video below.
The boat is called Sikari, and she was built in 1929 in Turku, Finland. The company that built it was Finland’s most known boat building company, Åbo Båtvarf – Turun Veneveistämö. The boat was designed by the name “Snabbgående Experiment Motorbåt” which is Swedish and means “fastgoing experimental motorboat”. So the boat was an experiment, a prototype and she was built for the company’s own purposes. It may have been a prototype of a new kind of a motortorpedo boat, but that’s just speculation. It’s not sure if it was Zake Westin, Bruno Westin or Jarl Lindblom who designed the boat but it has been said that all the major designers of the company were involved. Originally the boat had either a 6 cylinder Universal or a Scripps engine.

The company didn’t sell Sikari to a private owner until the beginning of the 1950s. At that point the boat didn’t have an engine and the new owner, Vieno-Verner Sillanpää equipped it with a Ford Flathead V8 engine. With a V8 flathead the boat is capable of 60 knots speed. The boat is designed so that the propeller pierces the surface of the water. The boat’s design is unique and I have never seen one like it. This boat really is one of a kind.

Sikari has been in my family since the late 1970s when my father bought her and started restoring her. She was stored for many years, but now we are working to get her back to water next summer. We had her in two exhibitions in spring 2013, Vene 13 Båt boat exhibition and American Car Show 2013 both in Helsinki, Finland.

I have included pictures from the exhibitions and older pictures too. Here is a video I have of Sikari:

Best regards,
Jani Vahto
Cigar Boat 2Cigar Boat-1
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Port Carling Boats – Antique & Classic Wooden Boats for Sale