The Year of the Dippy
If you haven’t already heard, 2015 has been declared “the Year Of The Dippy”. The Toronto Chapter, Antique and Classic Boat Society, is honouring the 100th anniversary of this unique water-craft. Dispros will be the featured boat at the International Gravenhurst, Ontario show this coming July 11th.
Ian Dickson (left) explains Dippy features to the media gang
In anticipation of the Show, ACBS held a Dippy media event recently at the Muskoka Boat and Heritage Centre in Gravenhurst Ontario. (see photos). Invitees were reminded that the Dippy was created and patented by Billy Johnson and Edwin Rogers in 1915 in Port Sandfield/Port Carling.
The unique feature of the boat, of course, was its skeg protected, fully retracting propeller, which could be recessed manually into the hull of the boat. This was a wonderful feature for Muskoka’s rock laden waterways. The relatively light weight motor (and boat) made the D.P. a kind of sophisticated, spacious, powered canoe.
The Dippy’s simple steering system connects the external rudder by ropes to a small side wheel.
Over the years, in different locales and under different ownership, some 3100 of these iconic boats were built; generally, from 16.5 to 18.5 feet in length. Usually constructed of cypress or BC cedar, the Dispros’ one or two cylinder engines would propel them at a speed of five to seven miles per hour.
This single cylinder, Waterford copper jacket engine will propel a D.P at approximately 5 mph.
Today about 300 Disappearing Propeller Boats survive, much appreciated by their protective owners, who periodically set out with a Dippy armada on “misery tours” throughout Ontario’s numerous lakes.
Some Dispros feature a sturdy “pop up” bow light
More than twenty Dispros are expected at the Gravenhurst show in July. Along with the Dippies, visitors to the show can expect to see a wide variety of other wooden water-craft, a Sea Flea exhibit, a vendor’s row, as well as antique and classic cars from the Cobble Beach Concours D’Elegance.
For wooden boat enthusiasts, the Field Of Dreams will again offer numerous boats and boat parts for sale.
A dippy will carry five or six passengersin relative comfort.
If you needed an excuse to drive to Muskoka for a glorious weekend, the ACBS Boat Show provides the perfect rationale. See you there!