MUSKOKAN - Muskoka’s lakes may be dominated by flashy fibreglass speed boats, but it’s the antique vessels that attract the most attention.
THE MUSKOKAN QUEEN.
Owned by Fred and Sue Jackson, the firewood-powered Lamplighter Queen cruised around Lake of Bays as part of the Lake of Bays Old Boat and Car Meet.
Old boat enthusiasts still come out in droves to all kinds of events in the region to show off their vessels and to check out what the neighbours are putting around in. Lake of Bays, in particular, is a hotspot of old boater activity and one group has been informally getting together on the lake for years now to show off some of the more interesting vessels on the water today.
Unofficially called the Lake of Bays Old Boat and Car Meet, the event, held August 27, attracted roughly a dozen boats to the Port Cunnington Lodge. Despite the overcast weather, more than 30 people took part in the meet.
The event acts as the spiritual successor to the Lake of Bays Association (LOBA)-run Silent Boat Rally. That event promoted quieter boat travel.
“We always participated in that, but gasoline powered boats didn’t participate,” said Graeme Ferguson, one of the organizer’s of this year’s meet. “That was all kayaks, rowboats and electric boats. That hasn’t been held for about three years, but LOBA is seriously considering reinstituting a version of it next year.”
At Monday’s meet, gasoline powered boats were very much welcome. In fact, anyone with an antique or just an interesting boat was welcome.
The cruise portion of the meet started at Port Cunnington and traveled around Bigwin Island before returning home. Ferguson said everyone in attendance seemed to enjoy the event and it’s very likely they will hold it again next year.
The star of the show was probably the Lamplighter Queen, which is a steamboat that was brought up from New York to take part in the meet.
“It’s actually a 15-year-old boat that was modeled on a century-old design. It was running on wood so he had a basket and wherever he stopped he would fill it up with firewood. Then he would put the wood in and the burned wood made the steam,” Ferguson said.
Owned by Fred and Sue Jackson of Schenectady, New York, the 21-foot Beckmann Compromise attracted a lot of attention during the cruise. Capable of reaching speeds of 11 kilometres an hour, the vessel is reminiscent of the famous African Queen.