Month: June 2016

Canadian Boat History For Sale…in America

 

Miss-Canada-IV-Returns-to-Muskoka_0001Former Speed Record Holder Miss Canada IV listed for sale on Antique Boat America

In what could be another unfortunate example of our country’s oversight in preserving our own history, a signifigant piece of it appears for sale in an American classified ad. Antique Boat America recently listed speedboat record holder Miss Canada IV on their website for $775,000 US dollars. Peter Mellon from Antique Boat America does mention though that
they are the only Antique and Classic Boat Broker in North America with a Canadian presence / office and full time staff. They are working hard to make sure this piece of Canadian history remains in Canada. Mellon states they are “working diligently to keep this boat in Canada as it is an iconic piece of Canadian race boat history.”
Miss Canada IV is a late 1940’s Unlimited class race boat originally owned and driven by Harold & Lorna Wilson who, on Sunday, October 2, 1949 took Miss Canada IV into the history books. The result was a North American speed boat record of 138.865 m.p.h., which exceeded the best American boat by 12 m.p.h. Miss Canada IV was built by Greavette boats in Gravenhurst, ON and powered by a 3,000 HP Rolls Royce Griffon engine, the largest aero engine in the world at that time. The powerplant was still on the British classified list when British authorities allowed it to be brought to Canada to challenge the Americans for the coveted Harmsworth Trophy. The Harmsworth Trophy was the pinnacle of international speedboat racing with each boat entered having to be entirely from the country of which it represented. The Rolls Royce Griffon engine was a 37 litre, V-12, liquid-cooled airplane engine designed and built for WW2 use, mainly in Shackleton bombers, and in Spitfire fighters near the end of the war.

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The WW2 era Rolls Royce V12 Griffon engine that powers Miss Canada IV.

In 1950, the Americans grew wary of this new speedboat marvel from Canada, and the Harmsworth Trophy was where their concerns were put to the test. Unfortunately, in the first heat of the race, Miss Canada IV suffered serious steering and hull damage and had to be pulled from competition. She was later taken to Picton, ON where she attempted to break the World Speed Record in the Bay Of Quinte but suffered a gearbox blowout nearing 200MPH. The Wilsons sold the boat to Gord and Jim Thompson, who raced her under the Miss Supertest name before retiring her to build their own boats.

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Attempting to reach the World Speed Record in the Bay of Quinte near Picton, ON (Photo lesliefield.com)

Apparently lost in a fire, Miss Canada IV was found years later decaying in a farmer’s field sometime in the 1980s near Windsor, ON. Harold & Charles Mistele bought her and restored her before it was placed in the Ingersoll Cheese & Agricultural Museum. In the 2000s it was acquired by Bobby Genovese of Lake Rosseau in Muskoka where it was completely restored and unveiled at the Gravenhurst Boat Show. I was in attendance and had the pleasure of being rumbled awake by the sound of its V12 engine one morning.

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Miss Canada IV unveiled after restoration in Gravenhurst, On in 2013.

Miss Canada IV appeared in Picton last year where I got to see her up close again as she attempted to break the speed record on the same waters she once plied in 1950. Yet those efforts were thwarted once again when bizarre winds and weather prevented Miss Canada IV from performing.

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Keeping an eye on this Canadian boating marvel, I recently noticed this important part of our nation’s history ironically appear on the Antique Boat America classified ads. These are good people at Antique Boat America having dealt with them in the past, and I know they would like nothing more than this boat to remain in Canada. We just need someone to make this happen…like our Canadian Museums. Yet, I fear due to “budgets” and whatever other excuses, this will be an unlikely outcome. Here is the ad with live link to it below:

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http://www.antiqueboatamerica.com/ab_list_boatNew.asp?Left=&Type=ViewBoat&BoatId=37213

Her proud Canadian heritage all up for grabs to anyone with $775,000 USD. To have such an important piece of Canadian history end up anywhere else than in a Canadian museum would be a tragic fate that this country would regret. I hope someone will please take notice and make sure Miss Canada IV remains in Canada.

Thank you.

Andrew King 2016

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