Wednesday, 13 December 2017

News! See (fairly) exact replicas of Famous Raceboats at TIBS!

That's right! In the K&C boatshop our volunteers (Bernie & Bruce), like Santa's Elves, are frantically building two more sea fleas in time for the World Championship Indoor Sea Flea Races beginning on Jan 13 2018 on the Largest Indoor Lake in the World at TIBS.

 The new boats will almost be exact replicas of famous Canadian Raceboats, Gas-Hopper, Miss Canada, Canadiana Gran Prix and Miss Supertest. Our boats will have slightly different names to avoid confusion, Mini-Hopper, Mini-Miss Canada, Candiana Mini-Prix and Mini-Miss Supertest.

Here are the first two:

Rory in the Mini-Hopper at Gravenhurst

Mini-Miss Canada

And here are the new constructions as of this week,

George on Mini-Miss Supertest

Canadiana Mini-Prix under way
So stay tuned as we get these almost famous boats ready for the Great Event at the Boat Show!

We are still open for applications to be drivers if you have sea flea or outboard racing experience - especially during the week days! Email us at for more info!

Monday, 11 September 2017

Join us for our 2nd Annual Haul Out Party at MCC

Last year we had a blast at PCYC courtesy of our long time supporter Paul Schmidt and this year we are holding the HOP at Chris Rogers MCC (Mimico Cruising Club). Some of you will remember this club as it is one of our favourite destinations when we splash our boats in at the Humber Ramps. The club house second floor gallery has a great view over the boats and out to the lake - food has always been great and service very friendly.

Date is October 14th, Saturday so more of you can make it - without Toronto rush hour driving - and so we can add some boating to the event!

This is a unique joint venture between ACBS Toronto Chapter and Kids & Classics Boatshops (because I happen to be the event planner) so we can meet new folks and share different boating experiences.

And speaking of sharing experiences - a feature of the evening is the Liars Contest - a judged event with a prize for the most riveting somewhat true story. So dig up your past for all to hear and take your chances!

In the afternoon we plan to have several boats in the water at the club so we can do antique boat rides for early arrivers. Let me know if you'd like to participate by bringing a boat or going for a ride!

More anon, and you can register for this event on the ACBS website 

Great Show in Pt Credit - a first for K&C

We have been invited before to participate in the Port Credit In Water Boat Show but this year was our year to actually do it and what a delight it was. We were given the best booth location in the show (but not as good as next year's location!) and we had a great time on a beautiful day.

24 Shepherd was a draw for arrivals
Kids soon got into paddle carving

Dileas always a great hit too
Sea Fleas drew comments as usual

but the kids carving was busy all weekend

 Only problem was we used the last of the paddle banks in Buffalo and couldn't let these kids take theirs away - we could use a sponsor for this event - the blanks cost us about $2 each even though the profiling has been donated by ACBS's Scott Dunsmore's All Weld Co

Still it was lots of fun and we can thank Micheal, Paul, Ray, Bruce, JJ, Matt and Scott for making it all smooth!

Old Friends at Clayton Boat show

This was a great year to visit the Antique Boat Museum in Clayton NY, so Gretchen and I circled the lake to make a lovely weekend trip out of it. If you have not visited the ABM, it is a most amazing place even if your interest in boats is moderate. The history of the Thousand Islands is beautifully laid out through it's boats which of course made life on the islands possible in the first place. Here's a quick tour of the show.

GM really loving all these boats
note high water boards along the docks

several beautiful dinghys

beautiful HEMI in a 22' Shepherd

Hickman Sea Sled in collection
we got one of those!

what a pretty shape

 For me the best part was running into old friends....Rebecca who is now the ED of the museum - Cheers! and these three....

Joe Youcha designer of our skiff and founder of Teaching With Small Boat Alliance

Windswept III my favorite Ditchburn
Chrysler Queen hydro, best use of a HEMI

K&C Storms "Thunder in the Harbour" Buffalo

Well "Storms" might be overstating our presence but we did make a difference to a lot of kids who came to this raceboat regatta with their folks! Rich DeGlopper who we know well from Ontario Place days was a key organizer of this event so I was determined to participate. Our plan was to put the sea fleas in the water and have some fun - that part didn't work out....

Ron Popenko joined me to run the booth along with my chum Bill Knoche

we had the choice location next to pits with the racecourse across the driveway from us

Once Ron and I had the booth set up with the sea fleas out front, 24' Shepherd in the back and paddle carving benches in the middle - things started to hot up! Raceboats in front of us running circuits in the Outer Harbour and kids on the benches non-stop! We never had a break to put the sea fleas in the water! Dang!

Ron decides to test the system!
and becomes a masterful coach!

Bill also loved coaching the kids

lots of action and interest in K&C

We really had a blast and we were visited by several organizations who will be in touch because they love some of the things we get up to! My thanks to Ron and Bill for jumping in and making our participation noticeable. Rich was amazed at the constant attention we were generating - we are already invited back next year!

and this is a pretty good reason to go. Care to join us?

Boats 4 Folks floats another skiff and four kids!

The weather held off and we had a great weekend for this long planned for event. Four great kids came Saturday morning and by Sunday afternoon they had built a wonderful 12' skiff which didn't leak a drop! Therefore they got in it...

This was Matt's first time leading the event and he did a great job with the help of a great team.
sides attach to stem and centre frame

book-matching the sides is first job

soon it looks like a boat

one-on-one tool skills training is major part

day one is tool skills development, measuring, marking and cutting to a compound beveled line with a hand saw. Difficult for anyone with some tool skills but a real challenge for these beginners. Very patient coaching and resisting the temptation to jump in and just do it make our volunteers very strong of character! Finally on day 2 come the rewards - a very real boat emerges from the boatshop but some of the kids are saying "no way I'm getting in that - it'll come apart and sink".

time for a team shot before heading to the water
finished boat goes on the trailer
"It doesn't leak a drop"

 Once it's in the water and doesn't leak a drop, the ones who "knew it would sink" will finally get in and go for a row. Then you can't get them out....

first time at the oars, Matt coaching
soon, we're out of the boat - they're into it

solo rower - first time
thanks to Hill Top Quarry for the pool

It's an amazing experience to be a volunteer in this event, to cause the transformation of lives in such a dramatic way and to hear life stories shift as you are just believing in these kids. We are always open to welcoming new volunteers to our boatshop community. Everyone who becomes a regular brings something new to enrich the experience of us all. Thank you all especially Matt, Jim, Ray, JJ, Bruce, Bernie and John.

Monday, 24 July 2017

ACBS, Gravenhurst and paddles!

Our thanks again to Toronto Chapter of ACBS for inviting K&C to participate in their Gravenhurst show! It turned out to be a great day, they gave us the perfect location and we kept the kids busy - carving!

The K&C team was MB, Anthony, Micheal Freeman and Mike Leigh. We towed up the Dileas, Richardson, sea fleas and two skiffs (plus 5 carving benches and the booth!)

Dileas at nearest dock to booth

skiff across from Dileas

Paddle carving a huge hit - we ran out of blanks!

Mini-Hopper and Mini-Miss Canada also a big hit.

Windswept III, 1935 Ditchburn 52' Yacht heads to Gan.

I have known the 1935 Ditchburn, 52' Yacht Windswept III since 1993 or so along with her owner Gordon Russell. She participated in the first kids-at-risk and antique boats events I created at that time and she was the logo for Mahogany Harbour when I created that kids boat museum in 1999 with partners Gordon and Bob Bannerman.

Gordon has had her fully restored over those years and he and I have cruised her to Ottawa, Clayton, Niagara-On-The-Lake and many other interesting points along the way. For health reasons Gordon has passed her along to the new Thousand Islands Boat Museum in Gananoque and he asked me to captain her there. So the Last Cruise of the Windswept happened a few weeks ago - apparently on the only two sequential calm days of the year!

MB at the helm

never get tired of this view

Beauty shots in the Murray Canal
beautiful lines and details, custom built for Billies Brothers
Pirates off the port beam!
Steve Carter and Ian Russell

The cruise was amazingly smooth, Grant met us at Murray Canal and Ian took us all to dinner at Drake's. Second day saw us arriving in Gan to a lovely reception!

Classics Against Cancer a great day

Again this year we were invited to take a display and be part of the Classics Against Cancer Antique Car Show in Cedarvale Park Georgetown. This is a huge car show which has been going for decades - I used to participate with my 1928 Armstrong - Siddeley Touring and XK120 Roadster - when I had them.

This year weather was fine and we headed up with Dileas, Richardson, both sea fleas and our now slightly famous Paddle Carving event. As usual the paddle carving was a huge hit!

Jim discussing our sea flea programme
all carving benches busy

really amazing to watch kids get into making a beautiful thing!

The Paddle Carving Event was created by our volunteer George Graham a few years ago when we were asked to create a programme in the shop for the Police Diversions Programme kids. It went over so well we began adding it to any outing involving setting up a booth including TIBS, Gravenhurst ACBS Show etc. We are now receiving requests to bring our dog and pony show to events.

these Kids are helping their kids get it right - sure they are...

It does get a bit addictive to see those long shavings come rolling off the paddle blank, so we get kids of all ages "trying it for a minute"!