by Ian Devlin member of the Okanagan chapter
I am pleased to share some of my views about owning an historical antique boat and how I was able to learn some of the “secrets” that my old boat reluctantly gave up to allow me to understand what was happening. History lessons have always been one of my fascinations as I enjoyed/marveled at seeing the early innovations in boat building and the advances in mechanical engineering of the engine designs. I wanted to experience the feeling of turn of the century watercraft and was immediately interested in an old “grey hull” sitting out in the back field of Jimmy Potter’s boat yard in Manotick, Ontario, Canada.
Jimmy Potter was proudly showing me around his boatyard when I spotted a fascinating hull with beautiful lines that must have been a proud vessel in its day. The stern was particularly elegant demonstrating such a high degree of craftsmanship as the hull planks bent into the fan tail design. The space for a larger propeller was particularly of interest as I was thinking at that time about having a steam engine for propulsion, and the propellers would be much larger diameter.
September 2004 was the start of my education with building an antique boat and the decisions required to keep the hull historically accurate. I had a fixed wooden canopy installed as the gig for bending the oak boards for the deck forepeak were available to repeat the curve in the canopy. Also, I thought that the rigid canopy would be useful for the installation of the steam boiler equipment.
As the Inlet Belle was nearing completion in 2005, Jimmy found a complete 4 cylinder 20 Horse Power Kermath engine that was a perfect match for the restored hull. The decision was made to have a gasoline engine instead of steam power. This engine was subsequently determined to be a mid 1920’s vintage engine.
I am continuing with the search for historical documentation on the provenance of the “Inlet Belle/The Bargain” I have not yet found the company or boat builder. The last information is from the late 1920’s when Mr. Black was in Toronto and found the boat for sale. At this point the hull was probably considered as being an “old boat” but the age of the boat is currently not known.