Heldena lll was designed by George Crouch for Fred Miller of Toronto and custom built by J.J. Taylor in 1920/21. She raced in several Gold Cup races at the CNE in 1921 and then disappeared until she showed up as a work boat at a lumber mill in Algonquin Park in the early 1970’s?
I found her sitting in a field outside the city of North Bay 10 years ago in terrible condition. when I saw her close up I knew she was something special by her lines and purchased her on the spot! I took her to Curtis Hillman who shook his head but agreed to bring her back to life. while stripping her hull down he noticed her engine compartment was lined with metal sheeting so he called in Matt Fairbrass who looked at her and said she must have been a race boat as their engine compartments were lined with metal to keep them from catching on fire from their overheated engines. When Curtis removed the 1960 Pontiac dashboard the lumber jacks had installed over the original wooden one there was a metal nameplate with J.J. Taylors & Sons name on it! Now the hunt was on, we were looking for a race boat built by Taylor but when? The design looked like the beginning of the century and Matt said she looked similar to a boat called Helena ll that J.J. Taylor had built in 1916 for a Fred Miller of Toronto. Rick McGraw had recently bought her derelict hull and had it restored to new by Peter Breen. Apparently after holding the world speed record for a year in 1918 she started losing to faster boats so Fred ordered George Crouch to design a faster one for him which J.J. Taylor built and delivered in 1921 and was named Helena lll. She raced in 1921 but then never again? What happened to her?? Well, sadly to say Fred Miller died suddenly over the 1921/22 winter and his boats were auctioned off. A descendant of Fred Miller’s family was said to remember that the boat was bought by someone from Lake of the Woods? However, my search of it found no one that recognized the boat. It’s hard to believe that a boat that looks like this could disappear for 50+years and not be remembered???
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