A Family Boat for Over 60 Years Like any young boy growing up in the late 1920s and early 30s Earl Osborne had a deep interest in aviation. This lead to building and flying model airplanes and eventually gaining his pilots licence. A tool and die maker by trade he went on to build an addition to his house, a garage and an array of woodworking pieces. These skills and an interest in navigation collided in the late 1950s when he started to think about building a boat. The various kit boats on the market were considered but he settled on cold molded technology. In July 1960 he purchased a 15’ cold molded plywood mahogany hull with keels laid and transom installed and filled with lumber to complete the job, from Hansa Boat Company located in Unionville. Cost was $248. Mom Mildred Osborne kept track of costs and hours spent – a new 40 hp Johnson for $600 with the remote control option adding another $37. Spending nights and weekends in the garage, and interrupting neighbours television reception with his power tools, Earl finished the job in a few short weeks and the boat was ready to launch in August. Never named and known to us by its registration number 54E837, the boat was designed to serve an array of purposes – boat rides on Lake Ontario and Sparrow Lake, water sports for growing boys and their friends and the joy of boat trips which became known as “boat cramping”. Earl passed away before he could see the next generation fully enjoying his handiwork and the 1960 Johnson was showing its age. Mom Osborne wanted to see the boat used to its fullest so she purchased a nice new 1989 Evinrude 50 from another wood boat builder, Don Hyde of Hagersville. The boat eventually passed to current owner Bob Osborne (brother Don already had a boat). As the boat approached 50, age and rot had caught up to it. Brackley Boats of Gravenhurst undertook a major restoration in the fall of 2008 and it returned to the water for the 2009 season. While its role in the Osborne family has been overtaken by bigger, faster and more powerful boats it spends most of its time stored indoors. It does make an annual trip to Sparrow Lake, including this past June 2021. As it approaches yet another birthday our goal is to one day have it in the water at the ACBS annual show in Gravenhurst. The photos include Earl Osborne working at construction and finishing, the Hansa Boat invoice, original registration, launch day 1960, on Sparrow Lake 1964, “boat cramping” on the Rideau,watersports, Mildred and Earl Osborne beached at Peche Island, restoration by Brackley Boats, second, third and fourth generations and on Sparrow Lake at age 61. Bob Osborne, ACBS Toronto
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