JJ Taylor

We are excited to share one of our newest restoration projects. One of only a handful of J.J. Taylor Metropolitan Toronto Police harbor Patrol Boats. Built in 1951 this 33 feet long stunner is a work of art.  Keep an eye on our facebook and instagram  to follow along with the progress!




Photo courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society 

Photo courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society 

Delusions: Any sane person should see this; At the Pioneer museum in Long Lake MN. is an exibit of what historians are touting as a prehistoric watercraft, carbon dated to the the tenth century A.D.

The recent story behind this lump of guesswork is that it had been in the way of a father/son team driving pilings for a dock in lake Minnetonka. The father did what any father would do and sent the son swimming to find out what the issue might be. The son drug up a large turd shaped piece of wood and the pile driving continued. The future artifact was hauled in to the garage where a local wag said it was a dugout canoe. An old indian dugout canoe. Well, the locals were abuzz with the find and eventualy it found it's way to the museum. The "vessel" Languished there for decades among the arrowheads and civil war muskets when finely, a "scientist" pulled the magic out of his hat and declared this to be the real deal. A thousand year old canoe they sang! A coup for the museum and an example of one of mankind's greatest inventions!

Well, this is where the sane person should look close. The first year naval architect student can see the inherent instability of this hoax. This thing could not float a 12 year-child with the measly freeboard it offers and the bilges are as round as a cigar. Add a paddle and a light breeze and it's no wonder that this thing was on the bottom of the lake. If it was a canoe, it wasn't one for very long. 

We love it when a boat has history behind it. Family, or some interesting story and we are loath to question the "facts" because we like the romance of the tale. The sane person, using logic, can see that what is displayed as a prehistoric canoe is no more than a half rotten basswood log that had been blown down, waterlogged and settled comfortably in anerobic decay for a thousand years. One hates to be the rain at the parade but if you are in the neighborhood, stop in on a Saturday and bring your sanity with you and leave your delusions at home.



Barney’s Bid

Barney Briggs stood well over six feet tall. His head topped with a tawny shock of hair and garnished with green crinkled eyes that could sell anything to anyone even if you didn't need it. He grew up on Bryant avenue in Minneapolis surrounded by concrete and houses built too close together but thrived in the neighborhood.

He was a well-fed teenager when the Empire of Japan decided to interupt shiploads of American sailors eating breakfast to cause another river of bloodletting in the world. Barney was shipped off to the Panama canal zone to ride out the business far away from anywhere bullets or bombs would cause harm.

Times were thick with hope when the heros returned and Barney went to the fresh lake fantasy of northern Minnesota. Barney was bopping along to a big band beat, at the well-known but rarely patroled Bar Harbor Supper club. The Mafioso that were on the lam loved the place.

A pretty young woman named Virginia caught his eye one night and later that year said "Yes" when Barney asked for her hand.

Life for Barney and Virginia went along in the same track as most post war families had, when Barney made plans to move to his beloved family to the north-lake country. In 1969 Nisswa spoke quaint volumes to Barney. That was the place. A cabin was built on the lake, his kids were enrolled in school, indoor plumbing, electricity, jobs secured.

Well into his new, settled life, Barney had begun to feel a void. Boats were needed in that part of the state if a man was to impress the neighbors or the kids. No one was told that night when He went to the auction. Century boats! They were on the block! Lord Almighty! A Resorter! A 1963!

At auctions, a person needs to understand the rapid fire prattle or keep his hands down. Barney, having been fueled by a covey of manhattans raised his hand at 1500. "Going once, twice sold!"

Virginia was not pleased when Barney's prize was brought home. She asked how many times he had bid and what had happened to his common sense. Barney just filled it with gas and backed it into the lake to the delight of his kids and the suprise of his neighbors. His move to the lake country was complete. The kids and Virginia jumped in and the fun began.

The fun lasted for years. Late in life, Barney tried to sell the old resorter to his daughter who harbored more sense than Barney had at the auction. Later, Barney found his long lost common sense and gave it to her. It occupied garage space for 14 years.

Barney and Virginia had sent some solid genes in to their gene pool. Their daughter, again using the common sense and good judgement her father had suppressed so long ago, brought it to Sunrise River Boatworks where able hands will fix and polish the Century better than it was in 1963. It will be named Barney’s Bid, and will find its way back home to Gull Lake.



Follow the Geese

It's tough to imagine what these noise-making waterfowl are honking about. A problem solving goose would have stayed in south Texas eating shrimp and mackeral until the northern lakes are free of frost but there must be some foundation for the phrase "bird-brained." A smarter being would be wanting a full belly and a mate to fly north with and instead stay for a while, camped out on a derelict boat anchored in Galveston bay. But no. They're here. Yah!

It must be spring. Raccoons are being swept out of a quiet hibernation behind the cushions of a thousand stern seats only to be run over on the road searching for love and half-eaten Super America breakfast sandwiches. Law Enforcement in 99% of towns never pursue these roadside tragedies. Raccoons don't vote.

Boats. Friends. Boats get to have SUNSHINE! Springtime will force us to once again, look in the bilge and find the under-sized sunfish that your grand daughter caught last fall and flopped through the ceiling on the starboard side. It's changed into a freeze-dried imitation of a fish shaped Rye Krisp. The Raccoons would have loved it but we'll send them off into the world to fend for themselves. Tragic really.

The ice on the lakes is almost out, a few dark area's of blackening rot, with glints of sunshine showing the impatient geese where to find a pond-sized bit of open water next to some cattails and begin to do the baby making thing. Spring! 
Spring is so much better than sucking your thumb in the fish house on a blizzard swept plain of ice listening to classic rock. Any amount of springtime is better than that.


Follow the geese everyone! Uncover that boat! Don't forage for food on the freeway and look forward to spring. Everything little thing is gonna be alright [ Bob Marley].



This Month in History

- 1982 The U.S. submarine Jacksonville collided with a Turkish freight in the Atlantic Ocean near Virginia posing the age-old question of "If two boats sail on the Ocean, how long can it be before one will crash into the other?

- 1864 The clipper ship 'Snow Squall' which was leaking badly, put into Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands.Her sad future was to become a jetty for the harbor. Sadder yet was that her bow that her bow found it's way to the otherside of the world in Maine and became a museum.

- 1992 A ferryboat carrying pilgrims to a Buddhist shrine shrine collided with an oil tanker in the Gulf of Thailand with the loss of 90 souls. All were re-incarnated as the entitled off-spring of Texas oil men.

-2006 The Colombian Navy [ of all things!] seized a 60 foot submarine designed to smuggle cocaine into The U.S. Makes a person wonder how many got away.

-1883 A barque rigged ship named the "Palestine" employed an officer named Joseph Conrad caught fire in the Indian Ocean. Three days later, she was abandoned leaving Conrad with delicious fodder for his story "Youth." Read it.

-1757 Admiral John Byng, British Royal Navy, was shot by firing squad aboard the the HMS 'Monarch' in Portsmouth Harbor, England,for dereliction of duty. Remember, don't hit on the Vice Admiral's daughter.

-1873 The crew of the clipper ship 'Blue Jacket' spent a week in open boats before being rescued by the German ship ' Prymont' north of the Falkland Islands. Fire in the cargo of flax was blamed.

-1873 The White Star Line, later infamous for naming the ships they would launch with an 'ic' at the end of their names, lost the liner 'Atlantic' off of the coast of Nova Scotia with 585 unaccounted for and presumed dead. Someone at the home office should have seen this as a trend.

-1912 The White Star Liner Titanic on her maiden voyage struck an iceberg in the north Atlantic and sank along with 1517 lives. See, I told you so.

-1918 Mistaken identity caused the French airship AT-O to sink the British submarine D-3 in the English Channel. Further proof that the French can only be trusted with words and never a depth charge.

-1783 The East-Indiaman 'Count Belgioso' sailing north past St. Davids Head, sailed into a trap in Dublin Bay and was wrecked along the shore with 147 lives. Friggin' Irish.