Duke's Marine Service in Port Carling is reknowned for bringing boats back to life, so when owner, Ed Skinner, says a boat is the most decayed vessel he has ever worked on, you know the boat is in rough shape. The bare bones of the "Edith II" had spent decades in a backyard in Aylmer, Quebec. No one knows for sure just how long she had sat there, but it was long enough for a 12 in. diameter tree to grow next to the motor! All the interior woodwork was gone - either stripped out, or had rotted into the ground. The hardware was gone, even the oak ribs had succumbed, leaving only lines of copper rivets in the cypress planking to indicate where ribs once had been. Originally 'rescued' by boat collector Mike Krzyzanowski, it changed hands a few times before Gerry and Catherine decided to start to tackle the enormous job to make this boat the beauty she once had been.
After determining the make to be a Fay & Bowen, built in upstate New York, Lodge, Skinner, and friend Ken MacStephen began the research to figure out the boat's original appearance. They did determine that this boat was what Fay & Bowen called a Standard Launch, a vessel they made in various sizes, including the 26ft. model. These vessels were built only between 1905 and 1910. With no date markings anywhere on the boat, it was decided that "circa 1905" would be the descriptive year of the boat.
Over a period of six years, during which 90% of the boat was replaced, the Edith II emerged from Duke's Marine as a recognizable vessel! Surprisingly, 20% of the original planking was re-used, a testament to the quality of the wood. The inside was rotten from pine needles and leaves, and the soil had rotted the outside of the planks, but once that was all scraped off, the cypress wood in the middle was still good enough to be used.
The interior was the greatest challenge, since every element of the boat had to be designed by working from old catalogues and photographs. Hardware was an enormous challenge, as every piece needed to be made new. Gerry was kept busy contacting Fay & Bowen owners and borrowing cleats, rail mounts, whistles, etc to have them duplicated.
Although the original motor was determined to be a 10 hp Fay & Bowen, it was literally impossible to find one, so they settled on a 4 cyl., 20 hp Kermath from the 1920s.
After six years at Duke's, and who knows how long sitting in a field in Quebec, the Lodges christened this beautiful launch "The Edith II", and launched her in 2005, proudly displaying her in numerous boat shows across North America.
Her new home on the Indian River will see her often out on slow cruises for day trips and picnics, the exact kind of outings she was designed to do a century ago, when someone from another era purchased her brand new.
At the 2007 Gravenhurst Antique Boat Show