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Bigwin Boat Restoration

Posted by Lorac Wednesday, 11 August 2010

On the way home from the cottage on the weekend we had the opportunity to see this lovely steamship, restored and docked in the narrows in Dorset. I had not had the opportunity to see her prior to this although I did see her in dry dock when the restorations were being done. From their fabulous website I was able to get the history of this beauty!
"The Bigwin is 66' in length with 11' 8" beam and depth of 6' 1" with a registered weight of 25 tons. After years of neglect, the boat sat partially submerged on the bottom of her slip at Bigwin Inn."
The ship was brought to the old Clayton property wharf for restoration. The old building itself was used to sell tickets by the Huntsville, Lake of Bays Navigation Company and storing shipments and mail for the Bigwin Livery Company. The upstairs was used as sleeping quarters by the ship captains of the Mohawk Belle and the Iroquois steamboats.

The Bigwin arriving in it's new home in Dorset.

Marine Museum

The finished Bigwin Steamship docked at the wharf beside the new Marine Museum. She is stunning!

The new steam engine.

In this picture of the wheelhouse the back of the Marine Museum is seen as well as other local buildings reflected in the new glass.

The original stack from the Bigwin at the back of the Museum.

 The hull is planked in Douglas Fir,the transom in Mahogany.

The upper deck hasn't had the seats added yet for tourists.

It was ships such as this that opened up the lake to settlers and tourists in the last century or so. The Lakes and rivers were the highways and the steamers the transportation.

Bigwin Steamboat Restoration

1. Repair all steel frames, clean and prime with rust inhibiting paint.

2. Plank the hull.

3. Replace the keel and deadwood.

4. Repair the deck on the bow, stern and sides.

5. Rebuild the Wheelhouse.

6. Purchase, refurbish and install steam engine, propeller shaft and propeller.

7. Install new windows.

8. Install submersible pumps and put Bigwin in the water moored to the wharf in Dorset.

There plenty of watery shots to see at Watery Wednesday! Go take a look for yourself here! Out door Wednesday has wonderful photos too! Go here!


  1. What a beautiful ship and what a great job they did restoring it. And I love the name.

  2. What a great place to go and wander and take some photos...which I am glad you did!

  3. we have a boat restoration project too. It is at a motorway, and each time I want to photograph it. the cars travels too fast.

    As our seasons are reversed of yours, I think right now, we have a Canadian only competition here. Every year, your skiers come to New Zealand to train.

  4. eileeninmd Says:
  5. Wow, the restoration is just beautiful. What a neat boat. Great photos.

  6. I enjoyed this post, Lorac. I would like to see this in person so will be off to google Dorset. :)

  7. I just realized I have been in Dorset! I saw your photo of the Marine Museum and had an aha! moment. Now I want to go back!

  8. Unknown Says:
  9. Amazing photography as always. Admired the work on the boat. In my little children's story the sailing vessel was hard to write about as I've never sailed on a trow, no longer exist except for in a museum, and in book two I'm committed to sailing it down the Severn, at least my little characters are, Heaven help me! :0)

  10. Lyn Says:
  11. I have a penchant for boats - especially antique, classic vessels. When I was a teen my dad bought the pair of wooden tour boats from Peterborough and had them transported to our town on the Ottawa River. He sold one and kept the other. It was originally a decommissioned coastguard cutter - mahogany planked. She was a beauty. And on our lake we have a gentleman who cruises by every evening in his shiny lacquered Muskoka boat. Love it!

  12. Arti Says:
  13. The bigwin looks really beautiful!
    Standing graciously ready for a ride perhaps
    Your pics are very lovely as usual :)

  14. Tania Says:
  15. Thats a wonderful boat! I really like that and your photos.
    Wish you a nice wekend:-)

  16. Elettra Says:
  17. I'd like to live on Bigwin

  18. Linda Says:
  19. What a wonderful restoration...she's a beauty!!

  20. Rob Siemann Says:
  21. Well done, it's a beauty!

  22. JimmyT Says:
  23. Back in 1961, I was the "ENGINEER" on the 'Bigwin' for about 3-4 weeks. I was 'down below' and ran the throttle and gear under the captain's ringing bell. What a great time. (Rammed the Norway Point dock only once.)I am itching to see your great restoration.


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I have lived in Georgetown for 37 years but have traveled around a great deal. I own my own business which takes a lot of my time but try to blog as much as possible! I love to take pictures, no training, just a love of photography. Enjoy the pics but please do not copy them.
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