There are those who continue to dream and then make them come true

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'She' has beautiful curves ...

Archie Gillies (R) had the dream and long-time friend Bob Trelford made it come true

A 'high five' from Archie Gillies when the maiden 'voyage' is a success!

There are those who sit on their couches and watch others on TV achieve their dreams ... but then there are those who dream and work to make them true ... at any age.

Archie Gillies of Southampton on Lake Huron had an idea ... to see a glass bottomed boat built in the old-fashioned, hand-crafted tradition ... and he knew the man who could do it - old friend and master carpenter and boat builder, Bob Trelford.

Together, the two young-at-hearts, now in their 80s, worked on the plans and then Trelford set about hand-crafting what was to become, in the words of the men, a little 'beauty'.

"My dream," said Gillies, "was to see a little skiff with a glass bottom out on Chantry Island (lighthouse) where people could take a little tour on the calm waters at the Island and view the incredible rock formations that lie below. I knew that if anyone could do it ... it was Bob Trelford."

Old friends, Bob Trelford (L) and Archie Gillies

Bob Trelford holds the protective covering for the 'glass' bottom (unbreakable)

The 'maiden voyage' on Wednesday morning as the sun rose over the Saugeen River went without a hitch.  It was a test for the little vessel as three old friends, Trelford, Gillies and Mike Sterling, took her out into shallow waters on the river.  "She's a beauty to row," said Sterling.  "Very light and easy to manoeuvre."

"We decided to call her 'snoopy'," said Gillies, "because those who ride in her will be 'snooping' through the glass bottom to see what lies under the water of the lake ."

Constructed of half-inch marine grade plywood with oak trim, Trelford installed two clear panels (glass bottoms) of unbreakable material and sealed with high-grade marine epoxy.  He then created two wooden panels that fit over them to protect them as people climb in and out.  Complete with under-seat flotation devices, a drain at the back and three full-size seats, the boat is considered both stable and reliable.

"This is the same kind of the boat that the Doran brothers (famous for boat building) used to build," said Sterling.

Gillies, who funded the project and who is next planning on purchasing a small outboard motor for the craft, laughed.  "Well, she's a great prototype, but I can hardly wait to get the next one underway!" 

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Thursday, August 23, 2012