Today was supposed to be a boating day. But a problem with the engine tilt kept us more or less on land. Instead we paddled a bit on the Nottawasaga and then loaded the kayaks up and relaxed on the beach. While I’m waiting for supper to warm up, I thought I’d repost something I wrote several years ago on my old blog, now long gone.
For relaxation, you need one of two things: fire, or water. Neither are available in our backyard, and we are constantly ‘treated’ to our neighbour’s taste in music. Being out in our little aluminum fishing boat reminded me of what fun we had with our run-about many pre-children years ago. So, I suggested to my husband, that we should buy a another boat. No need for persuasion. He knew exactly what he wanted.
Back in the 1980s, KMV bought the Oliver Boat Plant here in New Lowell. The Norwegians were involved in building some of the Oliver Boats of the most recent vintages. Oliver had a creative mind and designed some really great boats that were fun and functional, depending on what you like. But once the Norwegians bought the business out, the plant was renamed KMV Boats. My father worked for Oliver, as did my mother, and several friends. My parents stayed on when the business changed hands and in KMV’s last year of business, my sister worked there as quality control. So if you have an 1987 KMV, she did the final inspection and applied all the trim and logos.
My father did all the woodwork in the boats, from the interior framework (I don’t know the proper ‘boat term’) and all the wood trim, like the three little decorative strips of teak on the front, and in the 1700 Dromidilles, the teak tables that span the seats in the front, but convert to a dining table at the back. My mother did the upholstery in many of the boats, so the fabric covered cushions, and the burgundy and grey or navy seats are probably her work.
When the plant closed, the molds were given away (or sold, but I think they were given away) and my husband was so disappointed, because loved the design of the 1700HT. 25 years later, he still wanted that boat.
It took a lot of hunting to track one down. One we looked at had scrapes through the hull. Not a consideration, because these boats are foam filled, just fixing the fibreglass doesn’t work because if the foam is saturated, it doesn’t dry out. My guess is that it would ride pretty low in the water. They are supposed to be unsinkable (which brings to mind the obvious comparison, the Titanic.)
I finally found one, three hours from home. I sent a family friend to check it out for us, and he deemed it worth our drive out. The owner was kind enough to take us for a spin on Lake Ontario, which on that day was as smooth as a mill pond (or milk pond). My husband was smitten, and we were soon on our way back down the 401 with boat
Some things we’ve learned about this boat:
- Things—anchors, batteries, coolers, gas cans and people have to be evenly balanced or the boat lists easily and the steering gets wonky.
- With a 60HP motor it skips along fast enough for us, but not fast enough for the kids who want to ski and tube. At least that’s what we tell them.
- Having the hard-top is awesome. It looks small, but I can stretch out for a nap (I’m 5’10”) quite comfortably and stay out of the weather.
- It actually handles fairly rough water well. Not, stupid, you shouldn’t be out there in the first place, rough of course. But, out on Nottawasaga Bay, with the winds gusting from 30km to 40km we felt well rocked, but not at all insecure.
- Overloading the front, either with people or heavy gear in the bow cubbies causes wonky steering.
- With the small trolling motor you can get away with travelling through less than three feet of water.
- It scares fish away. (Reason #9876 we didn’t catch fish)
- It sounds more loud and hollow going over chop than our old run-about. My guess is that the sound is echoed under the hard-top rather than muffled under the closed-in bow of the run-about.
So, we now own a little bit of New Lowell history (not Owen Sound, Angus, Quebec or any other place you see people claiming KMVs were built), and a little bit of personal history. And, I get wife of the year award this year. I actually sold my horse trailer to accommodate this purchase. I win.
Since writing this, I’ve noticed that if the serial number is indication, we may have a 1986, rather than 1987. Not that there’s any difference. If I ever come across an Oliver with the center console, I’d be very tempted to buy it. I saw one near Midland at a storage facility, but have never seen one in the water. I’ve also noticed that there is another Oliver boat company in the U.S. Not the same thing at all.