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Peter Vassilopoulos.

Vancouver, Panorama Publications, c1980.
Distributed by Panorama Publications, 210-1807 Maritime Mews, Granville Island, Vancouver, BC, V6H3W7.
115pp, cloth, $35.00.
ISBN 0-919317-00-6.

Grades 10 and up.
Reviewed by Adele Case.

Volume 11 Number 6.
1983 November.

The word, "antique," conjures up a precious piece of furniture, utensil, tool, work of art, or example of jewellery. Certainly, one never associates the term with anything afloat. The hostile qualities of brine and fresh water (both must be constantly fought against to keep rot and weed growth at bay) make the ownership of any old boat a year-round act of devotion. Vassilopoulos, in Antiques Afloat, has researched little-known details of some of the elegant aristocrats that cruised British Columbia waters in the golden age of motor-driven yachts, those built of wood or steel from 1900 to 1940. Each chapter gives us a capsule history of one of these beautiful craft, constructed to a traditional standard of excellence by shipwrights, caulkers, and steel fitters before the advent of fiberglass and mass production.

Twenty-one power boats are traced from builder to 1980 owner, and the collection makes clear the wide variety of craft that plied the Pacific west coast: renovated fish boats, prohibition-era rum runners, a forestry services floating office, a submarine chaser; and a cruiser used in United Church missionary work, as well as luxury cruisers for leisure fishing or adventuring by the wealthy. These fine vessels regularly visited the lonely inlets of British Columbia's fjord-like coast, though many were built for offshore conditions. One (the Maui Lu) has been as far afield as Hawaii, while others have explored north to Alaska or south to Mexican waters. Owners, too, have varied. Shipbuilding magnates, lumber tycoons, well-heeled investors, entrepreneurs or government agencies who commissioned the cruisers for pleasure, business, or defense, have now given way to charterers, liveaboard owners, or aficionados who glory in the messing about refit tradition that do not count the hours spent with sandpaper or freeing oil. For the devoted antique owners, possession of gleaming mahogany, teak brightwork, and purring engines calls for lavish attention, together with regular injections of cash. Still, it is a delight to see one of these vessels making stately progress, with brightwork agleam.

An enthusiast (and I am one) will scan this book as a treasure trove of marine memorabilia. Coffee-table size, the illustrations, in colour, are outstanding. Lovers of the sea will find this history of lovely old cruisers an attractive addition to our West Coast lore.

Adele Case, Britannia S. S., Vancouver, BC.
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