Miss Shepherd

The Shining Brown Bullet

I am trying to determine where this boat may have raced, , if it still exists, and any information anyone can provide regarding this type of boat.

If anyone has any info please contact me at dave@shepherdboats.com

Miss Shepherd was built by Shepherd Boats of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada in the late 1930's (I think) and named after my mother (Margo). When I showed a picture of this boat to other people, I was told that it was approximately 15' long and competed in the 135 class. Since most people who were employed at Shepherd Boats during the 1930's have now passed away it is hard for me to determine the history of this boat.

To locate this boat I placed an article in the Fall 1994 Issue of the Toronto Chapter of the "Classic Boat" magazine. One of the responses I received was from Harold Wilson, who said that this boat looked exactly like Little Miss Canada VII, which was never built. Mr. Harold Wilson said that Doug Van Patten designed Little Miss Canada VII and that he thinks Mr. Van Patten gave the design to Shepherd Boats. Mr. Wilson has since passed away and I forgot to ask him the year in which the boat was designed.

Note: I have since spoken to the son of Doug Van Patten and was informed that the plans for Miss Canada VII where never used and as he does not have any record of Doug designing Miss Shepherd (Nov 17, 2001).

While talking to a member of the Toronto Chapter of the ABCS society he told me that he thinks he can remember seeing this boat along Hwy 36 (between Lindsay, and Dunsford, Ontario, Canada) in the 1950's. He also told me that this boat was in poor condition in the 1950's and that if this were "Miss Shepherd" it would probably be deteriorated by now. He sent me a map of the location as he remembered it in the 1950's however I have had no luck in locating it.

Miss Shepherd raced in the 135 class event at the 1939 Gold Cup regatta at Detroit. She came third in the first heat and fifth in the second heat to finish fourth overall. Her owner/driver was Percy Buddell of Waterloo, Ontario.
The program for the Gananoque Regatta of 1948 says that Buddell (who was then driving a D class runabout) " Hasn't missed a regatta since 1936. Wins not infrequently. Claims 'only record is for breaking pistons'." I assume that this means Canadian regattas.

I have been looking through some the old "Boating" Magazine I came across a few articles relating to Miss Shepherd:

October 1939 issue of Rudder
The Miss Shepherd raced in 1939 in Detroit at the Gold Cup in the 135 cubic inch hydroplane class event. It was two heats of nine miles. The boat was driven by Percy Buddell of Waterloo, Ontario, and they finished 4th, with times of 15:48.73 and 15:11.60.

Does anyone have a copy of the October 1939 Issue of Rudder?

July, 1940 "Boating"
May 24, 1940 at Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada
"Miss Shepherd", described at the race as a shiny brown bullet, is 15ft. 2in. in length. Originally built with a hydroplane bottom which was changed this year to a modified V, she is powered with a 4-cyclinder Buchanan motor of 67 hp. and has a speed in excess of 55 m.p.h. She is owned and driven by Mr. P. Buddell of Waterloo.

Oct, 1940 "Boating" Page 7
A Moderately calm sea greeted Class D runabouts for the Canadian Championship on Sept. 7th. Outstanding in this series was Harold Archer of Port Perry in his slick Chris-Craft Dilkusha which not only established a Canadian record but was seconds short of making a world mark. We prophesy that he will do that before very long. He has a fine boat.
The runabout fleet of four got away to a good start with Archer taking and holding the lead all the way, gaining as he went to make it a nice race. Miss Shepherd, driven by Perce Buddell, was second.
In the second heat Archer led all the way, while Buddell and Brunelle fought it out for second place. Buddell made it hard going for the Little Miss Shepherd, known at the Niagara-on-the-Lake regatta as the "Shining Brown Bullett". Archer finished first, Miss Shepherd second, and Brunelle in Aero, third.
Aero had more oil for the third heat and surprised us when she shot ahead and help a good pace with the Waterloo boat. She finished third.

Cover of the Gulf Marine Racing Review 1940

July, 1941 Page 17 & 28 "Boating" magazine
Niagara Garage Operators' Annual Motor Boat Regatta
Covering a skirmish on the sands of the Sahara, amid thundering cannon and yelling O.C.'s could not have been more difficult for this reporter than following the Lincoln and Welland Garage Operator's Boat Races at Niagara-on-the-Lake on Saturday, June 21st. The sun on that occasion would have burnt the pants off an iron fireman.
No soldier ever took it better than Mrs. "Dody" Schelling, sweetheart of racing topnotchers and official score-keeper at most Eastern Canadian Regattas.
It was a red-letter day for the Association, which saw record entries and crowds at the waterfront. Also pleased with Bob Schelling, new Vice-President of the American Power Boat Association, officiating at all meets north of the line and one man who is doing a fine job to promote motorboat racing in the country. Barring annoyance from those people (seen at every regatta) who persisted in zig-zagging up, down and across the course during races, outboarders who didn't really get warmed up until tow or three laps after the races were over and a misfire at the judges' stand - all went well. 21 events went off as scheduled.
Harold Archer of Port Perry with his record breaking "Dilkusha": Perc. Buddell of Waterloo with "Miss Shepherd" and the new "Little Miss Waterloo": E.C. Inch of London with his "Milderna" - Canadian record breaker, and Leo Willick of Stevensville with his becomeing famous "07" were among the many drivers on deck........
In the Inboards Unlimited, Open class, "Miss Shepherd" placed 2nd behind Harold ArcherI.

When I placed my ad in "Classic Boat" magazine I received a few responses:


I can start by explaining that the 135 cu. in. class was based on the Ford V-8 "60" engine built between 1937 and 1942. I believe the racing class was established post WW-2. The boats used modified engines. The class designation was a letter A (U.S. American Power Boat Association) or CA (Canadian Boating Federation) followed by a number assigned by the sanctioning association. Also, the number location in relation to the letter provides geographic information. If the letter is ahead of the number, the boat was registered east of the continental divide. If it follows the number the boat was registered west.

There isn't enough description to help out. I can tell you that the hull length for the 135 hydro was 13' 6" and remained so through the displacement increase around 1960 to 150 cu. In. (modified Ford Falcon). The current equivalent class, 2.5 liter modified, runs a hull minimum length of 15 feet.

Is the boat a runabout or a hydroplane? A runabout is a straight displacement hull. It might resemble a ski-launch with a contiguous bottom having no breaks or steps. A hydroplane of the era might look similar until you look at the bottom. There you should see one or more steps, or planing surfaces designed to lift the weight of the boat off the water surface and reduce surface friction. My guess is that the boat was one of these or the other.

The other type of hull, and by far the most likely to be seen in racing from the mid-thirties on was the three-point. These boats will be similar in appearance to an arrowhead.

I'm going to assume that the boat was inboard powered. If that was the case, do you know what make and type of engine was used? The reason I ask is that racing in the 30's was rather different in both hull design and engine application. For example, engines of the period included the Twin Cam 4-cylinder gold cup class predecessor to the Indianapolis Offenhauser engine, a variety of larger Fords and a 705 cu. in class. Letter designations may also have been different, and that might change of lot of thinks.

I'll add a few names, etc. here that might lead to more information

Letter from Mr. Wilson

Dear Dave

Forgive me for starting off with first names, but, boat lovers are people apart and we do as we like and I hate being called "Mr. Wilson"!

So- I am Harold Wilson, driver of the long line of Miss Canada race boats dating back to the 1925-50 years.

I saw the picture of Miss Shepherd in the fall issue of Classic Boat and your appeal for help

Actually I can offer nothing direct, but I have ideas that you may be able to use.

Quite apparentlyy (to me!) Miss Shepherd is a take-off from my series of 225 hydros and unlimited hydros. The picture on my enclosed card will be almost proof positive to you, I think.

So let me go back a few years. In 1933 John Hacker designed and Greavette built for me my first 225 hydro which won the first declared World Championship in the that class. She was a very conventional runabout hull with a step. In 1934 Hacker designed a new boat (again built by Greavette as well as all my racers) Little Miss Canada IV which is very much like the enclosed picture of Miss Canada III. Hacker later designed Miss Canada II an unlimited class hydro that resembled very much the lines of Little Miss Canada IV. She was raced but had problems and eventually was discarded when she began to fall apart at the seams.

Doug Van Patten, then working for Greavette had helped to make Miss Canada II perform very well by altering her running bottom to an unusual two step hydro design. When she was discarded Doug was asked to design a new unlimited - Miss Canada II. I insisted that he use the running bottom design he had worked out for the II. The upper works were left to him. The result? Miss Canada III looked very much like Miss Canada II. Doug incorporated a very strong prow (I can't read this word) design (I can see it on the picture of Miss Shepherd).

From all of this , I am almost certain that Doug designed Miss Shepherd or that someone very faithfully copied the lines of my Little Miss Canada II and my Miss Canada III.

Sincerely Harold Wilson
Miss Canada
Note: I have since spoken to the son of Doug Van Patten and was informed that the plans for Miss Canada VII where never used and as he does not have any record of Doug designing Miss Shepherd (Nov 17, 2001)

****I have received an email indicating that this boat looks like a copy of Bruce Crandall's Flyer

Does anyone know anything about Bruce Crandall's Flyer?
If anyone is looking to obtain 3D-plans for the Bruce Crandall Flyer please check out classicboatplans.com
NOTE:I have superimposed a copy of Bruce Crandall's flyer with a photo of Miss Shepherd and the profile matches exactly so it looks like Miss Shepherd was taken from the Crandall plans

Looking for program for 1939 Gold Cup regatta at Detroit

If anyone has any information on this boat please contact me at dave@shepherdboats.com

for other photos of Miss Shepherd please see http://shepherdboats.com/historical_photos.asp#