In the late 1950s, as a girl of six or seven, Barbara Reeds used to drive her father’s racing boat on Big Rideau Lake.
The Triton won all kinds of prizes as the fastest on the lake: a mahogany boat 29 feet long that she says topped 65 km/h. Local folklore says its engine was a 12-cylinder Rolls Royce Merlin, the aircraft engine used in famed Spitfire and Mustang fighters of the Second World War.
With her father watching, she used one foot to steer and the other to shift gears. She was too small to reach them with her hands.
Around age 10, she could drive the boat alone.
“It was phenomenal,” she recalls.
But one day in the late 1960s her father, Nelson Dean, was trying to get the boat started after its winter storage. The marina sent out a teenaged kid with a battery to boost it. The boy hooked up…
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