By Mike McWilliams
In last year’s newsletter we featured an article about one MLM volunteer’s experience aboard the RMS Segwun, the oldest operating steamship in North America, which caught the attention of one of Segwun‘s engineers, Bryan Dawes.
This past summer the MLM received an email from Bryan Dawes seeking the expertise of an engineer in Minnesota who could help fire a newly built steamboat named Arezoo, a replica of an Edwardian gentleman’s steam launch. Arezoo, which means Wish in Persian, began life in 1994 when IMAX co-founder Robert Kerr designed her. Kerr’s “relentless pursuit of perfection” is evident in every detail of the vessel’s impeccable craftsmanship – it appears more like a piece of art than a functioning boat. Sadly Kerr passed away before construction of the vessel was complete, though his daughters Nancy and Barbara went on to finish the project shortly after his death. By 2011 Arezoo was ready to set sail with initial boiler tests and sea trials conducted by Bryan Dawes on Lake Ontario.
For some time Arezoo was featured as a museum piece at the Muskoka Steamships & Heritage Centre in Gravenhurst, Ontario. Within the past year, however, she was sold to Lee Anderson of Anderson Classic Boats and hauled to Nisswa, Minnesota. It was shortly after this transaction that Bryan Dawes contacted the MLM. He provided us with contact information for Dave Bauer, Arezoo‘s new caretaker. After several emails and phone calls we set up a date for me to meet Mr. Bauer and Lee Anderson and review the mechanical systems of the boat. Interestingly enough, the engine and boiler were both built in the United Kingdom.
Arezoo was fired for the second time in her life on Gull Lake this past June for another set of sea trials. The initial trial was a bit problematic, so a new burner assembly was installed within the boiler. After several more trials she successfully cruised the lake in proud fashion.
Thank you to Lee Anderson and Dave Bauer for providing me with the privilege of helping out with this project. Thank you also to Brian Dawes for reaching out to the MLM. With the addition of Arezoo, Minnesota now has another authentic steamboat plying its 10,000 lakes.