The Whitehall Spirit® Minto 9 is prized as a dinghy, tender, and small traditional rowboat. It handles rowing in stiff chop or moderate waves and is delightful to row in calm water. Many owners keep theirs at the cottage on the lake or use it as a pond boat. One Minto 9 dinghy circumnavigated the world as a tender to the ocean cruising sailboat ‘Sunlight” and was appropriately named “Sunbeam”.
Where the Minto 9 really excels is how it handles. It rows exceptionally well with one, two, or three adults on board. Due to its generous freeboard, well-positioned seats and oarlocks, this boat performs efficiently in choppy wave conditions and is also renowned for stability when boarding.
Famous West Coast boat builder Les Curly maintains that in the 1950s, the “original” wooden Minto was found washed up on the grounds of “Our Lady Minto Hospital” on Saltspring Island by builder Ed Hoppen who named it the “Minto”.
It was estimated to have been built in wood by an unknown builder at the turn of the century. In the late 1950s, Ed took the hull down to his shop in Gig Harbor, Washington, USA. where he built the first several fiberglass models using the original as a pattern. Years later several hundred more Mintos were produced by Ranger Yachts based in Seattle, Washington.
‘Pelagic Pacific Boatbuilders’, owned by Les Curley, purchased a Minto mold from Ed Hoppen in the early 60s. Over the next ten years, Les built over a thousand hulls at his shop in Victoria, British Columbia.
Whitehall Rowing & Sail first produced the Whitehall Spirit® Minto 9 in 1988. The elegant fiberglass teak and bronze ‘treatment’ given to this little classic makes it popular for adorning the decks of sailboats, on transoms of motor yachts, or being towed smoothly along behind. It’s popular as a small rowboat on lakes and ponds across North America.