Society Yacht To Be Rebuilt

Table of Contents

Title Page
The Editor's Notebook
Cecil E. Stein
Marine News
Blue Water Tragedy
Ship of the Month No. 23 Renvoyle
Society Yacht To Be Rebuilt
Table of Illustrations

The semi-official yacht of the Toronto Marine Historical Society, otherwise known as the Superferry of the St. Mary's River, is to be rebuilt this autumn. It was announced in mid-August by the Wellington Transportation Company that plans had been completed for repowering the carferry SUGAR ISLANDER and adapting her for service in ice.

The T.M.H.S. yacht in action. SUGAR ISLANDER is seen on a typical crossing of the St. Mary's, August 8, 1971. Photo by the Editor.
SUGAR ISLANDER provides a year-round ferry service for automobiles and passengers across Little Rapids Cut between Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, and Sugar Island. Much to the chagrin of many of the "concerned citizens" who are year-round residents of the large island, the ferry has found operation in recent winters most difficult due to the choking of the narrow channel by heavy ice which has been stirred up by late-operating ore carriers. In previous years, an ice bridge had formed across the river near the top of the Cut and this, coupled with the strong current, kept the ferry crossing relatively clear of ice. Since winter operation of steamers appears to be the coming thing, it was obvious that some steps would have to be taken in order that the ferry might bo able to maintain some sort of reasonable operating schedule in spite of the ice.

The ferry was previously lengthened in 1970 and now, in mid-September, she will be taken in hand once more by the Soo Drydock Co. which has a small floating drydock at the Soo. Her two 100 h.p. engines will bo removed and replaced by twin 300 h. p. Caterpillar diesels. This will require the fitting of now shafts and propellers. The bow and stern of the double-ended ferry will then be rebuilt in such a way that the ship will bo able to slide up on the ice and crack it instead of trying to push her way through it as she does currently. This operation will actually increase the length of the ferry by approximately six feet and a by-product of the reconstruction will be that she will be able to carry three more cars. Portions of the hull of SUGAR ISLANDER will also be plated over with heavy steel so that sections of the plating will be actually doubled to help avoid damage in heavy ice conditions.

The reconstruction is being considered as a "demonstration" connected with attempts to achieve a longer lake shipping season and accordingly will be financed by U. S. federal funds.

The Wellington Transportation Company is owned by Captains James and John Wellington of the Michigan Soo, and the firm is a member of our Society.

SUGAR ISLANDER has a reputation for meeting passing vessels on the sunny side, thanks to the kindness of its usual operators (Jim Wellington and Bob Reynolds), and is thus frequented by marine photographers during the summer season. We extend our best wishes to the Wellingtons for the success of their project.



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