The most recent vessel built by Collingwood Shipyards, Hull 227, which is christened the PRAIRIE HARVEST, was launched at Collingwood shortly before noon on Tuesday, October 18, 1983. The beautiful autumn day accentuated the exciting day for upwards of 10,000 spectators who had gathered to witness the event.
Constructed to the order of Canada Steamship Lines of Montreal, the 36,000 metric tonne freighter is 736.6 feet in length, with a beam of 75.1 feet, and a moulded depth of 46.6 feet. Her anticipated speed will be l6 1/2 miles per hour. PRAIRIE HARVESTS's six-foot increase in length over the maximum Seaway-size vessel is a result of the innovative bow design which permits the underwater extended ram portion to be inserted beneath the lowered safety boom at the ends of the Seaway locks.
Two additional features have been incorporated into the construction of the vessel. Although designed as a straight-deck bulk freighter for the grain trade, she can readily be converted into a self-unloader should the passage of time bring a modification of current market conditions. Also, by an examination of wave amplitude and frequency, her voyages may be extended as far as the U.S. eastern seaboard and the Caribbean. The development of this new "Caribbean" class of vessel is the product of technical discussions between Lloyd's Register of Shipping, the Canadian Coast Guard, and the design staff of Canadian Shipbuilding and Engineering Ltd.
PRAIRIE HARVEST'S main propulsion system consists of one non-reversing Sulzer slow-speed diesel engine, with a continuous economy rating of 11,100 brake horsepower and 124 revolutions per minute. It is directly connected, by means of a hollow-bored propeller shaft, to a Lips four-bladed, variable-pitch propeller operating in a steering nozzle. Normal service rating of the engine provides for a speed of fourteen knots, and it burns heavy fuel oil which has a viscosity of 3,500 seconds Redwood number one at 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
A delay of twelve minutes in the side-launch of PRAIRIE HARVEST resulted from the forward end being 3 3/8 inches ahead of the after end. The Assistant Launch Master suggested that the problem was caused by the additional time (three months) that the hull had been resting on the blocks during the Collingwood shipyard's recent labour difficulties. He ventured the opinion that the grease on the ways had probably congealed during the period of time that the shipyard was idle.
PRAIRIE HARVEST was christened by Mrs. Leona Jarvis, the wife of the chief commissioner of the Canadian Wheat Board. The vessel will operate under charter to that board, in the Canadian grain trade. In his remarks at the luncheon which was held following the launching, Paul E. Martin, the president of Canada Steamship Lines Group Inc., said that "there is no greater institution in the world than the Canadian Wheat Board".
Reproduced for the Web with the permission of the Toronto Marine Historical Society.