Have a few vids of lake boats. Hope you enjoy them.
Built by American Shipbuilding Co., Lorain, OH in 1949 for Inland Steel Co., the streamlined bulk freighter Wilfred Sykes was the first new American-built Great Lakes vessel constructed after World War II. At the time of her launch, she was the largest vessel on the Great Lakes. The Sykes is powered by 2 steam turbine engines producing a combined 7,000 horsepower driving an 18 1/2 foot diameter four-blade propeller giving her a speed of up to 16 mph. Being the first steamship built to burn “bunker C” heavy oil for fuel instead of coal, her fuel tanks can hold 165,000 gallons giving her a cruising range of 4,500 miles. She is also equipped with a bow thruster.
Inland Steel has had the Sykes’ activity focused on the Lake Michigan taconite, stone, and coal trades. Inland Steel was acquired by Ispat International of the Netherlands in 1998. Ispat, in turn, sold the 3 Inland Steel lakers to the newly formed Central Marine Logistics, Highland, IN. The 3 vessels were the Wilfred Sykes, Joseph L. Block, and the Edward L. Ryerson. This move was to comply with the Jones Act which dictates that vessels moving cargoes between U.S. ports be U.S. owned, operated, crewed, and built. After the change in ownership, the Wilfred Sykes’ activity has continued to be focused on the Lake Michigan taconite trade into Indiana Harbor.
The year 1999 marked “50 yrs of Smooth Sailing” for the Wilfred Sykes. This lake boat is a true classic steamer of the post World War II era. May her future years on the Lakes be as profitable and productive as her previous fifty