Sunday, July 19, 2015

The Main Attraction...the Wilfred Sykes

The Sykes is a ship that I've only seen as she passes through the Straits of Mackinac.  She is almost exclusively used in Northern Lake Huron and Lake Michigan.  She will typically go from Port Inland or Port Dolemite and the Ports in Indiana.  Occasionally, she will make stops at some of the Western Michigan Ports but it seems like she does this on days where I can't head over.    When I saw that she was going to be in Grand Haven on a Saturday, I decided that I would go see her.
 It was a pretty busy day in Grand Haven yesterday.  It was the first really hot day in a while, so I think people decided to head to the beach in droves.  It made getting to the State Park interesting and I was starting to think I wouldn't get a parking spot.  In fact, I was starting to wonder whether I would get pictures of the Sykes at all, as she was starting to make her approach into the channel.
 Well, I did end up getting a parking spot and I did end up getting pictures of the Sykes.  However, I didn't get too many without pleasure boats in them.
 The Wilfred Sykes was built by the American Shipbuilding Company in Lorain, Ohio in 1949.  She was the first American built laker after World War II and for a time, she was the largest laker on the Lakes.    She is powered by two steam turbines that give a combined horsepower rating of 7,000 horsepower.  She was the first steamer on the Lakes to be built with the capability of using bunker fuel instead of coal.
 I actually like the looks of the ships of this company because they are very unique.  Especially since the prettiest ship on the Lakes uses this scheme.
 She is 671 feet long and has a carrying capacity of 21,500 tons of cargo.  While small by modern standards, it is plenty for the places she services.  Each of her officers have private room and the other crew have double rooms.  She was also designed so that the crew could go anywhere on the ship without having to go outside.  This is a plus given some of the weather on the Lakes.
 It's funny because her appearance probably hasn't changed much since her creation in 1949.
 A shot as she actually enters the channel.
 Another shot with less boats.
 The only change to her appearance was the addition of the self unloading boom in 1975.  It is 250 feet long and can be swung off either side of the ship.
 In 1998, her parent company, Inland Steel was bought by a Dutch Company.  Management of the ships was moved to Central Marine Logistics so that she could remain American Owned to comply with the Jones Act.
 I love the swept back look of her pilothouse.  It gives her a nice sleek look and is almost comparable to the Jackson.
 This was probably the cleanest shot I could get.
 Another shot of her pilothouse.
 And a shot of her deckhouse.
 A shot of her plimsoll lines and load markings.
 Another shot of her deckhouse.
 And a shot of her stack.  She has a pretty sleek looking stack.
 And a shot of her stern.
 She continues to head down the river.
 I decided to go to another spot where I could get some more pictures of her. 
 Another fairly clean shot of her.  Like  I said, with all the boats on the river, it was tough to get clean shots of her.
 She turns to head into the river.
 The boat in front of her is some of the crew being transferred to shore.
And a shot of her pilothouse before taking off for home again.

It was pretty cool to finally see this ship up close.  She is even more impressive that way.

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