Wilfred Sykes

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 Walter J. McCarthy Jr.

Wilfred Sykes was built in 1949, is 678 feet long and flies a U.S. flag

William A. Irvin

The Wilfred Sykes was built by Inland Steel in Lorain at 678 feet long and was, when launched, the longest boat on the Great Lakes, setting many cargo records in her first year of operation. Self unloading equipment was installed on the boat, in 1975, at Fraser Shipyards in Superior.  In 1953, she rescued crew members when the Henry Steinbrenner sank, and she was one of the boats that went out searching for the Edmund Fitzgerald when she sank in 1975.

Wilfred Sykes  was president of Inland Steel; he retired in 1949 and they names this boat after himWilfred Sykes was president of Inland Steel Company from 1941 to 1949. He was born in New Zealand and educated in Australia. After working on engineering projects in South Africa and Germany, he came to the US in 1909, working first at Westinghouse Electric Company. He joined Inland Steel in 1923 and supervised the electrification of their steel mills, getting many patents for the inventions he developed to complete that job. He became an authority on industrial electrification and specifically electric welding and wrote many books on the subject.

The Wilfred Sykes on a rare trip to DuluthPicture above taken Monday, December 22, 1997

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Ross October 17, 2012 at 3:11 am

Fellow sailor here. I race yachts across Huron and Lake Michigan. I am trying to get a lead as to how I can just serve one trip on a freighter such as this one. I am curious about the different ways to travel these wicked lakes. I have been inspired by ‘the living great lakes’ the book. My yacht is Gauntlet in chapter 4. Thanks for any help!

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Anders December 1, 2012 at 7:24 am

The reply is a bit late but your best bet would be to contact Central Marine Logistics out of Burns Harbor Indiana. They own and crew the Sykes and Block.

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holly September 23, 2011 at 8:33 pm

dan, do you know what year we should be looking for?

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Dan Folger September 6, 2011 at 7:56 am

I found this site very interesting as I have been trying to find information about my Step Fathers different Boats.My Father worked for the company Inland Steel and I believe he served on the Wilfred Sykes as First Mate his name was George Bollum. Was wondering if you could help me out.Thanks very much.

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