THE VESSELS AND NAVIGATION
Three more additions to the merchant fleet of sailing craft on the lakes are being built here this spring; two at Portsmouth, and one at the Marine Railway. Messrs. Fraser and George have taken the contract for the two former, one of which is intended for the grain, the other for the lumber trade. The first of these, a schooner of two hundred and thirty tons burthen, has been purchased by Captain William Taylor, since the vessel has been in frame. She is destined for lake service and the carrying of grain. The other, also a schooner, will carry lumber between Napanee and Oswego, and is one hundred and eighty tons burthen. She has been built to the order of Messrs. Fisher (James, of Portsmouth), and Downey of Napanee. Both these vessels are to be ready by the end of June, wire-rigged, and in every respect finished and painted, and ready for sea. The frames are now completed, and planking has been begun, and the builders are bound by their contracts to have them as strong as bolts and beams can make them, the better to fit them for the rough and exposed routes on which they will have to travel. Little more is being done at Portsmouth besides the above, and the spring work on the two schooners laid up there for the winter.
The vessel building at the Marine Railway is also for Captain Taylor, and is intended to replace the schooner Mary Taylor, which was sold by him last year. She is to be two hundred and fifty tons measurement, larger than either of those being built at Portsmouth, and will ply in a general way on the lakes. The schooner B.C. Davy, owned by Swift and Fraser, is being provided at the Railway with new and strongly-bolted arches; new covering board, bowsprit and jibboom; new cabin, stern new planked, and other general repairs. The repairs to the propeller St. Lawrence are also being made there. The Water Witch, the property of the owners of the B.C. Davy, is to be fitted up at once for the ensuing summer's business, work having just been begun on her.
Of Jacques and Tracey's boats only three are laid up here - the propellers St. Lawrence and Avon, and the steamer Huron. The latter is undergoing the customary spring repairs. The St. Lawrence is having her upper deck partly renewed; new guards, and partly new bulwarks; with other general repairs. The Avon is undergoing much more than the ordinary spring repairs, and will have new main and upper decks, new boarding, new deckbeams and mast, and new staunchions between decks. Both these vessels are having a general overhauling in every respect.
The steamers Watertown and Pierrepont, and the small ferry steamer Gazelle, lying at Ford and Anderson's wharf and Kinghorn's wharf, are receiving the necessary outfitting to place them on their respective routes, and will be ready to take advantage of the first opening in or general weakening of the ice to begin their trips to Cape Vincent and Wolfe and Garden Islands.
The schooner Helen, lying in the slip at the foot of Gore street, is also being fitted up for an early start.
Three steamers only of the Lake and River Navigation Company's line are lying here, the Grecian, Magnet and Passport; they are all undergoing a thorough repair and outfit, and the former two are to be ready for a start on the 15th instant.
The steamer Bay of Quinte is undergoing the usual spring repairs, and fitting up at the St. Lawrence wharf.
At Chaffey's wharf the propellers Bristol, North and East, and at Glassford and Jones' wharf the propeller Her Majesty, are being fitted up. The latter vessel now belongs to the firm of Chaffey Brothers; she is having her commodious passenger cabin cut away, leaving only sufficient of it to accommodate the crew. The North and East have been chartered by this firm, and will run during the ensuing summer in connection with their line of propellers. Four of their tugs are also lying at Chaffey's wharf, and nearly a dozen barges, which, with eight more barges belonging to the firm, now lying at Portsmouth, are all receiving a general overhauling, painting and extensive repair.
In the lower bay very little is being done, the schooners Regina and Henrietta being the only vessels which are making any preparations, the two other vessels laid up there being very old craft, which may never again set sail.
At Garden Island Messrs. Calvin & Breck's steamers Wellington, John A. Macdonald, City of Hamilton, William, Highlander, America and Gildersleeve; and their sailing vessels Denmark, M.L. Breck, Oriental, Richardson, London, Orkney Lass, Liverpool and Greyhound; are undergoing such repairs as are necessary to fit them thoroughly for their various branches of sea service. The schooner Lafayette is being altogether rebuilt, and a steamer of the class of the John A. Macdonald is on the ways, and will be hastened to completion as fast as possible. This vessel will replace the Hercules, which was sold to the Government last summer and fitted up as a gunboat. The Island is as busy as a hive just now.
The gunboats Royal and Hercules, which have lain at the Navy Yard all winter, are having very little more labor expended on them than is necessary for usual spring repair and outfit.
The Wharves - Very little repairs are being made on the wharves this spring and not much building done. About forty feet have been added to the Water Works Company's wharf; and Mr. John Carruthers is widening the south side of Ford & Anderson's wharf, as far as space permits. Only a portion, however, of this addition could be built during the winter, owing to an elevator being in the way of its continuation. A few repairs are being also made on the St. Lawrence wharf.
On the whole the preparations for the summer campaign, now making along the harbor, afford employment for a great many hands; and the prospects of a brisk opening of the spring trade, with a fair prospect also of a good summer business, have had a tendency to induce owners of vessels to expend more than the customary amount of labor on their respective vessels.