Russel Brothers Limited   OWEN SOUND, ONTARIO   Steelcraft Boat Builders
Russel Sailboats

Russel Bros. experimented with making two all-aluminum sail boats (racing yawls) in the 1960's. The smaller Merry Song and larger Bonaventure II.

"Russel Brothers Ltd.has ventured into a different phase of shipbuilding for the company in the form of an all-aluminum racing yawl. This vessel is 42 feet in overall length with a waterline length of 28 feet. She will be completely fitted out and rigged and will be sailed from Owen Sound in the early spring by her owner, M. J. Boyle of Chicago, after which she will participate in sail boat races in Canadian and American waters. This is a boating field of great potential and Russel Brothers Ltd. hopes to build more of these vessels in 1963." - Owen Sound Sun - Times, Jan. 31st, 1963.

SB notes Aug. 23rd, 2006: David Low (ex head draftsman and designer at Russel Brothers) commented that boats were very challenging and necessitated many new fabrication techniques. The all aluminum construction made for a lot of variation in the boat measurements due to thermal expansion. The outer hull had to be "glass smooth" and there was a lot of trial and error in achieving this. Lots of body filler was employed. David remembers the larger yawl as being bought by a New Yorker, and delivered to a Toronto yacht club.

Merry Song
Bonaventure II

A yawl (from Dutch Jol) is a two-masted sailing craft similar to a sloop or cutter but with an additional mizzen mast well aft of the main mast, often right on the transom. A small mizzen sail is hoisted on the mizzen mast. In the 1950s and 60s yawls were developed for ocean racing to take advantage the handicapping rule that did not penalize them for flying a mizzen staysail, which on long ocean races, often down wind, were a great advantage. - Wikipedia


For more Russel exhibits visit Owen Sound Marine & Rail Museum 1165 1st Ave West, Owen Sound, ON N4K 4K8
(519) 371-3333