Russel Brothers Limited   OWEN SOUND, ONTARIO   Steelcraft Boat Builders
La Trenche

Canadian List of Shipping 1956: La Trenche [C.192798] registered at Montreal; built at Owen Sound in 1950. 35'1 x 10' x 4'3; 11 g.t.; 7 n.t.; 165 hp. Owned by St. Maurice River Drive Co. Ltd., Trois Riviers, Québec. Canadian List of Shipping 1970: Steel tug La Trenche [C.192798] registered at Montreal. Built at Owen Sound in 1950. 35'; 11 g.t. Transport Canada List 2002: Built by Russel-Hipwell Engine Co., Owen Sound, Ont. Transport Canada List 2003: Owned by Raymond Lefebvre & Sons Ltd., Prouxville, Québec.

This small tug was built in 1950 by Russel Brothers of Owen Sound, ON as the La Trenche for the St. Maurice River Drive Company of Trois-Rivieres, QC. She was later acquired by Raymond Lefebvre & Sons Limited. Ocean Group of Quebec, QC eventually acquired the La Trenche. Type: Single Screw Tugboat Year Built: 1950 Builder: Russel Bros. Ltd., Owen Sound, ON Horsepower: 250 bhp Length: 35' 01? Breadth: 10' 00? Depth: 4' 04? Port of Registry: Montreal, QC.

YC notes: In 1957 in front of the La Trenche Dam, the propellor guard of the La Trenche broke. NO problem, the big crane on the Dam will simply lift the back of the boat to fix the problem....Just like a toy!
After the first boat transfer from Rapide-Blanc to La Trenche involving the Rapide-Blanc,
the La Trenche was brought back to the Rapide-Blanc Reservoir and stayed there till 1998!

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YC notes: And the Young Réjean Boisvert will try to fix it waiting my father (Roger Cloutier) to weld the rod back in place! That was before the propellor guard was closed!

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Photo by Réjean Boisvert
  Yves Cloutier notes: La Trenche backing up in front of the log chute at La Trenche dam. You always had to be carefull not to hit the boom where the water jets are installed.... Here is how to do this manoeuver on La Trenche, R J Beaumont, Henry Sorgius and others similar tugs with the original transmission.

When you are close to the lug chute, close enough not to Jam your bunch of logs in front of it!.... let's say 5 to 10 yards...

1.- Bring the throttle handle to idle (short handle to your left in front), engage the transmission to reverse (long handle on your right), push the throttle to rev the engine enough to stop the boat and back up a few yards. The chute is close!, very close !

2.- Return the throttle handle to idle, release the winch break (pedal to your left), engage the winch (handle behind you) to lift the wooden piece in front of the boat. When the piece is up, engage the winch break to lock every thing in place.

3.- Turn the wheel to your right (caution here, the propeller will pull the rudder after it passes the middle point, the wheel can turn pretty fast!), apply full power on reverse to turn opposite to the water jet. Always watch not to hit anything on the other side.

4.- When the boat is half turned, release the throttle, turn the whell to the left, engage transmission forward, apply power and get out of there.

It's amazing to see how the boat turns on itself when you engage forward to full power after you have started the turning manoeuver on reverse!

Doing this trick about 40 time a day, you had to rely on your machine, any failure: engine, rudder, transmission, winch or broken steel wire; would put you in serious trouble in front of the chute, not a good spot !!!


From Mac Mackay's excellent Tugfax blog about Halifax boats WEDNESDAY, JULY 20, 2011
Russel tugs - do they last forever?
La Trenche was built in 1950. It is seen here working on a bridge
project at St-François du Lac for Groupe Océan.


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