22nd annual Great Tugboat Race - Sault Ste Marie, Ontario

Engines roared, flags snapped in the wind and horns blew loudly and often as the 22nd Annual Great Tugboat Race was run at Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., during the recent Soo Locks Festival.   

Tugs large and small from around the region competed by class, with spectators lining both sides of the St. Marys River to witness the event.

An estimated $25,000 was raised from the tugboat race to assist children with special needs.   

This year, approximately 30 tugs, including entries from Parry Sound, Schreiber and even the Duluth area took part in the competition, which was preceded the night before by a tug parade through the Soo Locks.

2003 Great Tugboat Race Results

Gator Class   1st  - Cobra   -  Soo, Ont.
2nd - New Billy - Soo, Ont.

3rd - Channel Brat - Gore Bay, Ont.
  200 to 500 horsepower   1st  - Decelles - Soo, Ont.
2nd - Mink Isle - Parry Sound  

3rd - Regan    - Soo, Ont.
Hobby Class   1st - Red Griffin
2nd - Geri Ann - Two Harbors Minn
  500-plus horsepower   1st - Reliance Soo, Ont.
2nd - William C. Gaynor - Soo, Mi.

3rd - Joyce B Gardiner Soo, Ont.
Fish Tugs   1st - Kelsey T   - Blind River
2nd- Capt'n Kate - Nanicoke, Ont.
3rd - Dollar Boat - Point Aux Barils
  Captainís Challenge   Renesue
0 to 200 horsepower   1st  - Renesue -  Soo, Ont.
2nd - Bonnyville -  Soo, Ont.

3rd - Queensville - Soo, Ont.    
  Best-dressed Tug   1st - Renesue
2nd - Steel Aweigh
3rd - Opeongo


Onboard the tug Reliance. Andy LaBorde


200 to 500 horsepower class race

Tug Kam

Reliance leaves the competition in its wake

Avenger IV and Scott Purvis at the start of the race.

William C. Gaynor and Owen M. Frederick.

Reliance at the dock before the race.

Pictures below by Roger LeLievre and N. Schultheiss


Boomalong surfs the wake

Pankhurst M.



Mink Isle


Reliance heads for the finish line.

Wilfred M. Cohen and WM. Scott Purvis

Scott Purvis on parade lap.

Reliance and Owen M. Frederick.

Close up.

Coast Guard keeps small boats at a distance.

Avenger IV and William C. Gaynor.

Avenger and Reliance.

Stern view.

Scott Purvis.


Shelia P.

Martin E. Johnson.



Pankhurst M.

Kelsey T.

Joyce B. Gardiner



Scottish Thistle

Geri Ann

William C. Gaynor docked after the race.

Kelsee Rae


200 to 500 horsepower class race

Renesue and Deschenes

Grandbanks II

Mink Isle

Earl W. Oglebay escorted through the course.


Red Griffon

Red Griffon

Red Griffon

U.S. Coast Guard on patrol.


Friday night Tug Parade


Tugs enter the MacArthur Lock. R. Lelievre

Lining up. George Gormly

Locking through. John Meyland

Close up of Reliance. R. LeLievre

Another view. George Gormly

Locking back down. Dave Wobser

Plenty of room.

Owen M. Fredrick. R. LeLievre,

Below the locks. John Meyland

Tugs take over the marina. Jerry Masson


Return to Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping

E-mail this page to a friend