Freighter Frenzy Sets Sail For Third Year: Who Will Win the Champion”ship”?
For a third consecutive year, the Sault Ste. Marie Twitter account (@VisitTheSault) will make the month of March interesting with the popular Freighter Frenzy contest. Last year’s winner and two-time champion the Wilfred Sykes will face strong competition from 32 other boats. This year’s contest has some new faces in the mix, as well as a handful of international boats vying for the crown. Voting takes place on Twitter beginning on March 8th, 9th, 10th, and 11th and will be open for 48 hours after each matchup is posted. The field will soon narrow to 16 ships, then the “Elite Freight,” final four, and championship matches. Let’s take a look at some of the matchups, top contenders, and newcomers.
— Visit Sault Ste. Marie (@VisitTheSault) March 2, 2022
The reigning champion gets things started in this section as it matches up with the Ojibway. The Federal Champlain (Fednav), a 656 foot “salty” will battle it out with the Canada Steamship Lines’ CSL Laurentien, while the Algoma Enterprise (Canada) and Great Republic (Great Lakes Fleet) also go head-to-head. The final matchup in this section is a big one as it pits the “Queen of the Lakes” Paul R. Tregurtha against the Joseph L. Block, a sister ship to the defending champion Wilfred Sykes. This is a strong section, and while there could be a bit of a challenge from the winner of the Tregurtha-Block matchup it would be quite an upset to not see the Sykes make it out of this group. Voting begins Tuesday, March 8th for these four matchups.
The second section has quite possibly the most intriguing and difficult matchups. Things start off with the 1,000 foot Mesabi Miner battling the original 1,000 footer and the only one with a pilot house forward, the Stewart J. Cort. Next up is another international battle as the Mandarin (Cyprus) takes on the immediately recognizable Happy River (Netherlands). The Frontenac of Canada Steamship Lines takes on the 1,000 foot Indiana Harbor (American Steamship Co.), while this group of eight concludes with a slugfest between the beautiful and always popular Alpena and the Great Lakes Fleet’s Cason J. Calloway. The Alpena and Cort are top contenders in this section, but don’t count an upset from the newer and brighter Happy River, which has proven to be a favorite with boatwatchers and photographers in recent years. Voting for this section begins on Wednesday, March 9th.
The third section features last year’s runner-up the Arthur M. Anderson taking on another classic ship in its fleetmate the Roger Blough. The museum ship Valley Camp will look for a hometown bump in its matchup with the Kaye E. Barker, while the almost-brand-new Algoma Sault will try to fend off the salty BBC Thames (Liberia), a ship that has been seen bringing wind turbine blades to the area in recent years. Another heavyweight battle finishes off this section as the Edgar B. Speer (Great Lakes Fleet) takes on the historic Lee A. Tregurtha, a ship that was once a World War II tanker. The Anderson has to be the favorite to get out of this group, but possible upset challengers include the Tregurtha and the Blough. Voting for these eight freighters starts on Thursday, March 10th.
In the final section of the bracket it’s an almost entirely American affair. Things start off with the Edwin H. Gott taking on the Presque Isle in a Great Lakes Fleet matchup. The Burns Harbor (American Steamship Company) and James R. Barker (Interlake Steamship Co.) battle it out in the next matchup, then the CSL Niagara (Canada Steamship Lines) and Walter J. McCarthy Jr. (American Steamship Company) square off. The final matchup for this section adds another twist to this year’s contest as THREE American Steamship Company freighters face off to move on – will fans choose the American Integrity, American Spirit, or the American Century? This seems like the most up for grabs sections and one without a heavy favorite, but it is almost guaranteed that an American ship will prevail.
Make sure to get your votes in for each of these matchups and follow along on Twitter. Will this be the year the Arthur M. Anderson finally breaks through and defeats the Sykes? Will the Wilfred Sykes win for a third consecutive year? We can’t wait to find out. Keep an eye on some of our other picks to make some noise in this tournament: the Alpena, the Happy River, and the Lee A. Tregurtha. The Great Lakes shipping season kicks off on March 25th as the Soo Locks open for the year – don’t forget to pick up a copy of the Know Your Ships book before then, it is a boat watcher’s most valuable resource!