William A. Irvin Arrives, Slowly Pulls into Minnesota Slip

610-foot laker pulls in with only 7 inches of room on each side.

DULUTH, Minn.- After much anticipation and setback, the William A. Irvin–Duluth’s historic museum ship–headed back home to Canal Park Wednesday night.

This after it underwent repairs while the seawalls in the Minnesota Slip were also getting worked on.

The “Queen of the Lakes” left Fraser Shipyards around 5:30.

Just like last year the move was dicey with only seven inches of room on each side of the giant hull when it passed through the Blue Bridge.

This year, the crew said, it’s even trickier with the way the winds have been, and since they don’t have the seawall to keep the ship aligned.

“When we were moving it out they had a solid surface to kinda line it up in and slide it out and that would be the new seawall,” said Chase Dewhirst, Marine Civil Engineering Manager for AMI Consulting Engineers. “And now we kinda have to really rely on the barges which are some flex in the system there.”

“It’s as almost like it’s a giant sail. So that’s why the wind speeds are so critical for that because if you get any pick up in wind speed, it acts like a giant sail, it’s gonna move that vessel around.”

Just like when the ship moved out, crowds have gathered again to watch the 610-foot laker creep its way through to the bridge.

At one time it carried up to over 13,000 tons and was powered by geared steam turbine engines.

The move cost a little more than a million dollars, paid for by the City of Duluth.

According to crews, the Irvin is expected to be fully back in the slip by midnight Wednesday.

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