A Labrador boat built by Labrador people
By Karen Lloyd
FOR THE SOU’WESTER
In the making for nearly a year, Miss McKenzie I, Labrador’s largest, and likely most vivid, fishing vessel was launched on Sept. 27.
Owner Dwight Russell of Mary’s Harbour couldn’t have been more excited. He and a group of 30 people gathered at Riteway Construction at L’Anse au Diable to watch history in the making. “This is a great moment,” said Russell.
He says the larger boat – measuring 75 feet in length and 35 feet in width – allows him and his crew to land more crab and shrimp and remain at sea for longer periods of time.
So what’s the story behind the painted bald eagle spanning 14 feet across the bow of Miss McKenzie I? “The eagle is a powerful bird,” he said of the artwork carried out by Pinware resident Martin Lowe. “It’ll catch fish with the best of them.”
After months of hard work and anticipation, not to mention a bit of a struggle, the vessel was finally launched, sailing for the first time to nearby L’Anse au Loup, where its safe arrival was celebrated by friends and community members including the artist, as well as Mr. Russell’s brother, Labrador MP Todd Russell. “I’m proud because it’s a Labrador boat built by the Labrador people, built by the skills of the Big Land,” said the politician. “And that’s the way it should be.”
The vessel will remain at L’Anse au Loup for a short time to undergo minor paint touch ups. From there it will sail home to Mary’s Harbour with its proud skipper.