The Ship and History
The Duc d'Orleans II was built in 1987 in Warren, Rhode Island, USA by Blount Boats. She was built specifically for carrying passengers and was originally dubbed the Spirit of Newport. She is 84' long, 29' wide, draws 5' and has a cruising speed of about 8 knots. The boat was bought by the current owners in 2005 and brought to Sarnia and rechristened Duc d'Orleans II.
The original boat, Duc d'Orleans, was a Fairmile built in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada in 1943 at the Mac-Craft boat building company for the second world war as a coastal patrol ship/mine-sweeper (commonly called a "sub chaser"). It was launched in 1944 and christened Q105. It's duties included convoy escorts and mine clearing. It was 112' long, 18' wide and drew 6' of water and had a cruising speed of 20 knots. It was originally outfitted with 12 depth charges, a single Hotchkiss 3-pounder gun, and a set of twin 0.303-in machine guns.
After its services were no longer required, it was decommissioned, the armorments removed and put on loan to McGill University for research and training and subsequently sold to the Quebec Waterways Sightseeing Tours Co. in Quebec, Canada where it cruised near the Île d'Orléans and took on the name Duc d'Orleans.
She was then purchased in 1978 and brought back home to Sarnia by the current owners where it was run until 2005 when the current boat was bought to replace her. She was donated in 2006 to a local organization for restoration to her original appearance, but the project has since been abandoned and the ship was scrapped.