Niagara Gazette

Local News

January 28, 2014

Weather impacting Hornblower boat work at base of the falls

Construction of Hornblower Niagara Cruises' first catamaran is almost complete despite crews having to deal with less than ideal weather conditions.

"The catamaran is 90 percent complete with crews working in what I think have been the most adverse weather conditions in 20 to 40 years," Lee Carr, senior marketing manager at Hornblower, told the Niagara Falls, Ont., Review.

Crews have had to battle extreme cold temperatures, high winds and massive chunks of ice at the Niagara River shoreline.

Mother Nature created another roadblock on Monday as a specially-designed marine transport truck was to take a second catamaran hull down the steep roadway that leads to the company's offices at the Niagara River.

Due to expected high winds and bone-chilling temperatures, the operation was postponed.

"We thought we would have the opportunity today to bring down the major elements of hull number two but the weather in the last few days didn't cooperate," said Hornblower president Terry MacRae.

"It's not a good idea to bring a 40-ton hull down a steep grade of road if the road is not pretty darn dry and clean."

When Hornblower launches its inaugural season in April it will operate two 700-passenger catamarans. The two vessels were built by Hike Metal in Wheatley, Ont. then disassembled into sections and sent to Niagara Falls.

A smaller third boat will be used for rescue efforts and is called Guardian of the Gorge. The 150-passenger vessel will also be used for private charters and special events such as fireworks tours.

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