Cherry II: Classic Forest Service Patrol Vessel

by Kathy Brereton 2016

Cherry II

Cherry II (Photo from the R. Brereton collection. )

Built by the Forest Service and launched on February 14, 1946, Cherry II was the first of the Second Series of ‘Blimps’ that was designed and built by Tommy Edwards at the Forest Service Marine Depot on the Fraser River. These boats, designed to be crewed and operated by one man, an Assistant Forest Ranger, inherited the nickname from the first series of Assistant Ranger boats, that were given it because of their unfortunate resemblance to the inflatable airships of the same name.

Cherry II

Cherry II (Photo from the P. Laidley collection. )

Cherry II is 34’6", with a 9’ beam and a 3’ draft, powered by a 371 GMC diesel,and is of fir construction below the waterline and cedar above. She has a comfortable cruising speed of 8 knots. She is slightly faster than the Assistant Ranger boats built after her because the Forest Service asked Tommy Edwards to broaden his design ahead so that water tanks could be carried in front of the wheelhouse.

Cherry II

Cherry II (Photo from the R. Brereton collection. )

Cherry II was based in Campbell River from (date uncertain) until 1968, when she accompanied her younger sister, Silver Fir, to Williston Lake, where they cleaned up after the construction of the WAC Bennett Dam. Cherry II was then stationed in Pender Harbour until her release from the Forest Service in 1978. Her initial purchaser is unknown. She was then purchased by Hugh McVeigh, who used her to supply groceries to logging camps in Jervis Inlet. Dusenbury purchased her in Pender Harbour, then Don Vince, who moved her to North Vancouver. She was purchased by Robert and Kathy Brereton and moved to Victoria in 2006, where she now lives happily on the Gorge Waterway.

Cherry II

(r–l) Cherry II, Silver Fir and Messenger III together in Pirates Cove August 2016. (Photo from the Chad Giesbrecht collection. )

Chad Giesbrecht says "I believe the Red Cedar to be the first of this class of boats, however the Red Cedar apparently sat a little low, and ran a bit slower. So Tommy Edwards redrew her (I believe the original drawing was done by A.E. Thompson). Edwards made a few alterations, and changed the power from a Gardner to a Jimmy (GM), picking up some speed and becoming a much more functional vessel. Cherry is well named because she really is a gem of a boat. Red Cedar originally worked the west coast, based out of Port Alberni BC. It would be really nice to locate her."

Terry Slack is a retired shipwright, general marine tradesman at the Forest Service Maintenance Depot in Vancouver BC. He says "I worked on the three Forest Service boats every spring for two years up on the Williston Lake pondage project. I did general shaft to engine line–up checks as the cold winters seemed to have a negative effect on the line up of the tail and intermediate shaft on the wooden boats! Timbered boat cribs were built at the F. S. M. D. to support the hull of the Silver Fir and Cherry II, as a big Cat tractor pulled them in and out of the lake! Again it was the cold weather effects on the caulked hull planking, that had to be repaired every Spring! I took my trusty caulking tools,shanks of cotton and red lead putty to get the hulls watertight again!

To quote from this article please cite:

Brereton, Kathy (2016) Cherry II: Classic Forest Service Patrol Vessel. 2016.

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