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Britain's Greatest Ships?

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Britain's Greatest Ships?

Old 28th Oct 2010, 18:56
  #81 (permalink)  
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standing a few feet away from the horizontal connecting rods turning the paddle wheel was really impressive.
"Lord, Thou hast made this world below the shadow of a dream,
An', taught by time, I tak' it so -- exceptin' always Steam.
From coupler-flange to spindle-guide I see Thy Hand, O God---
Predestination in the stride o' yon connectin'-rod".

Rudyard Kipling, "McAndrew's Hymn".
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Old 28th Oct 2010, 20:59
  #82 (permalink)  
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In 1989 I visited Pirna (on the Elbe - east of Dresden) and took a trip on a coal-fired paddle-steamer (still going today, I believe, but this was 'still going' from the DDR years - well from 1898 actually).
Visiting the engine room was 'an experience' (as was using the heads which were suspended above the paddle-wheels).
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Old 28th Oct 2010, 22:45
  #83 (permalink)  
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QE2 and the Leander class have always been my favourites for looks. They have that "if t looks right, it is right" air about them. I'm with Tony on the shape of ships, can't stand these modern liners that look like overgrown speedboats at the front (not going to dignify them with the correct term ) and blocks of flats to the rear. A bit like a story, they should have a beginning, a middle and an end.

I must visit the Cutty Sark once they've restored it. (Shades of Uppark in that story). It was interesting to compare HMS Victory, USS Constitution and HMS Warrior. Victory and Old Ironsides were quite similar but Warrior was a leap ahead in technology.

The Scandinavians know how to display their old ships. The Vasa is an impressive sight. There's a nice collection in Gothenberg including the last surviving monitor. Oslo has the Fram (I told Ms CoL that the fiddles on the tables were to let the crew play snooker. Nearly got away with it. )
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Old 29th Oct 2010, 01:32
  #84 (permalink)  
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The best ever Brit ship would have to be the Great Eastern. In its day, it was as spectacular as Concorde.
Ummmm! They both overran costs and failed to deliver performance as promised.

The "Great Eastern", granted, was at 27,384 long tons almost six times bigger than her most recent biggest rival, propelled by sail, paddles and screw. She cost $6,000,000 to build. At her launch on 3 November, 1857 she slid 40", then stuck. Three months and $600,000 later they coaxed her into the og.

It took another $1,600,000 to fit her out. The directors sold her for half that last amount.

In September 1859 she at last set off down the Thames when a water preheater exploded tearing a funnel to bits, wrecking the chief saloon, scalding six stokers to death. I K Brunel heard of this and died. A few months later the captain was drowned when his gig upset at Southampton.

In June 1860 with 36 passengers aboard she had mid-Atlantic problems, and crossed in 10.5 days to Sandy Hook.

In August she set out for England with 72 pasengers. She had to lie to in mid passage and then tore loose 30 yards of hull on a rock.

In 1861 she came close to foundering off Ireland when her steam steering gear refused to function in a storm. Thereafter she ceased to be a passenger liner.

In 1866 she laid the first successful transatlantic cable, but her costs almost broke the owners. In 1888 after twenty years mainly at anchor she was sold to a breaker for $80,000. The breaker's profits were her first real success.

The City of Portland, Maine, proposed to set itself up as Western Terminal. It constructed wharves for the Great Eastern, and planned to use the Grand Trunk Railroad as her 900 mile link to Montreal, then Toronto and Detroit. The Great Eastern, when Trollope visited in the mid-1860s, had never visited Portland, Maine, and I believe never did. It was thought that she had been designed with a view to using Portland.

Portland built a huge hotel to receive her (notional) passengers. "Sir! the town has expended two hundred thousand dollars in expectation of that ship, and that ship has deceived us!"

Well then! There we are!

See "North America" by Anthony Trollope.

Last edited by Davaar; 29th Oct 2010 at 06:33.
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Old 29th Oct 2010, 04:17
  #85 (permalink)  
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A breathtaking story, but Mr Davaar, you've forgotten what must be the most poignant epilogue ever to come from a story of the sea.
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Old 29th Oct 2010, 06:28
  #86 (permalink)  
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I fear, Loose, you do me too much Machiavellian credit. If I have misled by omission, that omission was due to blind ignorance on my part from the start, not to forgetfulness.

If there was a later Glorious Redemption I should be glad to hear of it now, for it is not to be found in Trollope, pages 33 to 37 and footnote 1, and page 62. The latter, indeed, states of the Grand Trunk Railway: "There never was a grander enterprise set on foot. I will not say there never was one more unfortunate, for is there not the Great Eastern, which by the weight and constancy of its failures demands for itself a proud pre-eminence of misfortune?

There then follows a footnote 2 that tells from the London Times that the Grand Trunk was to connect Hudson Bay with the St Lawrence River, 'the rails to be laid over tree trunks cut eighteen inches from the ground'".

My copy of Trollope dates from 1951 and is vague on original dates of publication and insertion of footnotes.

Last edited by Davaar; 29th Oct 2010 at 09:32.
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Old 29th Oct 2010, 06:59
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On cruise liners they positively encourage it. On the Diamond Princess they were offering passengers a tour of the engine control room, medical facilities, galleys and bridge. I would have been interested if it were not for the fact that there was a small charge for this tour.................$150
You should have spent the money. I've done the Ultimate Ships Tour on the Diamond Princess and it was worth every cent!
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Old 29th Oct 2010, 09:18
  #88 (permalink)  
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The "Great Eastern", granted...
I did say 'spectacular', not profitable...

Here's to I K Brunel, for 'thinking big'.
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Old 29th Oct 2010, 09:25
  #89 (permalink)  
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Interesting aside on your post, Davaar, but I had never heard the term "long ton" before, as applied to the Imperial measure of 2240 lbs. I assume the US ton (2,000 lbs) is therefore called a short ton?

I get unreasonably annoyed when I see expressions like "coming down on him like a tonne of bricks" written thus. Just seems silly to me.
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Old 29th Oct 2010, 11:01
  #90 (permalink)  

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Re the bulbous bows on modern submarines, its to do with fitting inside the largest possible sonar transmitter/receiver "Aerial" dish* rather than with speed, also easier to make a hemi-spherical pressure vessel that shape. Most of these sinky targets just creep about at 2 or 3kts to stay quiet, though they have got a "dash" capability so they can do a tactical er... dash.

It is following the Orca's example though, the inside of their domed heads is mainly very large sinus cavities all the better to hear a prawn yawn at 20 miles.

Must be sheer hell for captive whales etc with all those noises pinging around off the concrete enclosures.

*Yeah, they also have rear looking sonars and side looking towed-arrays.
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Old 29th Oct 2010, 11:28
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Speaking of Bows here be a posh one.
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Old 29th Oct 2010, 12:10
  #92 (permalink)  
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Please tell us LR, what is that poignant epilogue? I thought I knew most of the I K Brunel story, and Davaar's account seemed pretty comprehensive to me, regarding the Great Eastern.
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Old 29th Oct 2010, 13:00
  #93 (permalink)  
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Well, I was relying on a book dedicated to the story, but now I read of old wife's tails and the story being repeated more than a few times. However, they could mostly be true. They were pressured times, especially for the desparate I K B.

The tale goes something like this:

Upon tearing the luckless vessel apart, the reason for all its bad luck was found trapped between the layers of its twin hulls.

The remains of two riveters; one man, one boy. Locked in by thick steel and unable to signal their plight because of the continuous noise, even into the night.

But the ship's bad luck also extended into the cable laying era.

For one period, they were getting more than their fare share of cable failures - it was monitored very frequently while spooling it out. Hours, even days of grappling for the faulty line would finally reveal a spike of metal penetrating the hard outer casing and shorting the circuit. At first, the Irish workers were blamed. Sabotage; some motive or another. But then some bright Spark (groan) discovered the shards came from the sides of the gargantuan reels. Huge losses by then, but the problem was solved.

The stories of pumping more and more voltage into the line to overcome the resistance is edge of seat stuff. Just too much, and the insulation is fried and the line rendered worthless.

It's fascinating to think some of the old cables to India are still in place. A shed in a cove on the Devon? Cornwall? coast has the terminations still in fine condition. I think these went first to Gibraltar, and may still test out, but the ongoing line was probably reformed into bayonets or cooking utensils by the end of the war.
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Old 29th Oct 2010, 13:01
  #94 (permalink)  
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chiglet (who started this thread) wrote:
There is a prog on UK Discovery Channel tomorrow [27/10/10] about Britain's Greatest Ship....
The Queen Elizabeth!
Built in Trieste, how on Earth can she be British?
You obviously refer to the recently-launched MS Queen Elizabeth, the cruise-liner owned by Carnival Corporation & Plc, currently operated by Cunard Line and flying the Red ensign, but as you correctly observe, was built in Italy...? As opposed to the older RMS Queen Elizabeth, a Royal mail ship / liner owned and operated by the Cunard White Star Line and flying the Red ensign, but built in Scotland, eventually succombing to a single or multiple massive fire/s and sinking in Hong Kong in 1972, under suspicious circumstances according to some sources...?!

So far as I'm aware, what makes any ship today a "UK" vessel (in the context of this thread) is not the real ownership of the vessel, the company that operates it, nor the country in which it was built. But the point that it flies the Red ensign. Which means that the ship has to comply with all UK shipping regulations, and may be requisitionned by HM's government if necessary. (So many of the largest luxury superyachts around today fly the Red ensign) You have to wonder why HM Queen Elizabeth II doesn't simply "requisition" Sir Donald Gosling's superyacht if merely for a 2 week sojourn in the Mediterranean, especially now that there is no longer the Royal Yacht Britannia at her disposition - or perhaps Sir Donald doesn't need to be "requisitionned"...?!

And what a shame that this thread was entitled "Britain's Greatest Ships?". If it had been headed "The United Kingdom Of Great Britain and Northern Ireland's Greatest Ships?", we might have been able to also discuss all the great Harland & Wolff ships built in Belfast, including the Titanic etc.

I can't really say what "the greatest ship" that "the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland" has produced to date. What I do surmise is that in view of the current UK Conservative / Liberal government coalition's decision to cut defense spending so drastically, confirming the order for the 2 aircraft carriers (yet reserving the possibility of reselling "the first one to come into service"), the UK's greatest ship after the UK's only serving carrier is retired early, for a decade or so, will be the French carrier le Charles de Gaulle...?!

PS. If the rosbif can envisage "doing without a real aircraft-carrier" for the next 6-10 years or so, perhaps they don't need any real aircraft-carriers anymore in the first place? And what would be the point of having any real aircraft-carrier if the US airplanes ordered to go with it were not available for delivery? Let's face it. If the UK MOD was serious about the need to have a couple of aircraft-carriers in service, they would have simply ordered these from France (but built in the UK with French assistance), modelled on the original Charles De Gaulle (ie. nuclear-powered) and supplied with Dassault Rafales (until, if or when, a more capable aircraft such as the JSF actually entered into general service and ceased being just an experimental airplane)...?

PPS. All ships, whatever the flag they fly, wherever they were built, whatever the nationalities of their owners or crews, are all GREAT. Provided that they serve faithfully their designed purpose, whether that is transporting cargoes and passengers safely, across oceans or not, or defending the realm when necessary.
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Old 29th Oct 2010, 13:06
  #95 (permalink)  
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Must be a few quids worth of scrap copper strung out across the Atlantic,surprised nobodies tried to fish it up or have they?
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Old 29th Oct 2010, 13:10
  #96 (permalink)  
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I'll get my dinghy out next week Cap'n.
Got any chart references?
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Old 29th Oct 2010, 14:00
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Adm. Draper's photo shows the figurehead of the SS Imperator of the Hamburg Amerika Line (strictly Hamburg Amerikanische Packetfahrt Actien Gesellschaft, or HAPAG, later HAPAG Lloyd), laid down 1910 and briefly the biggest ship in the world (oder, das größte Schiff der Welt). The eagle's wings were torn off by waves in the Atlantic.

Imperator had stability issues from the start; she was top heavy and developed a severe list on her maiden voyage. Most German lists were severe, due to the national character, and this one was no exception. The first class marble bathrooms were removed and the heavy furniture replaced with wicker.

Imperator was taken after WWI as reparations and ended up as the Cunard flagship RMS Berengaria. She was scrapped in 1946.

The motto reads: Mein Feld ist die Welt (My field is the world), although the Hamburg Amerika line itself had no territorial ambitions. That was another German concern, die Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei.
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Old 29th Oct 2010, 14:07
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There was a time when most ships in the world were British built, even the relatively few which did not fly a red or white ensign.

Here`s one, built in Birkenhead in the late 1800s....Argentinian training ship, El Presidente Sarmiento.

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Old 29th Oct 2010, 14:12
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I assume we're talking about the full rigged ship, not the smaller vessel underway next to it.

Been dahn the pub - thought I'd risk drinking and PPRuNing. I'm sure I'm not the only one...
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Old 29th Oct 2010, 14:16
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RJM, I knew I should have photoshopped that bit out.
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