Monday, July 08, 2013

British Pathé Newsreel: S.S. United States wins the Blue Riband on her maiden voyage.

The Blue Riband? It's an award that is not likely ever to be given again. It was for the passenger ship that made the fastest crossings, both eastward and westward, of the Atlantic, measured between the Ambrose Lightship off New York harbor and Bishop's Rock off Cornwall, England. S.S. United States won it on her maiden voyage in 1952, and retired with the title as transatlantic jet service supplanted ships. Queen Mary 2 annually makes one or two  transatlantic voyages between  my beloved Brooklyn and Southampton, England, traditional home port for Cunard liner services. Designed for cruising, Queen Mary 2 is unlikely to challenge any speed records.

Unfortunately, the United States is now in danger of going for scrap. The S.S. United States Conservancy, headed by Susan Gibbs, granddaughter of William Francis Gibbs, the marine architect and engineer who designed the great ship, is trying to raise funds to save her.  I'm hoping she may be preserved as a floating museum and perhaps hotel at a pier along what used to be "ocean liner row" on the west side of Manhattan, where she used to dock.

Update: The Conservancy has a Facebook page. Please consider giving them a "like."