Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘The Blue Ribbon’ Category

03

Illustration showing when the giant North German Lloyd liner S.S. Europa steamed past Ambrose Light in New York Harbour setting a new record for speedy trans-Atlantic crossings. The Europa cut 18 minutes from the mark of 4 days, 17 hours and 24 minutes set by her sister ship, the Bremen. Read all about SS Europa here

Enhanced by Zemanta

Read Full Post »

01444_blu_rib11

City of New York was a British built passenger liner of the Inman Line that was designed to be the largest and fastest liner on the Atlantic. When she entered service in August 1888, she was the first twin screw express liner and while she did not achieve the westbound Blue Ribbon, she ultimately held the eastbound record from August 1892 to May 1893 at a speed of 20.11 knots. City of New York, and her sister City of Paris are considered especially beautiful ships and throughout their careers were rivals to the White Star Teutonic and Majestic. In February 1893, the Inman Line was merged into the American Line and by act of Congress, the renamed New York was transferred to the US flag. Beginning in the mid 1890s, New York and Paris were paired with St Louis and St Paul to form one of the premier Atlantic services. New York continued with the American Line until 1920 and was broken for scrap in 1923. She served the US Navy as Harvard during the Spanish American War and Plattsburg in World War I. She is also remembered for nearly colliding with the Titanic.

When International Navigation Company purchased the Inman Line in 1886, the fleet needed new units to revive the line’s fortunes against the Cunard Line and White Star. International Navigation’s Vice President, Clement Griscom immediately sailed to Liverpool with a commitment from the Pennsylvania Railroad to provide $2 million in capital towards the building of a new ship. Shipbuilders in Scotland were experiencing a recession at the time and offered to deliver two ships at $1,850,000 per unit. The Pennsylvania Railroad agreed to underwrite the additional capital and the contracts were signed for the City of New York and her sister, the City of Paris.

When designing the new liners, the lessons of the City of Rome fisaco were recalled. The original design called two ships of 8,500 GRT that were only slightly bigger than City of Rome, but with steel hulls and twin screws. Because powerful single screw liners were prone to shaft failure, they carried extensive rigging for sails. Twin screws rendered this extra rigging unnecessary. Starting in 1866, a few twin screw ships sailed the Atlantic, but the new Inman ships were the first twin screw express liners.

While size was increased by almost 25% to 10,500 GRT in the final design, the plan retained City of Rome’s classic clipper bow and three raked funnels. City of New York even had a figurehead of a female figure carved by sculptor James Allan. To address the vibration problems of most liners of the period, the new Inman liners were given a ratio of length to beam of 8.3 to 1 as compared to the then common ratio of 10 to 1. The hull was more extensively subdivided than previously attempted. The ships were equipped with a full double bottom and 15 transverse bulkheads that reached the saloon deck. They also received a fore-aft bulkhead over their entire length. Each ship had two triple expansion engines, of 9,000 indicated horsepower each that were placed in separate compartments. While the engines for the sisters were identical, the City of Paris produced 1,500 more horsepower than City of New York.

City of New York was designed for 540 first, 200 second and 1,000 steerage passengers. Her quarters were fitted with running hot and cold water, electric ventilation, and electric lighting. Her first class public rooms, such as library and smoking room, were fitted with walnut panels and her dining salon came with a massive dome that provided a natural light to the passengers.

The battle of the Blue Ribbon was a reality for more than a hundred years, but the ribbon was not. It may seem strange that the world’s leading ship owners and seafaring nations should fight over a ribbon, even though it was blue. When one knows that this ribbon didn’t even exist the effort put down to win it seems overwhelming. The cup didn’t turn up until 1935. But the ship owners were so caught up in the battle by then, that when Cunard White Star Line who were one of the first to receive the cup were asked where they kept it, they didn’t know. Records were set both on the westbound and the eastbound route.

This was the last of the ships in the “Blue Ribbon Holders” series, not because I don’t know the names of the rest, but because no good pictures or no information could be found – Ted

Share/Bookmark

Read Full Post »

01444_blu_rib10

City of Brussels was a British passenger liner that set the record for the fastest Atlantic eastbound voyage in 1869, becoming the first record breaker driven by a screw. Built by Tod and Macgregor, she served the Inman Line until 1883 when she sank with the loss of ten people after a collision while entering the Mersey.

In 1866, Inman commissioned City of Paris, which was the equal of the best steamers in the Cunard express mail fleet. The next year, responsibility for mail contracts was transferred from the Admirality to the Post Office and opened for bid. Inman was awarded one of the three weekly New York mail services and the fortnightly route to Halifax, Nova Scotia formerly held by Cunard. These contracts enabled Inman to continuing building its own fleet of express liners.

City of Brussels was designed as the partner for City of Paris, and as built carried 200 first class and 600 steerage. She had a ratio of length to beams of 9.5:1, making her almost the first "long boat". Another innovation was her steam steering gear, which was the first installed on a liner after the Great Eastern.

In her first year of service, City of Brussels took the eastbound record with a New York – Queenstown passage of 7 days, 20 hours, 33 minutes (14.74 knots). However, in 1870 she demonstrated the problem with single screw liners of this power when she lost her propeller and returned to Queenstown by sail.

Three years after she was commissioned, City of Brussels returned to the ship yard for an extra deck and other modifications to bring her into line with the innovative ships built for the new White Star Line. She emerged with a revised tonnage of 3750. In 1876, she was re-engined with compounds that reduced her coal consumption from 110 tons per day to 65 tons. At this time she received a second funnel. However, these modifications did not resolve the problem with her shaft. On April 23, 1877 her shaft broke, and she again returned to port under sail after being posted as overdue.

On January 7, 1883, City of Brussels found herself in heavy fog entering the Mersey after dropping off passengers at Queenstown on her return from New York. Her captain ordered the ship to stop until the weather cleared. The Kirby Hall, a new cargo ship being delivered with a minimum crew, proceeded without heeding the danger, and struck City of Brussels, almost cutting her in two. City of Brussels sank within 20 minutes with a loss of ten.

In 1984, the wreck of the City of Brussels was found by Wirral Sub-Aqua Club at 24 metres of water, just off the Mersey Bar. The bell from the wreck was brought up that day, although its whereabouts are presently unknown.

The battle of the Blue Ribbon was a reality for more than a hundred years, but the ribbon was not. It may seem strange that the world’s leading ship owners and seafaring nations should fight over a ribbon, even though it was blue. When one knows that this ribbon didn’t even exist the effort put down to win it seems overwhelming. The cup didn’t turn up until 1935. But the ship owners were so caught up in the battle by then, that when Cunard White Star Line who were one of the first to receive the cup were asked where they kept it, they didn’t know. Records were set both on the westbound and the eastbound route.

Share/Bookmark

Read Full Post »

01444_blu_rib9 

SS Normandie was an ocean liner built in Saint-Nazaire, France for the French Line Compagnie Générale Transatlantique. She entered service in 1935 as the largest and fastest passenger ship afloat; she is still the most powerful steam turbo-electric-propelled passenger ship ever built.

Her novel design and lavish interiors led many to consider her the greatest of ocean liners. Despite this, she was not a commercial success and relied partly on government subsidy to operate. During service as the flagship of the CGT, she made 139 transatlantic crossings westbound from her home port of Le Havre to New York and one fewer return. Normandie held the Blue Ribbon for the fastest transatlantic crossing at several points during her service career, during which the RMS Queen Mary was her chief rival.

During World War II, Normandie was seized by the United States authorities at New York and renamed USS Lafayette. In 1942, the liner caught fire while being converted to a troopship, capsized and sank at the New York Passenger Ship Terminal. Although salvaged at great expense, restoration was deemed too costly and she was scrapped in October 1946.

The beginnings of Normandie can be traced to the Roaring Twenties when shipping companies began looking to replace veterans such as the RMS Mauretania which had first sailed in 1907. Those earlier ships had been designed around the huge numbers of steerage-class immigrants from Europe to the United States. When the U.S. closed the door on most immigration in the early 1920s, steamship companies ordered vessels built to serve upper-class tourists instead, particularly Americans who traveled to Europe for alcohol-fueled fun during Prohibition. Companies like Cunard and the White Star Line planned to build their own superliners to rival newer ships on the scene; such vessels included the record-breaking Bremen and Europa, both German. The French Line began to plan its own superliner. Adolphe Cassandre’s famed 1935 depiction of the SS Normandie.

The French Line’s flagship was the Ile de France, which had modern Art Deco interiors but conservative hull design. The designers of the new French superliner intended to construct their new ship similar to French Line ships of the past but then they were approached by Vladimir Yourkevitch, a former ship architect for the Imperial Russian Navy, who had emigrated to France before the revolution. His ideas included a slanting clipper-like bow and a bulbous forefoot beneath the waterline, in combination with a slim hull. Yourkevitch’s concepts worked wonderfully in scale models which supported his design’s performance advantages. The French engineers were impressed and asked Yourkevitch to join their project. Reportedly, he also approached the Cunard Line with his ideas but was rejected because the bow was deemed too radical.

The battle of the Blue Ribbon was a reality for more than a hundred years, but the ribbon was not. It may seem strange that the world’s leading ship owners and seafaring nations should fight over a ribbon, even though it was blue. When one knows that this ribbon didn’t even exist the effort put down to win it seems overwhelming. The cup didn’t turn up until 1935. But the ship owners were so caught up in the battle by then, that when Cunard White Star Line who were one of the first to receive the cup were asked where they kept it, they didn’t know. Records were set both on the westbound and the eastbound route.

Share/Bookmark

Read Full Post »

01511_blu_rib8

The SS Rex was an Italian ocean liner launched in 1931. It held the westbound Blue Ribbon between 1933 and 1935. Originally built for the Navigazione Generale Italiana (NGI) as the SS Guglielmo Marconi, its state-ordered merger with the Lloyd Sabaudo line meant that the ship sailed for the newly created Italia Flotta Riunite (Italian Line). On May 12, 1938, in a demonstration of U.S. air power, three YB-17 bombers of the U.S. Army Air Corps intercepted the Rex 610 miles at sea in a highly publicized event.

The Rex operated transatlantic crossings from Italy with its running mate, the Conte di Savoia. On 8 September 1944, off Koper, Rex was hit by 123 rockets launched by RAF aircraft, caught fire from stem to stern, rolled onto the port side, and sank in shallow water. The ship was broken up at the site beginning in 1947.


Following North German Lloyd’s successful capture of the Blue Riband with its Bremen and Europa duo of ocean liners, the Rex was intended to be Italy’s effort to do the same. Amid great competition from other steamship companies, the Italian Line carried out a very attractive and enthusiastic publicity campaign for its two largest liners, the Rex and the Conte di Savoia.

Both ships were dubbed "The Riviera afloat". To carry the theme even further, sand was scattered in the outdoor swimming pools, creating a beach-like effect highlighted by multicolored umbrellas. Both ships were decorated in a classical style while the norm of the time was the Art Deco or the so called "Liner Style" that had been premiered onboard the French Line’s Ile de France in 1927. The ship’s exterior design had followed the trend set by Germany’s Bremen and Europa. The Rex sported a long hull with a moderately raked bow, two working funnels, but still featured the old-type overhanging counter stern found on such liners as the Olympic and Aquitania.

The first of this pair to be completed was, appropriately, the largest and fastest. It was christened the Rex in August 1931 in the presence of King Victor Emmanuel III and Queen Elena. In its goal of a record-breaking maiden voyage, its first run was a dismal failure. It sailed from Genoa in September, 1932, after a send off from Premier Benito Mussolini, with a passenger list of international celebrities. Unfortunately, while approaching Gibraltar, serious mechanical difficulties arose. Repairs took three days. Half its passengers requested to leave, preferring to reach Germany’s coasts and take the Europa; arriving in New York they found the Rex already into the dock. Lengthy repairs were required in New York before returning to Europe.

The Atlantic crossing ceased in the spring of 1940 and she was returned to Italian ports for safekeeping, with Rex laid up in Bari. With the surrender of Italy in 1943, the German government seized the Rex and had it towed to Trieste. Ultimately however this effort proved futile as the Rex was destroyed by Royal Air Force Beaufighters on September 8, 1944, in a successful effort to prevent German forces from using the liner to blockade the harbor entrance.

The battle of the Blue Ribbon was a reality for more than a hundred years, but the ribbon was not. It may seem strange that the world’s leading ship owners and seafaring nations should fight over a ribbon, even though it was blue. When one knows that this ribbon didn’t even exist the effort put down to win it seems overwhelming. The cup didn’t turn up until 1935. But the ship owners were so caught up in the battle by then, that when Cunard White Star Line who were one of the first to receive the cup were asked where they kept it, they didn’t know. Records were set both on the westbound and the eastbound route.

Share/Bookmark

Read Full Post »


RMS Campania was a British ocean liner owned by the Cunard Steamship Line Shipping Company, built by Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company of Govan, Scotland, and launched on Thursday, 8 September 1891.

Identical in dimensions and specifications to her sister ship RMS Lucania, Campania was the largest and fastest passenger liner afloat when she entered service in 1893. She crossed the Atlantic in less than six days; and on her second voyage in 1893, she won the prestigious Blue Ribbon, previously held by the Inman Liner SS City of Paris. The following year, Lucania won the Blue Ribbon and kept the title until 1898 – Campania being the marginally slower of the two sisters.Campania and Lucania were partly financed by the British Admiralty. The deal was that Cunard would receive money from the Government in return for constructing vessels to admiralty specifications and also on condition that the vessels go on the naval reserve list to serve as armed merchant cruisers when required by the government. The contracts were awarded to the Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company, which at the time was one of Britain’s biggest producers of warships. Plans were soon drawn up for a large, twin-screw steamer powered by triple expansion engines, and construction began in 1891, just 43 days after Cunards’ order. 

Campania had the largest triple expansion engines ever fitted to a Cunard ship. These engines were also the largest in the world at the time, and still rank today amongst the largest of the type ever constructed. They represent the limits of development for this kind of technology, which was superseded a few years later by turbine technology. In height, the engines reached from the double-bottom floor of the engine room to the top of the superstructure – almost three stories. Each engine had five cylinders. The two low pressure cylinders on each engine each measured 8´2″ (2.48 m) in diameter, and the engines operated with a stoke of 5′ 9″ (1.75 m). Together, the engines could generate a massive 31,000 ihp (23,000 kW), which produced an average of speed of 22 knots (41 km/h), and a record speed of 23½ knots.Each of the engines was placed in separate watertight engine compartments, in case of a hull breach in that area, for only one engine room would then be flooded, and the ship would still have power to limp home with the adjacent engine. In addition to this Campania had 16 transverse watertight compartments, which meant that she could remain afloat with any two compartments flooded.In their day, Campania and her sister offered the most luxurious first class passenger accommodation available. It was Victorian opulence at its peak – an expression of a highly confident and prosperous age that would never be quite repeated on any other ship. All the first class public rooms, and the en suite staterooms of the upper deck, were generally heavily panelled, in oak, satinwood or mahogany; and thickly carpeted. Velvet curtains hung aside the windows and portholes, while the furniture was richly upholstered in matching design. The predominant style was Art Nouveau, although other styles were also in use, such as “French Renaissance” which was applied to the forward first class entrance hall, whilst the 1st class smoking room was in “Elizabethan style”, comprising heavy oak panels surrounding the first open fireplace ever to be used aboard a passenger liner.

Perhaps the finest room in the vessels was the first class dining saloon measuring 20 by 30 m (66 by 98 ft) with a more than 10 m (33 ft) ceiling. Over the central part of the room was a well that rose through three decks to a skylight. It was done in a style described as “modified Italian style”, with a coffered ceiling in white and gold, supported by ionic pillars. The panelled walls were done in Spanish mahogany, in-laid with ivory and richly carved with pilasters and decorations.

The battle of the Blue Ribbon was a reality for more than a hundred years, but the ribbon was not. It may seem strange that the world’s leading ship owners and seafaring nations should fight over a ribbon, even though it was blue. When one knows that this ribbon didn’t even exist the effort put down to win it seems overwhelming. The cup didn’t turn up until 1935. But the ship owners were so caught up in the battle by then, that when Cunard White Star Line who were one of the first to receive the cup were asked where they kept it, they didn’t know. Records were set both on the westbound and the eastbound route.

 

Share/Bookmark

Read Full Post »

The White Star Line’s first four steamships met with great success in the trans-Atlantic market, and the line decided to build two more. The first of these was SS Adriatic, which was built by Harland and Wolff and launched on 17 October 1871; the second was the Celtic.

During the remainder of 1871 and the early part of 1872, Adriatic was fitted out. As a part of this process, a technology new to that era was tried on the ship. Up to this point, ships’ cabins were lit with oil lamps, but the builders decided to try new gas lamps on Adriatic. A machine was added to the engine room that made gas from coal, the first ship in the world to have such a system. However, problems with gas leaks could not be overcome, so the system was removed before the ship went into service.

Adriatic left on its maiden voyage on 11 April 1872, sailing from Liverpool to New York, under Captain Sir Digby Murray, who had captained the maiden voyage of the White Star’s first ship, the Oceanic the year before. Adriatic was similar in configuration to the earlier Oceanic-class ships, with a single funnel and four masts (highest of which was 150 feet), the first three of which were square-rigged. The hull was painted black in typical White Star fashion, and accommodated two classes, First and Steerage. As the largest of the six White Star Line ships, Adriatic received the designation as the Line’s flagship, a title which she held until the larger Britannic came on line in 1874.

A month later, during a subsequent Atlantic crossing to New York, Adriatic maintained an average speed of 14.52 knots and thus won the Blue Ribbon away from the Cunard Line’s Scotia, which had held it since 1866.

Adriatic was involved in several accidents. The first of these occurred in October, 1874, when Adriatic, while sailing parallel with the Cunard Line Parthia, collided with it, with little damage to either ship. In March, 1875, Adriatic rammed the American ship Columbus in New York harbor, and Columbus subsequently sunk. In December of the same year, in St. Georges Channel, Adriatic ran down and sunk the sailing vessel Harvest Queen in an accident that resulted in the loss of all life aboard Harvest Queen. Queen sunk so quickly that the crew of Adriatic could not identify what boat they had hit, and only a records search later showed who the victim had been. On 19 July 1878, Adriatic hit the brig G. A. Pike off of South Wales, killing five crew onboard Pike. Blame was fixed on Adriatic for excessive speed.

In 1884, Adriatic underwent a refit, during which accommodations for 50 Second Class passengers were added. In 1897, she was deemed too old for regular trans-Atlantic service, and was then laid up as a reserve ship for the Line, at Birkenhead. When the second Oceanic entered service in 1899, Adriatic was sold for scrap, arriving in Preston on 12 February.

The battle of the Blue Ribbon was a reality for more than a hundred years, but the ribbon was not. It may seem strange that the world’s leading ship owners and seafaring nations should fight over a ribbon, even though it was blue. When one knows that this ribbon didn’t even exist the effort put down to win it seems overwhelming. The cup didn’t turn up until 1935. But the ship owners were so caught up in the battle by then, that when Cunard White Star Line who were one of the first to receive the cup were asked where they kept it, they didn’t know. Records were set both on the westbound and the eastbound route.

Share/Bookmark

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »