Sea History 104 - Spring 2003

Page 40

SHIP NOTES, SEAPORT & MUSEUM NEWS SPUN YARN hotel and museum, was launched in 1936 The Sausalito-built, 23-foot yacht Merry by John Brown and Company of ClydeBear of 1931 returned to the water in bank, Scotland, for the Cunard White Star November 2002 after a makeover at the Line. (QM, 1126 Queens Highway, Long San Francisco Maritime NaBeach CA 90802; web site: tional Historical Park. Merry "k The Bear was the prototype for 69 South Carolina Maritime Bear-class sloops, and when Heritage Foundation is the Nunes shipyard released building the Spirit ofSouth their rights to the design in Carolina-based on the pi1938, the Bears became the lot schooner Frances ELimlargest one-design class in the beth of the l 870s-at a shipBay area. (SFMNHP, Buildyard in Charleston near the ing E, Lower Fort Mason, site of the Samuel]. Pregnall Room 26 5, San Francisco CA & Bros. Shipyard, where the 94123; 415 561-6662; web original vessel was constructsite: "k ed. Visitors can view the conThe Queen Mary marked Relaunching of struction process. The schooher 35th year berthed at Merry Bear ner is scheduled to be launched Long Beach, California, in December in September 2004. (South Carolina Mari2002. The former Blue Riband-holder and time Heritage Foundation, PO Box 22405, WWII troop ship, which now serves as a Charleston SC 29413; 843 722-1030; e-

American Superliner to Return to the Seas The famed American ocean liner SS United States has gained yet another reprieve from the scrapyard. Norwegian Cruise Line announced in April that they had purchased the 50-year-old ship and have plans to convert the vessel to a modern cruise ship as part of a fleet of four US-flagged ships. As an American-built ship, the United States can operate between US ports without making the stops in a non-US port dictated for foreign vessels under the Jones Act. Designed by William Francis G ibbs and built by the Newport News Shipbuilding Company for the United States Line in 1951, on her maiden voyage in July 1952 the United States crossed theNonhAtlantic in three days, ten hours and forty-twominutesan unbroken record that won her the Blue Riband. She was laid up in 1969 and purchased by the US Maritime Admin istration in 1973. The ship has been across the Atlantic to Turkey and the Ukraine for a proposed refitting by a development company, but those plans fell through after the ship was gutted, and she returned to the US in 1996. The venerable ship has awaited her fate in Philadelphia since then. Several preservation and development groups have proposed various uses for the liner, but none came to fruition. In February 2003 owner Edward A. Cantor died, resulting in renewed efforts by preservationists and a flurry of rumors regarding the United States. Engineers for NCL have concluded that the ship's hull is sound, and the company is determining the extent of renovations needed to convert her to a cruise ship. The refurbishment of the hull SS United S rares being towed through the Bosporus on her way and superstructure will be to Sevastopol in October 1993. (Courtesy SS United States done at US shipyards with the outfitting comPreservation Society) pleted overseas. NCL previo usly converted the North Atlantic liner SS France into the cruise ship SS Norway. (NCL web site: www; SS United States Preservation Foundation web si te: 38

Spirit of South Carolina under construction mail:; web site: "k The Coast Guard National Museum Association has unveiled plans for the new $30-million Coast Guard National Museum, to be located in New London, Connecticut. T he planned four-story museum will incorporate interactive displays, an IMAX theater, and gallery spaces for memorabilia spanning more than two hundred years of Coast Guard operations. (Coast Guard Museum, c/o US Coast GuardAcademy, 15 Mohegan Avenue, New Londo n CT 06320-8511; 860 444-8511) "k The Mariners' Museum acquired the Arthur Piver Collection of plans for trimaran boats from the 1950s and 1960s, designed by Piver's company, Pi-Craft. Piver, an amateur yacht designer, created trimarans that amateurs could construct using readily available materials. (TMM, 100 Museum Drive, Newport News VA23606-3759; 757 596-2222; web site: "k The Mystic Aquarium & Institute for Exploration in Mystic, Co nnecticut, has introduced a new exhib it, PT 109: Courage Under Fire, featuring the famous boat which, under Lieutenant John F. Kennedy's command, was hit by the Japanese destroyer Amagiri and sunk off the Solomon Islands in August 1943. The display includes footage of Dr. Robert Ballard's May 2002 A torpedo believed to be from PT-109 was discovered offthe Solomon Islands on a National Geographic expedition Led by ExpLorerin-Residence Robert BaLLard. (Photo ŠOdyssey Enterprises/Institute for Exploration)