On its maiden voyage on the Fourth of July in 1952, SS United States broke the transatlantic speed record held by Queen Mary for the previous 14 years by over 10 hours, making the maiden crossing in 3 days, 10 hours, 40 minutes at an average speed of 35.59 knots (40.96 mph). Today’s Queen Mary 2 currently operates a transatlantic sailing schedule with no stops that takes 6 days. The SS United States was really moving fast across the ocean.
The liner also broke the westbound crossing record by returning to America in 3 days 12 hours and 12 minutes at an average speed of 34.51 knots (39.71 mph), winning both the eastbound and westbound speed records marking the first time a U.S. flagged ship had held the speed record since the SS Baltic claimed the prize a century earlier. Most large mass-market vessels have top speeds around 21-24 knots. Smaller vessels and boats designed for long distances can go a few knots faster. The Queen Mary 2, for instance, can do 29 knots which is considered really fast for a large cruise ship.
Plans for the ship’s redevelopment include both an investment portion, concentrating on her establishment as a multi-use waterfront development, and a non-profit portion focusing on developing a world-class museum and educational program aboard the vessel. In the artists rendering above we see the SS United States as it might appear refurbished and docked in Miami, much like the Queen Mary is used on the West Coast as a tourist attraction and hotel.
Options include using the SS United States as a convention center, hotel, entertainment complex or just about anything else dignified enough to keep the ship floating and respect her history and the meaning she has for the maritime community.
Donations can be made via PayPal for individuals. Organizations are urged to contact the SS United States Conservancy. Fundraising and awareness efforts are already underway too at the SS United States Conservancy Cafe Press store where you can find everything from bumper stickers to coffee mugs and t-shirts.
Photos courtesy SS United States Conservancy