Building ships fast and other random thoughts.

It’s Monday morning and I am here in MD at our son Rob and DIL, Kandice’s home for a few days.   As I begin this post it’s around 06:00 and I am sitting here with my granddaughter Tori, she lives here too, and she’s none too happy to share me with my post.

Hours later…  Tori distractions and all…

It’s sort of jarring, in a good way, to be in such a different environment after months aboard Pandora with a near constant eye toward the weather.  I got up with Tori our new granddaughter who’s also currently blissfully oblivious to the weather at around 06:00.  Now it’s after 09:00 and I am just turning back to this post.  Somehow I don’t recall the utter inability to get anything done when Rob and his brother Christopher were this young but that’s probably because I realized that it was hopeless and didn’t even try to focus on anything other than them.

I guess I can’t totally blame Tori for not letting me get any writing done as she is quite cute, if distracting.  I was finally able to get this “happy” shot of her by using burst mode on the camera.  With 5 frames a second I got it.  That’s good as in that one second her emotions ranged from absolute happiness to a near meltdown.

Get the picture?  I finally did too.Of course, the reason that I am now writing this post is that her father is up and watching her.

Over the weekend we went to the birthday party of one Rob and Kandice’s friend’s one year old.  It turns out that Katie’s (the mom) father Denny (the grandfather), is involved with a WWII Liberty Ship, the John W. Brown, one of only two operational ships of it’s class left in the world.   There were 2,711 of these ships built for the war effort and an amazing number, 1,554 of them, were lost to enemy fire, the highest percentage losses of any branch of the service. Because of these tremendous losses, there was an urgent need to build these ships faster than the German U Boats were able to sink them.

As a result of these very heavy losses and the need to move troops and materiel to Europe during the war, it was very important to find a way to make these ships, and they were over 400′ long, finished and ready for sea as quickly as possible.  As a result, the building process was streamlined and while it took an average of 11 months to build a similar ship during WWI, using prefabricated parts, these ships were built in less than one month, a remarkable increase in efficiency.

These ships were built at a number of shipyards on both the east and west coasts with the first ship of this class launched, the Oliver Perry, in 100 days in Richmond CA.  This video talks about being able to construct a ship in less than a month.  Later on, there was competition between yards with a record set of launching in 7 days, 14 hours and 32 minutes from the laying of the keel to launch.   The ship was the Oliver Perry.  It’s an interesting story and worth reading.

And, speaking of Oliver Perry, he was a pretty important guy and there is a totally modern sailing ship bearing his name, beyond the first Liberty ship and others, that sails out of Newport RI.   She’s an educational vessel and a real beauty.This brief newsreel from the 40s talks about the process of building the Liberty ships, the first class of ships ever built in a modular way.  On the other hand, and not to be too random but this guy spent 8 years building his own boat. Eight days?  Eight years?  Random?  Yes indeed but sort of neat and he did that in Philadelphia and it’s even near Baltimore where the Brown was built.   Besides, this site is SAILpandora, isn’t it?  So there should be “sailboats” too.  Right?To get things built fast, it helps to have Uncle Sam behind you and the proverbial “ax to grind” with a powerful enemy in Hitler to help speed things up.

So, here we are 75 years later and the Liberty ship John W. Brown is now berthed in Baltimore and is still able to go to sea and goes out on a few cruises a year, mostly locally, for special occasions.  That would be an awesome way to see the Baltimore waterfront.

This is a great tour of her, the best video I found. They also have a simple website for her. . With so much great video footage available, I’d put up a “resource center” to catalog the “best of class” documents and video from the Web on the site but who am I to say.

Anyway, here I am in MD, Pandora’s down in the BVI and I’ll be getting together with my crew this week to talk about our run north.  I sure hope that the run up to CT is easier than the run south was back in January, gales and all.

This video, shot on that run, doesn’t begin to show what it was like and how big the waves were.  As is so often the case, “you had to be there” to appreciate it.Well, once is enough in the “gale department” so I hope that this trip is easier.

I guess that’s about it for now and it’s nearly 10:30 so I’d better get on with my day.  Rob needs help in the yard and Brenda is watching Tori.

Question:  Have you ever noticed that perfectly mature adults always talk to babies in a high pitched voice?   Why is that?

Perhaps I’ll explore that in a future post.  Perhaps not…

Besides, that would be a completely random segue in a post that has already pushed “random segues” to the limit.

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