From raising the Titanicto building another one Or Big T pipe dreams


Nov 30, 2000
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There have been two grand pipe dreams that have been circulating around the Titanic through the ages.
The first, between 1912 to 1985 was raising the ship from the depths.
The second, from 1985 to present day has been building a "new" Titanic.
With the condition of the Titanic herself in dispute since she slipped under the waves, grand, yet fanciful, plans of raising her circulated about.
When the would-be salvors had to eat crow when Big T was found in two badly damaged halves on the ocean floor, the dream of raising her in her entireity vanished...and even more fanciful plans, this time of building a new Titanic (or more!) surfaced in their places.
Why so much obession with raising her or building her all over again?
Simply to complete her maiden voyage, which is not a bad wish, though one, alas, never to be attained in fact, only in the pages of Clive Cussler's excellent novel "Raise The Titanic!" and on the screen in the movie version of the aforesaid novel.
Just some thoughts.

Richard
 

Matthew Lips

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Mar 8, 2001
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"Pipe Dreams" is probably an under-statement! I'm not sure which is less viable, raising the shattered hulk from the seabed or building a carbon copy, but has been discussed many times already both concepts are utterly hopeless.

Perhaps it is hard for some people to accept the cruelty of something as spectacular and as beautiful as Titanic dying so young. The reality, though, is that (unless you can afford a dive to the Atlantic floor), she's gone, gone, gone.

It has been said (with what degree of accuracy I cannot comment) that the sinking of Titanic is the third most written about event in history after the life of Jesus and the death of JFK.

Just about everybody who doesn't live in a remote desert or jungle has heard of her in some context or another (thanks in huge part to James Cameron!) and as such she may well be the most famous man-made creation, if not of all time, then of the 20th century.

All this hullabaloo for an object which had a working life of basically four days, never once completed the job for which she was built, led to the deaths of more than 1500 people, and became an instantly recognizable synonym for disaster in any language.

The irony seems to be lost on most of the "raise her or rebuild her" crowd that Titanic is famous for only one thing - her tragic and extremely premature demise. In essence, she is arguably man's greatest flop of all time and that is truly her claim to fame (infamy?).

The attraction of recreating an object that has come to mean one thing - disaster - above all others is difficult for more level-headed minds to comprehend. This, of course, is even without going into all the technical, financial or "maritime" reasons why a Titanic clone could never be built. The principle is bad enough - the first one was a dreadful failure, let's try again.

I suppose, even after 93 years, it is hard for some to accept that the "unthinkable" did indeed happen to the "unsinkable", barely four days into her first voyage no less.

Just some meaningless ramblings...!
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>When the would-be salvors had to eat crow when Big T was found in two badly damaged halves on the ocean floor,...<<

For whatever it may be worth, I don't think you'll find *professional* salvagers had any such dreams at all. Raising even an intact vessel would have been a money losing proposition and they were well aware of that. I'll bet they got a good chuckle out of the schemes and still do. As to Matthew's "meaningless ramblings" I'm not convinced they're meaningless. Far from it, they seem bang on the money!
 
Nov 30, 2000
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I didn't mean professional salvors, Mike. It was always loose bolts (i.e. fanciful folks) who went around promoting them thar raise the Titanic for real ideas in the first place (or, in that one case, wanted to turn her into paperweights. Ack! That company called "Big Events" came up with that lulu of an idea, btw.)

Richard
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>I didn't mean professional salvors, Mike<<

Okay. Fair enough. And point taken on the nutjobs. quite a few of them out there and yoiu always have to wonder just what it is they're smoking. Whatever it is, I don't think Dunhill offers it in their catalogue.
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>>Ack! That company called "Big Events" came up with that lulu of an idea, btw.)<<

Oh really? Do tell!
 
Nov 30, 2000
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"Whatever it is, I don't think Dunhill offers it in their catalogue."

LOL I don't doubt that, Mike, and I bet it was being puffed by the guy who announced he was going to build THREE new Titanics shortly after the Titanic herself was found. :)

Richard
 
Dec 4, 2000
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While I do not want to see a "T-2" launched, I do long to see another ship with the grace and majesty of the Olympic class. Looking at today's cruise ships a like getting hit in the eye with a box car. There was an eye sweetness to the Olympics that seems as far away from modern life as hobble skirts and celluloid collars.

-- David G. Brown
 
Jun 12, 2004
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I presume, then, Dave that you think that the building of another Titanic is a bad idea because it should remain where it belongs - in the past? I also infer by that that you seem to think that another Titanic, built today, would lose some of its grandeur and Edwardian feel? Well, just because a new Titanic is built in honor of the original doesn't mean that it has to follow suit in every way. The original was the original; a second Titanic, though sharing the same name, would be something different. The last thing we'd want to do is make something exactly as it was before (increased number of life boats and other advanced safety precautions aside).

Not that I advocate the building of a new Titanic, mind you. My apologies. I don't mean to appear as if I misunderstood your point(s). This is just an added thought or two.
 
Dec 4, 2000
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Mark -- A damned fool with money can do about anything these days. However, it is impossible to build an exact copy of Titanic and sail it with passengers today. You couldn't even use an exact copy of the ship as a hotel. It was a horrible fire trap: a steel barbecue kettle filled with a wooden interior with plenty of "beef" in the passengers to roast.

As I've said, a true reproduction is impossible; anything less would be a fraud.

My comment above had more to do with the tastelessness of contemporary culture. There was a time when beauty and proportion were part of good design. That seems to have been a casualty of WW-II. Since then buildings have become blocks and ships..well, I can't use the proper words in a public forum.

Think about Titanic sinking today. Imagine a Hip-Hop or Rap group jammin' for the passengers. How would "Nearer My God To Thee" sound in Rock tempo? We've made a mockery of our history and our heritage and that extends beyond music to all of the arts, including naval architecture.

No, Titanic belongs where it is. A reproduction would be ghoulish. But, a pretty ship with honest lines and a bold look...ah, that's another thing.

--David G. Brown
 
Feb 7, 2005
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Well said, Cap'n. Much has been lost when it comes to aesthetics in ship building--and in so many other areas! Grace, beauty, proportion, and lines are rarely considered anymore. Efficiency, while always being an important factor in transporting cargo (including the human variety), now rules supreme. In many ways it's understandable, but it is a shame. There is more to a ship than how close a hull comes to the "block coefficient of 1.0"!

Denise
 
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A few random thoughts that might be relevant to this conversation:

- The very safety regulations inspired by the disaster would prohibit the sailing of a historically-correct Titanic replica. Conforming to current SOLAS regulations would cause the replica ship's design to lose much of its authenticity and charm. An enlarged rudder, radar/comm antennas on top of the wheelhouse, lifeboats and rafts suspended from promenades, and structures removed to improve access, etc...the replica could only approximate the original.

- Riveted hulls are no longer standard practice in the shipbuilding industry, for good reason. Faking the appearance of a riveted hull creates more problems than it solves.

- The well decks in the Olympic class were designed for one purpose only...the push the highest continuous deck down as low as possible, thereby keeping steerage quarters as low in the hull as possible (reference the requirements for emigrant ships). Otherwise, the fore and aft well decks are wasted space from a cost-efficiency standpoint. Why repeat an outdated restriction? How does the designer justify keeping those huge funnels?

- Titanic and her ilk were emigrant ships, or "liners." Today's emphasis is on cruising, not straight crossings. It doesn't matter if one argues that Titanic, Lusitania, Imperator or Ile de France were superior aesthetically...the fact is that none of those ships would efficently support the modern cruise industry.

- Economic distinctions are not as clear-cut as they were in 1912. Who would pay for a low-fare ticket aboard a replica Titanic, knowing that they would be prohibited from eating in the First-class Dining Saloon, relaxing in the Reading & Writing Lounge, working out in the Gymnasium, or swimming in the Swimming Bath? And, if the class distinctions for these attractions were swept away, then how would those spaces physically accommodate the greater influx of people? How many people can fit into a 30-ft-long pool at one time?

- What about luxuries not envisioned by Titanic's designers, which are expected by today's travellers? Where does one take their morning run, for example? What entertainment can be arranged for a population that expects large-scale productions shows and scheduled activities? Today's typical ocean traveller is not content with only a deck chair, blanket and good book.

- Similarly, the passenger compliment is dramatically reduced when everyone is entitled to a private cabin. Communal toilets would not be appreciated at the prices charged. If the designers were to provide even the minimal amount of convenience expected by today's travelers, then the resulting passenger compliment would be only a fraction of Titanic's original capacity. How would an owner keep a replica Titanic economically viable? Raise the cost of tickets, beyond the industry competitive rate? Assuming that people would pay extra money to travel in Titanic, we find ourselves full circle back to the matter of expectation vs. the ability of the original design of the ship to provide.

- In order to remain economically viable, a modern cruise ship of Titanic's GRT must carry somewhere between 500-1000 passengers. Modern ships of this size are normally used in the Mediterrean, Aegean and Caribbean. A Titanic replica would be of too deep a draft and require too much in the way of port services (including tugs) to survive in that environment. Also, because of Titanic's original labour-intensive internal layout, a comparitively large crew would be required, further driving up costs. Open-ocean cruising is handled today by the largest ships...100,000 GRT and up, carrying well over 1000 passengers. A replica Titanic could not compete and/or remain financially viable.

Titanic may have sunk before her time, but liners died from natural causes a long time ago. Any ship built now must be built to accommodate the new realities of ocean travel.

Lastly, wouldn't the attraction of sailing aboard a replica Titanic be macabre, by definition? Why vacation aboard the namesake of a ship known mainly for a disaster in which over 1500 people met a horrible fate? Of course, you could name the replica "Olympic 2" (O2? Doesn't work for me) or (what I would consider to be more fitting) "Gigantic," but we all know that the real draw is in the name, "Titanic." No investor would consider anything else. I find it interesting that many people who consider the wreck hallowed ground have no problem with the Titanic name being exploited commercially.

Parks
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>But, a pretty ship with honest lines and a bold look...ah, that's another thing.<<

I wouldn't disagree with that and if anyone could make it economically attractive, I'm sure it would have been done by now. Can't say as I much love the current floating boxes, but form following function as it does, it was probably unavoidable. Nobody wants to be crammed into a cabin with less space per person then a Death Row inmate enjoys in prison, and people want their casinos, clubs, shows, shopes, en suite bathrooms as well as a room with a view.

Not to worry though. As I've often said, I think sometime in the future, people will look upon todays cruise ships as "classic" while deploring the lines of the new, but they'll still buy the tickets!
 

robin ayotte

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Nov 17, 2002
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its the ship and the 1912 period that i would find interesting and the way of live then that i find fascinating i would love to go on the titanic 2 if it was posible. call me nuts i dont care lol
 

Matthew Lips

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Asking the passenger of today to travel aboard a Titanic replica would be like expecting frequent fliers to cross the Atlantic in a Dakota. Who wants the speed, relative comfort and convenience of a modern airliner when you can crawl along in a little tin can which needs to make several refuelling stops just to complete one transatlantic journey??

You might as well ask for volunteers willing to pay a fortune to be transported in a copy of that hydrogen-filled death trap called the "Hindenburg!"

When all is said and done, this discussion has been done to death and Parks has explained very well why it isn't ever going to happen.
 
Jan 28, 2003
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D'you know, I know someone who travelled in an ancient Dakota only 3 years ago. He said it was very elemental experience. But it was not over the Atlantic. However, I am sure there are loads of people who would be willing to travel as volunteers on a replica "Hindenburg" - just for the experience. Even if you and I, Matthew, would be off the passenger list.
 
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I wouldn't mind a short little run around the block on a replica of the Hindenburg, but as far as the experience, I think I can do without explosions, fires, sudden death and other fun things. Can we drop those from the program?
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robin ayotte

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most people go on cruise to relax and have fun not speed, most of our vac. have been taken in cars and we have seen most of the usa that way, we have all ways had lots of fun and seen lots more than we would of if we flew. we even went on a coal train for 4 hours that was a lot of fun till you had to wash the cold dust out of you hair lol. so the titanic not posible. but i still think it would be fun, even if it was like the queen mary were it just sat by the dock.
 

Matthew Lips

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Don't get me wrong, guys. The Dakota was a spectacular piece of work for its time, and can surely be considered the most successful prop-driven commercial airliner of all time. It also gave enormous service in a military capacity and doubtless deserves all the praise heaped on it from its countless fans worldwide. (Use a good search engine and you may be amazed how many DC 3 Dakota websites will pop up!)

However, there is patently no way that the Dakota is ever going to regain the role it enjoyed before much bigger, much faster and at least a bit roomier airliners took its place. Even less (and this is the key point really) are new Dakotas ever going to be built, even if quite a few old models have been refurbished and kept aloft - including one imagines, the one in which Monica's friend travelled.

As for the Hindenburg, fill it with helium and I would be more than happy to take a short hop for the fun of it. As long as that great big bag is full of hydrogen, count me out!
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Google gave me a list of 104,000 websites for the Douglas DC-3. This has been one tough, useful and evergreen aircraft and it's still in use today in regions where anything else amounts to either too much or too little. Having said that much, as Matthew pointed out, it would never be viable as a commercial passenger transport on a worldwide scale. It's been long supplanted by aircraft that are faster, quieter, and more comfortable.

Much the same applies to any Edwardian liner any of us would care to name. While comfortable and roomy by the standards of the day, by our own reckoning, even some of the best cabins in 1st Class would amount to little more then well decorated jail cells as far as size goes. One where you could at least open the door from the inside, and you'd have to. With few that had en suite lavatories, you'd have to step out to the public restrooms to use the loo.

>>As for the Hindenburg, fill it with helium and I would be more than happy to take a short hop for the fun of it. As long as that great big bag is full of hydrogen, count me out!<<

Curiously enough, I don't think the hydrogen itself would have been that much of a problem had that been the only factor in that particular accident. However, it wasn't. Surviving examples of the Hindenberg's skin still exist and have been analyzed and it was found to have been doped over with cellulose acetate (A plastic) and aluminium powder which is used for fuel air explosives and solid rocket fuel.

Do the math!

Addendum: For more resources on the Hindenberg accident, see This Webpage
 
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Wayne Keen

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I think the only way you get an "exact" replica built is if some ultra-rich eccentric does it for a personal reason. (Its on my list for the day I become ultra-rich anyway ;) )

Imagine though, the number of people you could put to work on such a project...

Wayne
 

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