The captain of the gigantic new White Star liner Adriatic, interviewed on the first visit of the vessel to New York, said that forty years' experience at sea, from small sailing ship to the last word in shipbuilding, had not robbed him of his love for the sea.
"The love of the ocean that took me to sea as a boy has never left me. In a way, a certain amount of wonder never leaves me, especially as I observe from the bridge a vessel plunging up and down in the trough of the sea . . . . I wonder how she does it, how she can keep afloat in such seas, and how she can go on and on safely to port. There is a wild grandeur, too, that appeals to me in the sea. A man never outgrows that."
But the captain stood in no awe of the sea. He confessed that he found a crowded London street much more awe-inspiring; the ocean was to him "a great domain of well-defined paths, with degrees of latitude and longitude slipping by like telegraph poles."
Of safety at sea he said that while he would not go so far as to say that the Adriatic was unsinkable, he could not imagine anything that would cause her to founder. But if there were a serious accident the vessel would not sink before ample time had been given to save the lives of all on board. As for high speed in liners, he said the travelling public preferred a large, comfortable boat of average speed; the Adriatic does only 17 knots. This is the class of boat that pays; "high speed eats up money mile by mile, and extreme high speed is suicidal."
He expected to see further startling developments in shipbuilding, but so far as merchantmen were concerned speed would not increase with size. No steamship company would build very fast boats without help from a Government. The captain confessed that his forty years at sea had been quite uneventful. He had never been in a wreck, or seen one, and had never experienced an accidnt [sic] worth talking about. But an officer put in a remark. "Don't forget when you write of the captain's uneventful life to put in that it is the great captain who doesn't let things happen."
The Poverty Bay Herald, Gisborne, New Zealand
Related Biographies:Edward John Smith
Relates to Ship:Adriatic
AcknowledgementsRetrieved from the National Library of New Zealand web site,