Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: NC, U.S.A.
Incredible! As much as I love naval history, you wouldn't have been able to get me on one of those ships in the olden days. Was it Ben Johnson who said the famous quote about prison vs a ship; the only difference was with a ship, there was also a fear of drowning.
Rick- not just the Vasa and Mary Rose either. The worst disaster in maritime history prior to the Titanic was the wreck of the Royal George off Spithead in 178?. The ship was loaded with crowds, families, dignitaries while they were preparing to careen the hull. The guns had been moved from one side of the ship to the other to slightly tilt it, but the lower ports had been left open! Before they could correct the problem, the great ship (which had served in the Channel Fleet and during the Am Revolution) foundered. The loss of life was staggering. In the 1830's, they sent divers in the earliest deep diving apparatus to place a giant inflatable bladder in the ship to re-float it. It had just breached the surface when the powder hold blew, blasting the ship to pieces. To this day, one can sometimes find antiques made from the wood of the ship (I used to have a piece). Amazing how many senselessly tragic stories revolve around naval tragedy and colossal human error (Titanic, Mary Celeste, etc)