19 February 2011

A Date with the Queens

This week in the history of the R. M. S. Queen Mary:

Tom Webster was on the overseas phone from London. He's doing eighty oil paintings for the gym of the Cunard Line's new "Queen Mary." Calling it "Cavalcade of Sport." He will appreciate your asking readers to suggest what sports figures should be included. And they should address him care of London Daily Mail.
- The Rochester Journal February 14, 1936


Date With Queens Calls for Sleep

NEW YORK, Feb. 15 (CP).--Capt. George B. Young of Bergenfield, N.J., has one inflexible rule: When he has a date with a "Queen" he gets to bed early the night before.

As a docking pilot with a big tugboat firm, he has regular dates twice a month with the two biggest queens in the world: the liners Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary. He is entrusted with bringing the big ships into their berths in the Hudson River and of course must be completely awake when he's on the bridge.

Young, who has had his first-class pilot's license since he was 21 and has been a docking pilot for 15 years, board the Queens near Battery Place at the lower end of Manhattan Island, relieving the harbor pilot who has brought the ship in from Ambrose Light.

"Make sure you say that the ship's master is always in charge," he says. "He doesn't turn that Queen over to us until he's confident we know how to handle her."

The world's largest liners are coaxed into their docks with a whistle. Young's signals from the bridge have to be picked up by a sailor and relayed to tugs on the starboard bow. Stern tugs, far out of reach of the whistle, get their signals from the ship's mighty horn. Tug pilots repeat the signals before following them so there will be no mistakes.

Everything is figured in advance--wind, tides, weight of the ship, the number of tugs needed, the pilots who handle the tugs.

"I consider the pilots as much as I do the tugs--they really know their business," says Young.

Young's business if varied. One Sunday he docked the 80,000-ton Queen Elizabeth. The next day it was a 4,000-ton banana boat.

All jobs are the same to him, but he considers his toughest was when he put the big Dutch liner Nieuw Amsterdam into dry dock in Erie Basin in 1946.

- The Saskatoon Star-Phoenix, February 15, 1951

...the provision of a new first class cocktail bar, and the transfer of an additional spacious public room to tourist class, are being made during the current overhaul of the Queen Mary which will be completed by March 10.
- The Montreal Gazette, February 15, 1964


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