BY RICHARD T. CLAUS
ON HER MAIDEN voyage from NY on July 7 of 1952 the United States broke the trans Atlantic speed record between Ambrose Light and Bishops Rock to capture the famed Hales Trophy and the Blue Riband. Her average speed was 35.59k. The time elapsed was 3 days 10 hours and 40 min. A week later on her return voyage she broke the west-bound record making the crossing in 3 days, 12 hours and 12 min, for an average speed of 34.51 k. These records stand today. Two decades later it was finally revealed that she had made over 38k. on her first trials. 250,000 HP, and a superstructure largely of aluminum alloy were major reasons for this 53,000 ton liner’s speed.
This magnificent ship which cost $78,000,000 to build and could hold up to 2000 passengers was the brain child of William Francis Gibbs. He had been planning the ship since 1919. So engrossed was he with his creation, that until his death he rarely missed her New York sailings.
Every day he called the Chief Engineer to inquire about its function. Although he did not live to see it taken out of service in 1969, while in charge, he saw to it that the ship
was fastidiously maintained, with yearly dry docking at her construction site in Newport News, VA.