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65 Years Ago Today, the SS United States Set Out on Her Maiden Voyage

She was a record breaker on that historic transatlantic trip-- and she's still beating all the odds today.

Advanced publicity for the SS United States had primed the American public for a record-breaking vessel. Secrecy was tight during the builder’s trials in June of 1952, but it was later learned that the vessel exceeded 38 knots, or 44 miles per hour. She traveled 20 knots in reverse.

On July 3rd, 1952, the SS United States set forth on her much-anticipated maiden voyage, timed to coincide with the national Fourth of July celebrations.

America's Flagship returns from her record-breaking Maiden Voyage

Her captain, Commodore Harry Manning—a celebrity in his own right, who had been a navigator for Amelia Earhart—carefully avoided any promises of a record-breaking run, especially when the ship encountered a fog bank during the first day out. Once clear of the hazard, Commodore Manning, with typical bravado, ordered the ship’s engines to be increased to full power. The ship’s speed, combined with the gale force winds and heavy seas, created on-deck conditions that kept most passengers inside—or at least in the enclosed promenades. So strong was the wind speed that the adventurous few who did venture out onto the open decks likened facing forward to being punched in the face.

Miraculously, the dreaded vibration expected on high-speed liners was virtually absent, even when the ship attained her highest-ever service speed of 36 knots!


Today is truly a famous day in the annals of SS United States history. And as we approach July 4th, there's no better time to join the effort to rescue and revitalize America's Flagship-- visit our GoFundMe page and make your donation today.

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