The legendary Cunard Queen Elizabeth 2 on the Hudson River in New York City, October 16, 2008, as she departs for the final time.

20 September, 2009

Job No. 736

QE2 launching invitation
On this date, September 20, 1967, 42 years ago, the partially completed hull of QE2 was launched into the River Clyde by Queen Elizabeth II.  QE2 was still two years away from entering into service in 1969.  She was launched the traditional way, down the greased slipway, with drag chains attached to the hull to slow her speed into the water.  According to Cunard engineers, this event put more stress on the ship than she would ever encounter in her 39 years of service.  As the stern meets the water, it begins to rise, while the remaining portion of the ship is still supported on the wood cribbing on the slipway, putting tremendous bending moment stress on the hull.  Nowadays, ships are built in drydocks and gently "floated out" by raising the water in the drydock slowly.

From this photo taken across the Clyde, the aluminum superstructure of the ship, which reduced the draft of the ship, is visible as the darker upper areas about the white painted hull.  The bridge structure, funnel, and foremast have not been installed.  The stern wave created as the ship slid into the water reached the shore and drenched onlookers.  The launching went on without a hitch, but with a little help from a hydraulic ram fitted to the bow to give the ship a nudge if she did not begin the decent down the slipway after the Queen released her.  In fact there was several seconds of delay that seems to have been edited out of the launch footage commonly seen.  On our Farewell to the UK cruise, we received special booklets at dinner every night, and this fact is mentioned, as well as a description of the person involved with making the calculations required for the launch.  I believe he had been responsible for the previous Queens as well.  I will need to dig out the booklets to comfirm.

The footage in the links below brings tears to my eyes everytime I watch.

QE2 is without a doubt, the Pride of the Clyde.

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