Author Topic: Hurricane of September 1978  (Read 10661 times)

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Offline Alan Snelson

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Hurricane of September 1978
« on: Mar 01, 2013, 07:31 PM »
In September 1978 on my third trip aboard QE2 as a photographer we encountered some of worst the North Atlantic can throw at you in the shape of a Violent storm/Hurricane. I have uploaded these pics to the gallery. Our intrepid chief photographer, Tony Secker, managed to persuade Captain Ridley to allow him to go out on to the bridge wings, the photos posted are some of the result.



Although they give an impression of what was happening these sort of photos can never really do it justice. One of the First Officers later told me that our 'course over the ground' was going backwards for about 12 hours, the details on the weather charts I have uploaded give more information.





It is hard to imagine, under normal sailing conditions, that a ship of her size could literally be tossed about like a cork but that was how it felt.  My two main memories of the worst couple of days of the storm were seeing one passenger being thrown out of their seat in the Theatre Bar and landing in a heap on the floor, thankfully not injured but definitely shaken. I also remember one passenger asking Captain Ridley if he should call the Coastguard for help.  His reply to her was "If the Coastguard was out here with us they would probably be calling us for help" followed by one of his chuckles.

One of the photos shows damage to the Starboard bow rail, the hinged observation platform was also ripped off during the storm and if my memory serves me correctly, what was left of it was recovered from the astro-turf on the forward passenger viewing area under the ships bridge.



Another of the list of great memories of a great ship



https://www.theqe2story.com/forum/gallery/displayimage.php?pid=2961
« Last Edit: Mar 02, 2013, 10:57 AM by Lynda Bradford »
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Alan.C.

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Re: Hurricane of September 1978
« Reply #1 on: Mar 01, 2013, 08:53 PM »
Excellent photos, they remind me of this video of the QE2's bow plowing through rough seas, only it seems rather calm compared to what you went through!



Online cunardqueen

Re: Hurricane of September 1978
« Reply #2 on: Mar 01, 2013, 10:11 PM »
Great photos,and what is surprising is that no matter how rough it looks, you still have this feeling of being safe...
But is it better to pitch or roll, l prefer to pitch..anyone else?
Thanks for sharing
From the moment you first glimpsed the Queen,
 you just knew you were in for a very special time ahead.!

Online Lynda Bradford

Re: Hurricane of September 1978
« Reply #3 on: Mar 02, 2013, 10:58 AM »
Fantastic story and photos Alan.  I have added the photos you uploaded to the gallery to your post.  If you want any of these changed to a different position just let me know.

There are instruction of how to add photo from the gallery to you post in the "Information, How to include Pictures with your forum message" (reply 2) topic board. But if anyone needs help with this just ask one of the Moderators and we would be happy to help.
https://www.theqe2story.com/forum/index.php/topic,2337.0.html
« Last Edit: Mar 02, 2013, 11:07 AM by Lynda Bradford »
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Online Isabelle Prondzynski

Re: Hurricane of September 1978
« Reply #4 on: Mar 02, 2013, 11:37 AM »
What an amazing story and pictures, Alan -- thank you!

The pictures can be seen and enlarged in the QE2Story Gallery, here :

https://www.theqe2story.com/forum/gallery/thumbnails.php?album=5

I was particularly delighted to read the text on the third one, where Captain Ridley tells the events and congratulates the passengers on their fortitude :



The hurricane is now included in the QE2 timeline (11 - 12 September 1978), here :

https://www.theqe2story.com/forum/index.php/topic,1789.0.html

Amazing to think that Hurricane Luis also happened on 11 September (in this case 1995). And I vividly remember an Atlantic storm on 11 September 2008 (the only time I ever got seasick) -- what a magnificent day it was, although of course our adventures could not compare with this one.
« Last Edit: Mar 02, 2013, 01:57 PM by Isabelle Prondzynski »

Offline Alan Snelson

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Re: Hurricane of September 1978
« Reply #5 on: Mar 02, 2013, 01:08 PM »
Thanks to the moderators for tidying up my post, it looks great.

As for cunardqeeen's question I prefer pitch to roll any day.

When I first joined QE2 all the photos we took were displayed in locked cabinets along the forward corridors on boat deck, passengers would make a note of the photo number and come to our little kiosk on the port side to place an order. Late that night after the pictures we had taken that night were ready for display we would all go up and take down the sold photos and put up the new ones. On my first trip I was assigned to man the kiosk during the day. It was a really calm day and as we sailed on, the ship took on a gentle roll, unfortunately the view from the kiosk was of the plain wood panelled wall opposite and as the ship rolled, the drawers in our little shop slowly slid out and back, out and back, after a couple of hours of this I began feeling more and more seasick and had to be relieved.  That was the one and only time I was ever seasick and that is why I prefer pitch to roll.
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Online Isabelle Prondzynski

Re: Hurricane of September 1978
« Reply #6 on: Mar 02, 2013, 02:02 PM »
That made me smile, Alan -- and I can quite see the scene before my inner eye!

I wondered about the certificate signed by Captain Ridley above. How was this printed at the time, and on what sort of paper? Things have moved on so far in between that we forget they were not always as they are now. The map looks as though it was copied on a fax machine. The equipment used must all have been on board QE2 so that the certificates could be given  to the passengers before the end of their crossing.

Do you have the actual certificate there in front of you, Alan, or is yours a photograph of it?

Offline Janice Naylor

Re: Hurricane of September 1978
« Reply #7 on: Mar 02, 2013, 03:15 PM »
What a harrowing story.  A few things struck me as I read it and looked at the photos:  one, I spent two weeks on the QE2 just four months before the storm; two, as much as I love her I'm glad I wasn't on board, and three, what a magnificent ship to get through that type of storm relatively unscathed.  Thank you for the post, Alan.
Whenever I hear a sea story I think of the first time I saw the QE2 and the great adventures that followed.

Offline Alan Snelson

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Re: Hurricane of September 1978
« Reply #8 on: Mar 02, 2013, 03:56 PM »
Hi Isabelle
Yes it does look like a fax copy. I think the system in use at that time was known as weatherfax or something similar. Perhaps one of the bridge officers could confirm that if they read this post. As you say technology has moved on at such a pace since then, very little in the way of satellite communications back then, even making a phone call from the ship had to be done via radio link.

As for your question about the printing, there was a printers shop on board that printed menus and the qe2 newspaper amongst other things, so I presume that they were given a copy of the weatherfax with the details overlaid on it and were able to produce it in large numbers. I wonder how many still survive to this day?

Yes I am fortunate enough to have an original collected from the ship at the time, it measures 16 * 11 inches which I think is A3 and is why I had to scan it in two parts as I only have an A4 scanner.
« Last Edit: Mar 02, 2013, 05:46 PM by Alan Snelson »
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Online Rob Lightbody

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Re: Hurricane of September 1978
« Reply #9 on: Mar 02, 2013, 06:21 PM »
Really awesome photos and story, can't imagine the thrill and exhilaration of being out on the bridge wing during that!

Thanks so much for sharing here on the forum.
Passionate about QE2's service life for 37 years and creator of this website.  Worked in IT for 27 years and created my personal QE2 website in 1994.

Online Rod

Re: Hurricane of September 1978
« Reply #10 on: Mar 02, 2013, 10:37 PM »
Really awesome photos and story, can't imagine the thrill and exhilaration of being out on the bridge wing during that!

Thanks so much for sharing here on the forum.

Rob, thrill and exhillaration fades quickly if you have to work in it!

Online Rob Lightbody

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Re: Hurricane of September 1978
« Reply #11 on: Mar 03, 2013, 09:48 AM »
Rob, thrill and exhillaration fades quickly if you have to work in it!

Would you go back to QE2 at sea for a day now if you could?
Passionate about QE2's service life for 37 years and creator of this website.  Worked in IT for 27 years and created my personal QE2 website in 1994.

Online Rod

Re: Hurricane of September 1978
« Reply #12 on: Mar 03, 2013, 10:10 AM »
Would you go back to QE2 at sea for a day now if you could?

With the crew of the 80's????
IN A HEARTBEAT!!!!

Offline pete cain

Re: Hurricane of September 1978
« Reply #13 on: Mar 03, 2013, 05:33 PM »
Not entirely on topic here , but a Youtube video from 1988/89 which might give a hint , she certainly coped with some horrendous weather over the years , as ever thanks to Youtube & those who post'. well worth a look if you've not seen it before , sorry if previously posted..


     
« Last Edit: Mar 03, 2013, 06:29 PM by Isabelle Prondzynski »

Online Peter Mugridge

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Re: Hurricane of September 1978
« Reply #14 on: Mar 03, 2013, 10:35 PM »
What is striking from that video is that even in those conditions she was obviously going faster than most of the modern vessels can do flat out in mill pond conditions...
"It is a capital mistake to allow any mechanical object to realise that you are in a hurry!"

Offline highlander0108

Re: Hurricane of September 1978
« Reply #15 on: Mar 04, 2013, 01:24 AM »
This post topic has really jogged my memory. Boating friends grandparents were on this rough crossing and recalled their tail to us when they returned, stating that they had lived through a hurricane onboard QE2 in style!  I recall them noting that much of the furniture was damaged and thrown about on this crossing.  I need to get in touch with them.  I recall they had been issued a certificate from the captain too.
« Last Edit: Jul 17, 2013, 03:58 AM by highlander0108 »
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lewisstone

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Re: Hurricane of September 1978
« Reply #16 on: Jul 16, 2013, 07:47 PM »
I remember the hurricane that year, during the night there was a huge bump as the stern went over a wave, in the morning when I got up, two chairs that we had in the cabin were in mid air, as the ship came down with a bump the chairs shot up and a draw came out trapping the chairs against my locker, they were at least a foot off of the deck, I also have a photo of the ship ploughing into a huge wave. my cabin number was 456,

Offline Jerry Egerton

Re: Hurricane of September 1978
« Reply #17 on: Feb 03, 2019, 08:24 PM »
Remember it very well. Web had the New York Metz (or Yankees. I forget which) on board at the time crossing from Boston to Southampton. In fact they made a film of the storm though not about the QE2. Check out 'The Perfect Storm'

Not entirely on topic here , but a Youtube video from 1988/89 which might give a hint , she certainly coped with some horrendous weather over the years , as ever thanks to Youtube & those who post'. well worth a look if you've not seen it before , sorry if previously posted..


     

Online Isabelle Prondzynski

Re: Hurricane of September 1978
« Reply #18 on: Feb 03, 2019, 09:27 PM »
Remember it very well. Web had the New York Metz (or Yankees. I forget which) on board at the time crossing from Boston to Southampton. In fact they made a film of the storm though not about the QE2. Check out 'The Perfect Storm'

Thank you for reminding us of this storm. The video shows quite some amazing damage...

It is also really interesting to see the interiors of QE2 at that time, and to hear Captain Woodall's voice, speaking so calmly about his duties to guide QE2 through those rough seas, and mentioning the delay in reaching Southampton. She was now due to arrive there on Sunday at about mid-morning -- I wonder which Sunday this was, and what her originally scheduled arrival time would have been?

 

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