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Author Topic: Area has ties to the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, 40th anniversary this 11/10  (Read 5046 times)

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BigRedDog

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I wasn't up here at that time, but obviously heard about it after the fact.

I met a guy who grew up on Kelly's Island when I first moved to the area and he told me that damn near everyone he knew was around a radio of some sorts listening to the event.  He said word spread quickly before the eventual sinking and many were listening live.

It was a nasty and huge storm so anyone on any of the Great Lakes most likely was concerned with what was going on.  We lived in the central part of the state at the time (Midland County) although my paternal grandparents were still living north of Newberry near Deer Park.

When I arrived in Grand Marais the first thing I noticed was how muddy and debris filled the normally pristine blue and green waters along the lake and bay had turned!!!
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BigRedDog

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Gordon Lightfoot isn't getting any younger either...

looks like he's aging gracefully though!!!

I've often wondered just how much his song has done over the years to immortalize the wreck of the Fitzgerald...

obviously a lot!!!

Just sitting here wondering how many times I've listened to it myself over the years :-\ :-\ :-\

Great article from the Detroit News...

interview with Lightfoot on recent 'changes' to the song:

http://www.detroitnews.com/story/entertainment/music/2015/11/06/wreck-edmund-fitzgerald-song-gordon-lightfoot-th-anniversary/75336330/
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BigRedDog

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I wasn't up here at that time, but obviously heard about it after the fact.

I met a guy who grew up on Kelly's Island when I first moved to the area and he told me that damn near everyone he knew was around a radio of some sorts listening to the event.  He said word spread quickly before the eventual sinking and many were listening live.


This is kind of drawn out and boring...   listening to a meteorologist should be limited to 30 seconds at best in my opinion!!!

Anyway, these two 'young' guys (I doubt either was even born in 1975) do a rather lengthy discussion on the storm over those few days.

In my opinion the final straw was when the ship had to turn it's heading from the NE to heading more SE.  That let the wave action work differently on the hull and the way the waves were breaking over the deck.  If they could have kept on their original heading a little longer they might have survived.  However they seemed anxious to try to get some shelter behind Whitefish Point and they were running out of lake to keep going NE anyway.

I've done so many 'what if' scenarios over the years and listened to 10 times more :-\ :-\ :-\

Forgot the link to the interview:

http://www.detroitnews.com/videos/opinion/3736394990001/4597490534001/
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SidecarFlip

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You see, the keel of a lakes boat is flat unlike an ocean going boat thats a modified Vee (pronounced in the bow, flatter in the stern).  It has to be that way so they can navigate the relatively shallow channels and harbors fully loaded because the lakes are shallow (except Superior).

Sort of like a huge cement tub or John boat.  That makes for hull flex along the bottom and side plates (causes the side plates to leak) and the flexing weakens the steel after a fashion which is why I maintain she broke her back (due to wave action and stress on the keel which was flat, just like all lakes boats are).

I still remember the Fitz as a leaker when I worked on it at GW Industries in Cleveland, Ohio (on the Cuyahoga River just north of Collision  Bend).  It was in for a 'tightening up' of hull plates and some rudder / screw work.  GW didn't use a dry dock, the boats were always wet.  Depending on which end you worked on, the opposite end was flooded and that lifted the opposing end out of the water.  You could actually get the stern or bow completely out of the water to work on them

GW did a lot of bow thruster installs, boiler refits and self unloaders.
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Mayonnaise

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I'm kind of surprised after James Cameron did Titanic and he started exploring ship wrecks around the world, he didn't do a movie on the Fitz.
I looked online but didn't see anything mentioned that he visited the wreck site.
I've read some people in Michigan and Canada, separately, were trying to do a movie project but haven't read or heard of any updates.
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BigRedDog

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I don't know if the Fitzgerald has enough pulling power outside of the Great Lakes region to do a major movie :-\ :-\ :-\

I'm guessing it wouldn't be as popular (even locally) today if it wasn't for Gordon Lightfoot's song helping make it somewhat of a legend.

I'm curious what the memories will be in another 40 years...   not saying I expect to be here to find out though!
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SidecarFlip

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Because it's in Canadian waters (not United States waters), and the Canadian government has declared the site to be off limits to any exploratoration without their express permission (to protect the and keep the bodies of the sailors on the Fitz undistirbed), no documentary will ever be made (other than the one with the divers from Florida (I think)....

Besides, 550 feet is pretty deep and 34 degrees water temp is pretty cold.  I'm sure it's well preserved but no one will ever 'explore' the site.
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BigRedDog

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Here's the video from 13ABC's 6pm news last night.  Looks like they'll have another one tonight!

http://www.13abc.com/home/headlines/The-wreck-of-the-Edmund-Fitzgerald-remains-a-mystery-40-years-later--341242492.html
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BigRedDog

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You see, the keel of a lakes boat is flat unlike an ocean going boat thats a modified Vee (pronounced in the bow, flatter in the stern).  It has to be that way so they can navigate the relatively shallow channels and harbors fully loaded because the lakes are shallow (except Superior).

Sort of like a huge cement tub or John boat.  That makes for hull flex along the bottom and side plates (causes the side plates to leak) and the flexing weakens the steel after a fashion which is why I maintain she broke her back (due to wave action and stress on the keel which was flat, just like all lakes boats are).

I still remember the Fitz as a leaker when I worked on it at GW Industries in Cleveland, Ohio (on the Cuyahoga River just north of Collision  Bend).  It was in for a 'tightening up' of hull plates and some rudder / screw work.  GW didn't use a dry dock, the boats were always wet.  Depending on which end you worked on, the opposite end was flooded and that lifted the opposing end out of the water.  You could actually get the stern or bow completely out of the water to work on them

GW did a lot of bow thruster installs, boiler refits and self unloaders.


Your theory matches up pretty good with one of the six in this article!

http://www.mlive.com/news/index.ssf/2015/11/what_sank_the_edmund_fitzgeral.html

Quote
The Fitzgerald suffered from structural problems

Ex-Fitzgerald crew member George Burgner later claimed in a formal deposition that unrepaired cracks and weakened metal on the ship caused the loss, according to the "Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" by Fred Stonehouse. Burgner claimed a shipyard worker showed him evidence of breaks in old keel welds during the 1972-73 winter lay-up that were brought to McSorley and dismissed. The bad welds were confirmed by the Coast Guard, which approved their repair. Theorists have sized upon the permanent lay-up of the Fitzgerald sister ship, the Arthur Homer, in 1980 as indicative of structural deficiency in the two vessels. In 2009, a retired naval who helped design the hull wrote in a book that the maintenance history, increase cargo loading allowances and construction of the Fitzgerald made it unseaworthy the night the ship went down. In the recent Duluth News-Tribune story, another former crew member, Jim Woodard, claims the Fitzgerald was a "wet" ship. "She took on water all the time and her tunnels flooded out on her," Woodward said. "We always had to go down and pump them out."
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BigRedDog

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The winds we're having today are a great reminder of what the storm was like that sank the Fitzgerald! 

Go outside and stand for a moment...

hopefully while it's raining...

and then just imagine what it would be like in all the stronger winds and the crashing waves all around you and upon you...

and you're probably still not going to come close to what the actual conditions were in that storm!!!
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BigRedDog

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Actually it's 41 but for whatever reason I could erase in the topic bar but couldn't add anything new...

is this a new feature or is there something up with my computer?

http://www.clickondetroit.com/features/41-years-ago-edmund-fitzgerald-sinks-in-lake-superior


"The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" - Gordon Lightfoot (HD w/ Lyrics)
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BigRedDog

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And yet another year has passed.  Found this very creative 'memorial' on Jim Harbaugh's twitter feed:




"The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" - Gordon Lightfoot (HD w/ Lyrics)
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SidecarFlip

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Again, having worked on the Fitz during winter layup when I was with GW Industries in Cleveland, Ohio working as a fitter, I can tell you that the Fitz was a leaker and it leaked due to it's extreme length and the flexing of it's hull plates. 


I suspect that also contributed to it's demise.  The Fitz was like a Wiener dog, long and flexible.  You only flex steel so many times and it breaks.
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BigRedDog

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Mlive has a neat article online with a 'tracker' that lets you tie the points on a map of Lake Superior to where the ships were and what was happening at that time.

http://www.mlive.com/news/index.ssf/2017/11/follow_the_edmund_fitzgerald_o.html#incart_m-rpt-2
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The Fuzz

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First time I had seen that detail BRD, thanks.
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