"The walls of churning foamy water hitting the Robert D. were relentless
and we knew we were going down at any moment. No ship could survive the hours of
horrendous pounding we were receiving from the glacial, gray, South Pacific. The
next wave smashed into us with the force of a runaway locomotive; submerging the
pilothouse in its travels. The Robert D. listed to port twenty, thirty, forty,
and then fifty degrees. The design limit of this tub was forty-two degrees and
by all design calculations she would capsize; all on board knew they were dead."
This story is 100% true as I remember it, others on board may have a different outlook and story to tell. We did have a newspaper gentleman reporter on board for our Pacific crossing, he swore he would never write the story, but he did, and it was published by the Philadelphia Bulletin and contained a full front, rear, and two middle pages, in two consecutive issues of the paper. The University of Pennsylvania has copies in its archives, as do I.
We were pioneers in these days; the equipment was mostly hand-made, and the ship, the Robert D. Conrad was a converted U.S. Navy vessel that was sturdy, but not particularly elegant or set up for the job at hand.
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