by Yulia BELCHICH, Cand. Sc. (Hist.), chief expert of the Russian State Economics Archives
The NORMANDIE ocean liner, the biggest in the world at that time, was launched on October 29, 1932 at the Saint-Nazaire shipyards in France. The ceremony was attended by the French President Albert Lebrun, members of the government, members of the international press and representatives of European and American shipyards, transatlantic and other shipping companies.
The size of the liner was really impressive: it was 313m long, 44 m high and 36 m wide. By its standards of luxury, safety, comfort and speed the liner surpassed all of its predecessors. It was not accidental that the newspapers hailed her as a "floating city", "museum-palace" and "masterpiece of naval architecture".
She sailed on her maiden voyage to New York in the spring of 1935. Travelling at the speed of up to 60 km/h, the liner covered the distance of 3,192 nautical miles in only 4 days, 3 h and 5 min. This was almost 11 hours better than the then world record of crossing the Atlantic. The Normandie won the "blue ribbon"-the emblem of the largest, most comfortable and fastest transatlantic liner and that was a national triumph for France.
In specialists' view the liner was able to attain its unusual speed thanks to its exceptionally streamlined hull. And the author of this design was a Russian emigre and talented engineer, Vladimir Yurkevich (1885 - 1964). In recalling this outstanding personality, one should give its due to the truly brilliant school of naval engineering to which he owed his achievements.
The end of the 19th century for Russia was a time of rapid progress of naval and merchant shipbuilding. And the country was in need of skilled specialists in this field. In 1902 a new department was opened at the St. Petersburg Polytechnics * for training engineers for building hulls and mechanisms for ships of all kinds. The organizational side of the project was entrusted to Prof. Konstantin Boklevsky ... Read more