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Almost wrecked before it began

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Old 06-15-2016, 10:07 AM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 770
Default Almost wrecked before it began

Yesterday was a hot muggy day here in Louisville which ended with a magnificent supper time thunderstorm; lightening, torrential rain and wind. The exact same weather scenario played out in late May, 1923. The new steel hulled (210 x 38 x 6.6) CAPE GIRARDEAU had been launched at Howards just two weeks before. The boat was tied off at the finishing dock at the shipyard when the late afternoon storm hit. The wind and waves caused the 2" lines which secured the boat to the dock to part. The new boat started drifting towards the falls (there was no dam in 1923).
Luckily Ohio River Sand Co.'s DUFFY was late that day getting back from it's sand digger and was still working the sand fleet at the Foot of Preston St. across the river and down from the shipyard. A deckhand on the DUFFY saw the unfinished steamboat heading for sure disaster and sounded the alarm. They tied off their barges and headed across the river to rescue the new vessel before it drifted over the falls. They grabbed the boat and towed her back to the shipyard and tied it off to the dock again. Capt Jim Howard didn't know he had almost lost the last packet boat his shipyard would ever build until the next day when he was contacted by a reporter from the local paper.
Howards finished the CAPE GIRARDEAU in November and as Jim Howard said after the trial runs "she is a complete success in every way." She must have been because it ran for the next 30 years and as the GORDON C. GREENE it made the money Tom Greene needed to purchase our beloved DELTA QUEEN.
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