Why the fascination with the Edmond Fitzgerald?

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Guest

Re: Why the fascination with the Edmond Fitzgerald?

Unread post by Guest »

Agreed .. well spoken. I had friends on the fitz having sailed her in recent years previous her sinking. People forget the 29 souls lost. As in the El Farro many mistakes were made leading to the sinking of the fitz. Many of those criteria and mistakes made well before the fateful final voyage.
guest

Re: Why the fascination with the Edmond Fitzgerald?

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the Anderson made it to Whitefish Bay and the Coast Guard asked Captain Cooper if he would go back out and search along with the William Clay Ford,putting there lives on the line to search for an surviors.
Jared
Posts: 798
Joined: December 6, 2014, 4:51 pm

Re: Why the fascination with the Edmond Fitzgerald?

Unread post by Jared »

guest wrote: November 8, 2023, 12:16 am Frankly I'm so tired of hearing about the Fitzgerald, but I understand the interest of people that are just discovering it. Everything that can be said has been, just raking over the same ground over and over again. As a counterpoint to the mystery surrounding the Fitz there is the exact opposite on what I consider a far more concerning wreck and by far much more recent, the sinking of the El Faro. That's the one that keeps me up at night. I was at anchor in duluth when she sank in 2015 and scarcely a week passes that I don't think about her, it's so much easier to relate to her and not just because I sailed with the Chief Engineer of that ship, but more because we know every single detail of what happened to her thanks to the voice recorder, you can find the complete transcript on the NTSB website and I recommend everyone read it. It is a lesson in Bridge Resource Management and standing up to a Captain who is clearly making bad decision, something the mates on El Faro were unable to do, though the 2nd and 3rd sure tried, just not forcefully enough. He was the biggest link in a long chain of events leading to the loss. One man's gross incomitance doomed the entire crew of 33. But thanks to the lack of mystery even though this was only 8 years ago we now talk about her less than the Fitz.
I agree wholeheartedly. A friend of mine was contracted out to locate the wreck in 15,000 ft of water and was successful in locating the hull. Came back a year later and located the bridge and mast with the recorder on it.
Andrew

Re: Why the fascination with the Edmond Fitzgerald?

Unread post by Andrew »

I've been watching the thread and thought about chiming in, so here goes- I think the Fitz is still so fascinating because it simply was the biggest and one of the newest on the lakes at the time of her sinking, and that many of her contemporaries are still sailing the lakes. She, may in fact, still be sailing if she hadn't sank. It would be the modern day equivalent of losing a 1000 footer. The mystique of her sinking is another contributing factor.

Also, don't understand the diss on the Anderson- she made it to the safety of the bay and turned around back into the storm. Ships that were anchored in the bay didn't have first hand experience of the storm, the Anderson's crew did, and still turned her around and trusted she had it in her to do the job. Not mitigating the bravery of the other ships, but that takes guts, especially knowing less than two hours past, the Rolls-Royce of the lakes was 10 miles ahead of you and you were taking seas on the bridge deck, now she's gone.
guest

Re: Why the fascination with the Edmond Fitzgerald?

Unread post by guest »

Frankly I'm so tired of hearing about the Fitzgerald, but I understand the interest of people that are just discovering it. Everything that can be said has been, just raking over the same ground over and over again. As a counterpoint to the mystery surrounding the Fitz there is the exact opposite on what I consider a far more concerning wreck and by far much more recent, the sinking of the El Faro. That's the one that keeps me up at night. I was at anchor in duluth when she sank in 2015 and scarcely a week passes that I don't think about her, it's so much easier to relate to her and not just because I sailed with the Chief Engineer of that ship, but more because we know every single detail of what happened to her thanks to the voice recorder, you can find the complete transcript on the NTSB website and I recommend everyone read it. It is a lesson in Bridge Resource Management and standing up to a Captain who is clearly making bad decision, something the mates on El Faro were unable to do, though the 2nd and 3rd sure tried, just not forcefully enough. He was the biggest link in a long chain of events leading to the loss. One man's gross incomitance doomed the entire crew of 33. But thanks to the lack of mystery even though this was only 8 years ago we now talk about her less than the Fitz.
Duluth Guest

Re: Why the fascination with the Edmond Fitzgerald?

Unread post by Duluth Guest »

Guest and Jared, I think, likely hit the nail on the head: it generates a profit to someone. It's become so well known, largely due to the song, that there are a large number of individuals who MAY be interested in the subject. That interest is enough for folks to take a swing at making a few dollars. The more it gets publicized, the more people are interested and the more money you can make. Whether it's book sales, memorabilia, or pay-per-view podcasts, someone is making money from it. You could be the brother-in-law to the guy whose childhood neighbor knew the kid who delivered the newspaper to the front office of Great Lakes Engineering Works for 2 weeks in 1957, write a book presenting some wild theory and opinion as fact about why the Fitzgerald sank, and you could make a few bucks. The more wild it is, the better your chances are it'll sell.
Guest

Re: Why the fascination with the Edmond Fitzgerald?

Unread post by Guest »

Mainly because of the mystery factor. Had Dennis Hale not survived the Daniel J. Morrel we would still have perpetual speculation about what happened and how both halves end up 5 miles apart.

As to the song, I think that's way over credited as a factor. The Yarmouth Castle fire/sinking in 1965 was a far higher loss of life (90+), invloved some truly awful stories of what happened to those aboard, had a massive impact of ship design and construction (SOLAS requirements etc.) and most importantly - Gordon Lightfoot recorded a pretty amazing song about the disaster. Yet I'm guessing a lot of people reading this will need to google "Yarmouth Castle" to know what happened. Unlike the Fitzgerald, there's not a lot of mystery about the Yarmouth Castle disaster, beyond maybe where the fire started. A song isn't everything........
Guest

Re: Why the fascination with the Edmond Fitzgerald?

Unread post by Guest »

Guest wrote: November 5, 2023, 12:29 pm I don't get it, either, and I was alive when it happened. More so, I don't get the current day worshipping of the Anderson.

I agree with you about the Anderson. She just happened to be out there behind the Fitzgerald. The boats that should be honored are the ones already safely sheltered, but went back out in the storm to search for survivors.
Guest

Re: Why the fascination with the Edmond Fitzgerald?

Unread post by Guest »

Why's the Edmund Fitzgerald still famous? Well, why is the Titanic still famous, though it sank over 110 years ago?

I think for both, their's some romanticism that the public sees in their loss. Perhaps it's gallantry in the face of adversity, a cruel sea - whether it be storm or ice - challenging man's quest for dominance. For both, time has made them a legend. Both are popular in the public's mind because of a song for one, and countless movies made for the other.

In the Titanic's case, it holds such fascination to the public, that a few were willing to risk their lives in a submersible that had some questions surrounding its construction and operation, just to get a glimpse of the vessel.

I don't think interest in the Edmund Fitzgerald will wain, in fact it may very well increase as we get closer to the 50th anniversary of her sinking.
Guest

Re: Why the fascination with the Edmond Fitzgerald?

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More lives were lost on the Bradley
Guest

Re: Why the fascination with the Edmond Fitzgerald?

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Sadly, because the sinking has been heavily commericalized into what is an almost guaranteed money maker.
Guest

Re: Why the fascination with the Edmond Fitzgerald?

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A more modern shipwreck with the mystery of why it sank..
Guest

Re: Why the fascination with the Edmond Fitzgerald?

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I don't get it, either, and I was alive when it happened. More so, I don't get the current day worshipping of the Anderson.
Jared
Posts: 798
Joined: December 6, 2014, 4:51 pm

Re: Why the fascination with the Edmond Fitzgerald?

Unread post by Jared »

There a few reasons,

1. She was the most recent loss on the lakes. The taking off all hands on a ship that was considered one of the best equipped on the lakes.
2. The immediate battle between the Coast Guard and the Lake Carrier's association over the causes and the widespread (for the time) media coverage of the event and various publications throwing their two cents in.
3. The expeditions by Farnquist, Shannon, and McGinnis stirred emotions and played on their own narratives for the cause of the sinking.
4. The law basically making the Fitzgerald illegal to dive on has prevented many simpler answers to be answered or it to be properly modeled.
5. It's become a tourist industry. Every mass marketed Great Lakes item has something to do with the Fitzgerald. You see billboards on 75, you see random models of it in local museums, every year the Free Press publishes something on the Fitz this time of year that garners millions of viewers.
Shipwatcher1
Posts: 489
Joined: April 19, 2011, 4:01 pm

Re: Why the fascination with the Edmond Fitzgerald?

Unread post by Shipwatcher1 »

Likely because it is the most recent and there was a song.
Guest

Re: Why the fascination with the Edmond Fitzgerald?

Unread post by Guest »

It was big and recent (ish)
Guest

Re: Why the fascination with the Edmond Fitzgerald?

Unread post by Guest »

rcrvrp wrote: November 5, 2023, 7:25 am Why is it that with the hundreds, maybe thousands ,of shipwrecks on the great lakes the wreck of the Fitz continues to be such a fascination to people?
There must have been other wrecks with greater loss of life, others where the reason for the accident was mysterious and and so on.
What makes the wreck of the Fitz overshadow all others?
I believe the main reason is Gordon Lightfoot's song about her.
Guest

Re: Why the fascination with the Edmond Fitzgerald?

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It's probably due to a couple of things, it happened our lifetime, you knew exactly where you were when Harry Reasoner read the news, and rest of the world had no idea storms could be that bad. Couple that with studies, reports, theories and you get a subject that will not die.
Guest

Re: Why the fascination with the Edmond Fitzgerald?

Unread post by Guest »

She was a very modern ship, there were no survivors and thus all we can do is speculate and make educated guesses as to her final moments (we're all attracted to mysteries), and Gordon Lightfoot.
Guest

Re: Why the fascination with the Edmond Fitzgerald?

Unread post by Guest »

1) Most recent
2) Mystery factor, no survivors (nobody really knows what happened)
3) Most importantly, the song
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