Aurora Restoration Project Part 3
by Christopher Wilson
As I had mentioned prior, the ship was completely filled with trash. How did it get this way? That comes later.
So I traveled back home and for the next days I didn't really think of the ship at all. I felt that did what I set out to do and toured the old rusted ghost ship and took some good pictures and had a mini adventure.
Several days went by with no thought of the ship what so ever and then when searching on Craigslist again, she popped up. Each time I seen her on Craigslist the price was different. 1.2 million, 1.5 million, 900k 700k 1.5 million. It was so random. It wasn't like I had that kind of money sitting around anyhow.
So out of curiosity I started trying to find more pictures of this ship on the Internet. All I knew is that she was named the faithful. A terrible name in my opinion. I couldn't find any reference to her on the Internet. I looked up anything I thought would correspond to the search. Nothing, zero There was nothing about her on the internet at all as far as I could see. She as to have a past.
Another couple of days had gone by without much thought and then just like that the ship popped into my head again for no apparent reason. So I went back to google and typed in a few more searches and found a picture of the ship as the Xanadu during the 1970s. I finally had images to compare my thoughts and mental images to. I was stunned, damn near floored. She was beautiful. She looked like a Royal Yacht inside and out. So I continued looking and found more and more. I finally came across her original name the ( Wappen von Hamburg ) I wondered what that meant. So I translated it to ( Coat of Arms Hamburg ). That finally peaked my interest to the turning point. I no longer was just curious. I had to try and do something to save her.
A German flag ship rotting away in the delta. Not a sight you see everyday.
After more investigation I found that she was the first ship that Germany was allowed to build post after WWII. She was built by Blohm + Voss Germany's top ship and airplane manufacturer. They were responsible for building many famous ships such as the battleship Bismarck. I learned that the Blohm + Voss shipyard was completely destroyed by allied bombers during the war and there was really no facilities left to build a ship at the time.
Once given permission Blohm+ Voss started laying tracks to support the construction of a ship of this size. The tracks were built literally on the rubble of what used to be a thriving ship yard. The shipyard had buried all of there tools and plans in bunkers miles away from the yard in order to hide them for future use and possible trade secrets being exposed. These were dug out and put into place to start building Germany's most important ship of the time.
She was called a Phoenix rising from the ashes as she slowly came together. She was not a warship. She was build as a luxury ferry to get people from Cuxhaven to Helgoland island a famous luxury vacation spot that had also been bombed during the war. Many compare this island to a Hawaiian island.
Germany's top craftsman went to work on constructing nothing like ever before. She was outfitted with all of the best stuff. 5 Mercedes Maybach diesel electric propulsion engines. Many lounge areas for travelers with gorgeous artwork and magnificent metal fabricated stairways. The finest entertainment money could buy, modeling shows during travel to show off the latest fashion trends. She was far ahead of her time. Blohm + Voss wanted to show the world what they could do, and they did. This ship put Blohm + Voss back on top of the world market.
Yes, I was intrigued. A ship that had gained world attention was sitting in the California delta full of trash and heavily neglected.
A question for yourself : If you were me, would you have walked away?
Keep in mind before you answer. I was not a rich guy looking for a yacht project. Just an average guy who budgets to pay bills. Well maybe not so average.
So, I shot off an email to the owner to see if I could set up a meeting to talk about the ship. I had no good opinion on this guy since he had the filthiest ship in the world up for sale with a homeless guy and his dog that might go with it. I just assumed he was bad news.
No response for days. I figured someone else must have bought her. Then an email finally came back saying her was away on business and would be back in the next few days and we could meet and talk.
I said I was just an average guy. There are some things that set me apart from average.
Negotiation is one of the skills that I have been blessed with above and beyond average skills.
I had no idea what we would talk about during this meeting but I could tell this man was educated and very intelligent. I had better come up with something that catches his interest aside from money.
I really didn't figure that I had much to offer but thought I have nothing to loose by trying. I spent the next days putting together a viable plan for the ship or at least one that sounded reasonable.
The next part part gets really interesting...
More to come.