SS Conte di Savoia
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SS Conte di Savoia lying at anchor at Genoa
|Name:||SS Conte di Savoia|
|Port of registry:||Flag of Italy Italy|
|Builder:||Cantieri Riuniti del'Adriatico of Trieste, Italy|
|Maiden voyage:||November 1932|
|Fate:||Scuttled by retreating German military in September 1943 and scrapped in 1945.|
|Tonnage:||48,502 gross tons|
|Length:||814 ft (248.1 m)|
|Beam:||96 ft (29.3 m)|
|Installed power:||Steam turbines|
|Speed:||27 knots (50 km/h)|
Conte di Savoia was originally ordered for the Lloyd Sabaudo line, however a merger with the Navigazione Generale Italiana saw the ship completed for the newly formed Italia Flotte Riunite. The new Italia Line also controlled the Rex, a similar though slightly larger ship completed just two months before Conte di Savoia. The Conte di Savoia was more modern in decoration and appearance than the Rex and was considered to be an exceptionally beautiful ship.
In November 1932 she made her maiden voyage to New York. The voyage almost became a disaster when an outlet valve jammed and blew a large hole below the waterline. The ship completed her maiden voyage thanks to crew member Gennaro Amatruda who plugged a leak in a broken valve-port saving the ship from possible disaster. The Conte di Savoia never held the Blue Riband for fastest Atlantic crossing, although on one attempt she did average just 0.2 knots (0.4 km/h) slower than the Blue Riband holder Rex.
Conte di Savoia had one unusual feature designed to increase passenger numbers. Three huge gyroscopes were fitted low down in a forward hold. These rotated at high revolutions and were designed to eliminate rolling - a persistent problem on the rough North Atlantic crossing that affected all shipping lines. In practice they reduced the rolling by slowing down the rolling period, however, they also caused the vessel to 'hang' annoyingly when the vessel was on the extreme limit of her rolls. For obvious safety reasons the system was quickly abandoned on eastbound crossings where the prevailing weather produced following seas, although it was still used on westbound crossings. Of course, none of this ever affected the operation of the shipping lines advertising department and the benefits of a "smooth crossing" were heavily promoted during the life of the ship.
During troop service in World War II, Conte di Savoia was set on fire and scuttled by retreating German forces on 11 September 1943. She was re-floated in 1945, but eventually was scrapped.