SP: I’d worked out the primary design, I’d
done the calculations for powering and stability… 28 and a half she could do QE2’s schedule so she could do it in five. And… November? May be a nice time! [Laughs] CF: I’ve seen some photographs! CF: Hi everybody is Chris Frame here and
thanks so much for joining me, I’m really excited to bring you this video. It’s the
first and what I’m hoping is going to be a series of conversations with
interesting people from the aviation and cruise line world. Today’s conversation
is with Dr. Stephen Payne. Stephen Payne of course is famous for designing the Queen
Mary 2 but he had a long career in naval architecture leading up to the
creation of Queen Mary 2 in the early 2000s. This in conversation was
really interesting. Stephen let us know a few things that you might not know about
the history of the Queen Mary 2 – and how she was designed, so I really do hope you
enjoy it, and don’t forget to let me know what you think at the end of this video
in the comments. If you’re interested in more content like this please do
subscribe to my channel and click that notification bell so you never miss
future videos thanks so much for watching and enjoy a
conversation with Stephen Payne. [Music] CF: So Stephen, thank you so much for for
joining me for this conversation it’s really great to have you here. Now I know
that your history in becoming interested in passenger ships started with the same
ship as mine with the QE2, but what I’m interested in is is how you took that
passion as a child and turned it into a career as a naval architect I mean what
steps did you have to go through to make that dream a reality? SP: Well it actually started a few years before QE2. I grew up in South East London not far from Greenwich and so we had the Cutty Sark there and the National Maritime Museum but I
remember as a young boy watching a children’s TV program that we have here
called Blue Peter. So I watched this one day and one of the presenters, a lady
Valerie Singleton, she sailed on the Queen Elizabeth from Cherbourg to
Southampton and reported what it was like to be on the ship and I really,
well I became quite obsessed with the passenger ship and then of course there
was the visit to the QE2 in June 1969 whilst we were on a family holiday they
were offering coach trips from Bournemouth which is not far from
Southampton where we were on holiday and so we got on a coach and we spent an
afternoon walking around QE2; and steaming into Southampton on one of our
last trips was the United States and the Royal Mail Ship Andes in dock as well as
various Union Castle ships and I have this on video and in fact we the still
that I sent you for the Cunard book is of that day that visit so…QE2 was just a
month old at that stage and then in 1972 so I was 12 then coming home from school
as a 12 year old switching on the telly to watch Blue Peter they suddenly
stopped their normal programme and they went live to Hong Kong harbor so it was
January the 9th I think it was 1972 and of course the old Queen Elizabeth was on
fire, sinking in Hong Kong harbour so they showed that
and then they followed it up later in the year in their Blue Peter annual
which came out every Christmas and it was a favourite present for mums and
dads to buy their kids so the Christmas 1972 edition had this feature about
Queen Elizabeth and the last paragraph said ‘it was a sad time for everybody
that loves great ships Queen Elizabeth was a super liner and nothing like or
will ever be built again.’ So that made me quite mad because at that stage I was
set upon doing something making something bigger and better and we were
learning how to write letters of complaint at school and so for homework
we had to write a letter complaining about something so I wrote to Blue Peter
and I whereas the other kids it was just an exercise I actually sent mine off so
the editor of Blue Peter wrote back and she said ‘we all enjoyed reading your
letter and your ideas for your ship of the future but don’t be disappointed if
it never happens.’ The interest in ocean liners continued continued. CF:Yeah. SP: And in May 1974 I coerced my dad to take me across to Le Havre we sailed back to Southampton
on the France. CF:Oh okay, yes. SP: It was the first voyage of her last season because I used to
beseech the French line office in London with letters every week asking
pictures and stuff from the director was always very good in writing back and
then suddenly he said ‘it’s finishing this year so if you want to see it
you’ve got to go this year,’ so that how I got to see the the France for a few
hours. And then work through school in fact when it came to deciding University
the school said to me don’t do naval architecture you’ll never get a job
engineering is dead in the UK they said we really recommend that you do
chemistry because that was my other big interest. And nobody from my family had ever
been to university before so I had no other people to ask so it was really
dependent on the school and so I started at Imperial College in London doing
chemistry, and then the year into my course I met my former physics teacher
and he said he was very much against what the school had told me and that he
was absolutely in his own mind adamant I should have done the naval architecture
and with his help I switched to the University of Southampton and studied
the Ship Science which is their name for naval architecture there for three years
got my degree and then I worked for a few months at Marconi Radar working on
projects for them and then the small consultancy in London, Technical
Marine Planning took me on and they were basically the Newbuild Division for
Carnival Cruise Lines. CF: Wow, Okay! SP: So my first ship working with Carnival was the
Holiday. That’s how I became a naval architect the first ship that I had a
big impact on was the Fantasy Class. So I was busy but the specification of
that and also some of the plans because we
actually did the outline design for that ship in our office. CF: And then so after the
Fantasy Class which was the ship that you were first, sort of the the lead or
the boss of the designers, I suppose for one of a better word? SP: Ahh well I had a fair amount to do with the Statendam’s but the the ship
that I was project manager of and led the work on was the Rotterdam. CF: And does she
hold a special place in your heart? SP: Well she does because my favourite ship
probably of all time is the old Rotterdam in in Rotterdam I surveyed the
ship when Carnival bought Holland America and I immediately realized that she was
one of a kind and sired many many times on it until she was withdrawn in ’97 and
once I completed that I started off on the Costa Atlantica in Helsinki. CF: All
right. SP: About a year or so into that was when carnival decided to buy Cunard, well
and then because I’d always been talking about the difference between liners and
cruise ships that’s when I was given the job of designing Queen Mary 2 – but it’s
interesting the reason Cunard or Carnival bought Cunard was uh, Cunard was
part of Trafalgar House, Trafalgar House was bought by the Kværner Group and
Kværner only really wanted Trafalgar House’s construction business because
they built houses and offices and things and that that’s what they were after so
they didn’t really want Cunard and they put Cunard up for sale and at that stage
it was performing so poorly that nobody was interested in taking it on but it
was James Cameron’s Titanic film the caused such a surge of interest in
the transatlantic crossing, suddenly QE2’s bookings went up and it became
more interesting to acquire Cunard. CF: Yeah, it’s amazing and how all these years
later it’s still it’s still very popular I mean it’s popular enough to warrant
Queen Mary 2 doing more and more crossings. I’m about to do my first
ever crossing on the Queen Mary 2 in November so I’m very excited about that. And so
selecting the French shipyard I mean was that down to their expertise and their
skill set or the availability of a dry dock or a combination of this? SP:Well we did, um, I’d worked out the primary design I’ve done the calculations for powering and stability
and so we put together a short specification and I had a set of the
plans and I sent that to five European shipyards the Italians and the Fins were
too busy with other projects we went to HDW the German yard they said it was far
too big for them to consider and that left Harland and Wolff
in Belfast and the French they put very similar bids in and Chantiers was owned by the Alstom Group and Alstom was big enough to be able to finance the project without
government subsidy okay so that’s how it happened and as I say they did a
fantastic job. CF:The other thing I was interested in is the engine sort of layout on the Queen
Mary 2, she’s got a combination of diesel electric and also the gas
turbines, how did you come up with that arrangement? SP: Well originally the first
design was to have two diesel engine rooms okay and I was very keen to have
split-up takes like the Normandie hmm to create that long Vista from the dining room right the way through and to have two engine rooms with split casings would have been
having four trunks going through basically we would have lost a lot of
space throughout the ship so the French said to us we’ve recently
built the Millennium Class that had two diesel engines of one gas turbine so I
don’t we fit two diesel engines and two gas turbines and they said Queen Mary
2 the way it’s been designed is got sufficient stability that we can put the
gas turbines up by the funnel. CF: Okay. SP: Though that meant that we didn’t need
another big trunk going through the ship so we didn’t lose space so that’s
how that came about and at the time we built the ship, the ship was designed to do
the 26 and a half knots service speed with four diesels and one turbine out
CF: mm-hmm. SP: When she needed maintenance on one of the diesels the second turbine would be used and on Diesel’s only she was
designed to have a speed of about twenty three and a half knots with the
electrical load as well so that was the the parameters I designed into the ship
the big issue is that over time the price of the fuel for the gas turbines
is progressively outstripped the the cost for the heavy fuel so that’s why
they went down to the seven day crossing they tried eight but she doesn’t
perform particularly well at such a slow speed she wallows a bit
on the Atlantic so they’ve put it back to seven which is a good compromise. CF: How quickly could she do it if she was pushed
do you think, 5 days? SP: She she she could do the twenty eight and a half she could
do QE2’s schedule, so she could do it in five because on sea trials we did twenty nine point six knots okay there’s ample margin there. CF: So the fastest commercial passenger ship in service? SP: Yes, absolutely and
you know I’ve been on board in a force twelve in a hundred and twenty
knot winds over the deck so nobody’s been allowed out anywhere so we’ve still
managed to do twenty four knots okay and the great thing was when I spoke to
the bridge team they said looking at the radar that they could see all the other
ships had stopped and all these messages asking how are you able to do this and
they’d say we’re Queen Mary 2 what do you expect? CF: That’s brilliant. And so do you sail aboard often? SP: I like to go on two or three times a year. I am on in September I’m sailing to Hamburg and back. CF: As a guest speaker or do you just travel? SP: I do, I do and then I am on the world cruise next year giving some talks. CF: Fantastic, and so what is your favorite part of the design process when
it comes to designing a ship is that the planning is it the construction period? Do you have a favourite part? SP: Umm it’s all that the concept design which I worked on for a year and a half and it was just me with an assistant that was
tremendous and then getting the team together it’s very good
negotiating with the yards, contractor is very very exhilarating
and then the ongoing issues throughout construction because there’s all be
problems to solve and compromises to make and the hardest part is the
delivery because when you think Queen Mary 2 was my baby for five years when I drew the
first line on a bit of paper and then the day she was handed over to Cunard
suddenly I didn’t have responsibility for it. CF: Right that must have been a strange feeling? SP: Absolutely been dominated your life so much and it was you know a lot of mornings I was going
into work eight o’clock and not leaving till ten pm because there was just
so much to do and and everything but no great fun, great fun. CF: So what did you do after Queen
Mary 2? SP: I was very much involved with the new Seabourn ships! CF: Okay, I have some
regular cruising friends’ll thank you for those as well! SP: [Laughs] Seabourn was working with Storbraaten, the interior architect and they were trying to do various things and finding
obstacles so I sat down with one of the executives who would work with me with
Queen Mary, who was head of the hotel side of Seabourn at the time and
redesign the ship. CF: Must be quite an interesting experience to go from
building the largest ship to a to a small ship. SP: Yes yeah yeah I must say
you get used to a certain size yeah I’ve been back to the old Rotterdam in in
Rotterdam and you think to yourself wow this really is small yeah but when I was
sailing on it regularly it didn’t, its what you get used to. CF: Yeah I mean QE2 was my first ship and seemed so huge at the time but I imagine I haven’t been back since
she opened in Dubai but I imagine walking back on board now you would
notice how much bigger the new ships feel. SP: Oh absolutely. CF: So just to finish off I was just
wondering if you have any thoughts on what the legacy of Queen Mary 2 will be
I mean she’s the last currently the last line are doing that route the last great
you know transatlantic liner and how does that feel to you and what do you
think her future looks like? SP: Well the future is very very positive and as you
say they’ve cut out a lot of the cruises to concentrate transatlantic because
she’s so successful with that. She’s always fought when I’m on board so she’s
working really well so but something I’ve learned
everybody said QE2 was the last one you know there’s always going to be
something else in the future there’s got to be I think there’s always going to be
the market for the transatlantic it’s such an iconic and it’s you’ll see when
you go on transatlantic it’s so different to a cruise, because this
thing about how stopping at the ports getting off coming back on when you’re
just on board for the 7 nights it’s much more of a social thing
you get to know people a lot better and there’s a lot more interaction and it’s
just different to a cruise, it’s difficult to put a finger on it but… CF: We do know 7 nights from Sydney to Yokohama on Queen Mary 2 during the world and it did feel different
but there I don’t know I just I imagine it’s going to be something about being
on the North Atlantic on that ship which is going to make the whole atmosphere
seem so much different…SP: And… November uh may be a nice time…[laughs] CF: I’ve seen some photographs so [laughs] I’ve been warned, fair warning so yeah… SP: Ah she hardly moves, that’s what all the people say who work on board they compared to the other that we did a comparison with QE2 at the test
tank because they had evaluated QE2 previously and Queen Mary 2 moves around
less than half its and it’s nothing I particularly did its size matters, the
shape of it and say getting the buoyancy distributed right that all contributes
you know. CF: Have you been on board any of the ships that Eclipse Queen Mary 2 in
terms of size have you been on the Oasis Class? SP: No I haven’t no. CF: I don’t suppose they would do so well on the North Atlantic? SP: No, wonderful ships
and hats off to Royal Caribbean and the others for having them but they’re
certainly not not for the North Atlantic especially in in November. [laughs] CF: [laughs] well there will certainly be lots of photos and video up on my social media of that November crossing. CF: But no getting back to legacy and that
one of the most important things I think is that as I wanted to be a naval
architect from basically a five-year-old watching that Blue Peter program I only
achieved that because of that physics master telling me that I’d been wrongly
advised and that, I was president of the Royal Institution
of naval architects for a three-year term and during that time got lots of
letters from kids saying to me my school tells me don’t do it and everything so
one of the most important things I think certainly my generation and if we’ve
been successful in life is to put something back and to encourage the
younger generations to do something so I do a lot of things in schools and the
like to try and encourage youngsters to not only be engineers and naval architects but to realise their ambitions, as I say none of my family that have
been to university it was just a driving passion to do this I have the philosophy
that if I could do it anybody could do it or do what they want
if they’ve got enough drive and enthusiasm well that’s what I tried to
put across to the schools and colleges in them. CF: Well that’s a great message to
end out out chat on and hopefully some people who are watching maybe maybe some
five-year-olds or a bit older we’re watching this video might think that
they’ll design the replacement for Queen Mary 2 and we can all sell on that one
day in the future. SP: Great. CF: Stephen thank you so much not just for the video but also
for designing such a great ship that means so much to so many people I think
on behalf of everybody who loves Queen Mary 2 we’d like to extend a thank you
to you for the work you and your team did and thanks for speaking to us today. SP: Thank you very much. CF: I appreciate it SP: Okay Cheers then. [Music]

Designing Cunard’s QM2 – Conversation with Stephen Payne
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8 thoughts on “Designing Cunard’s QM2 – Conversation with Stephen Payne

  • August 27, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    Very interesting interview. Thank you.

  • August 27, 2019 at 2:21 pm

    Love hearing this unique insight. Great interview.

  • August 27, 2019 at 6:04 pm

    What a wonderful interview and thank you for sharing! I have been a ship buff for many years and had wanted to sail on QE2 and also fly on Concorde (the one way QE2 and Concorde package) but did not get the chance. However, fast forward and myself and my wife do have a QM2 connection in that we sailed on QM2 on our honeymoon to Norway (Captain Wells). It was our first cruise on Cunard and since we have been back to sail on Queen Victoria. QM2 remains our favourite though and we hope to sail on her again in the not too distant future.

  • August 27, 2019 at 6:31 pm

    Thank you for a very interesting interview. How lucky we are that Dr Payne designed such a wonderful ship. I hope you will enjoy your November crossing. We were onboard the QM2 last November from S'ton to NY and it was amazing how well she handled the motion of the ocean, as captain Chris Wells put it.

  • August 28, 2019 at 8:02 am

    Great video!

  • August 29, 2019 at 12:44 pm

    This video just boosted me to want to become a naval architect even more. I've made many designs of ocean liners that I want to built in the future and maybe, just maybe I can make those designs become a reality.

  • August 29, 2019 at 10:57 pm

    Thank you, I very much hope Stephen Paine ,is on the same Hamburg crossing 22/09/19,
    I Love Queen Mary 2.

  • September 3, 2019 at 11:34 pm

    Do you know how many time QM2 is designed to be in service? Thank you for this interview. I loved the story about the storm when all other ships stopped. Sorry for my english i'am French, Country of birth of QM2


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