In this publication I would love to tell a story of the man who re-invented, calculated and implemented a
bulbous vessel's bow which widely used in the modern shipbuilding today, and about a man who built one
of the most beautiful and biggest transatlantic passenger liner in the world. As usual my golden rule: no politics
and no nationalities. And also we can always refer to something in the ancient past but “even Archimedes is a quite
oubtful inventor of the law of buoyancy if we will be comparing him to Noah”. re-Inventor of the unique ship's bow
Vladimir Ivanovich Yurkevich – a representative of the professional shipbuilding school of the Russian Empire who
emigrated from Russia after “October” revolution of 1917. It's important to mention that the Russian Imperial modern
shipbuilding school has been founded in 1890’s by Aleksey Nikolaevich Krylov (1863-1945) – a famous Russian Naval Architect.
First publications about Yurkevich began to appear in USSR ( later in Russia) since 1990, after the fall of the soviet
"Iron Curtain”. At the same time scientists got an access to Yurkevich’s personal research and articles which has been
given to the Russian State Archive of the Economics (found Nr.341) by his wife Olga Yurkevich (Krestovskaya).
Vladimir Ivanovich Yurkevich born in Moscow on 5th (17th) of June 1885. His father was a hereditary nobleman,
State councilor and teacher of the history and geography at the female gymnasium in Moscow, Russian Empire.
In 1903 Yurkevich finished 4th Gymnasium in Moscow with honors and the golden medal and joined the shipbuilding
faculty of the Saint-Petersburg Polytechnic Institute. In 1909, after graduation, he started working as an assistant
of main engineer at the Baltic Shipyard and was busy on designing construction of the battleship “Sevastopol”.
In 1911 he became а lead engineer of the project bureau of the Baltic Shipyard. Under the guidance of a famous scientist
Konstantin Petrovich Boklevsky, Vladimir Yurkevich started creating his own concept of the designing of vessels. A characteristic
feature of Yurkevich’s vessels became the bulbous shape of the vessel’s bow which improved the water flow and reduced resistance.
Because of that, the form of vessels acquired unusual shapes. Ships came out more sharply narrowed to the bow and stern.
After numbers of trials, ideas of Yurkevich were approved but all plans of implementation of his research on real vessels were
crashed by revolution in 1917. Yurkevish emigrated to Constantinople from burning Russia in 1920. At the end this heavy decision
saved his life. After revolution hundred thousands of highly educated intelligent people who decided to stay in Russia were shot by
soviet power and KGB. Later he moved to Paris, France where he started working just as a turner at “Renault” factory. Later he
became as a drafter at the shipyard in Argenteuil, France. In 1929 he started designing vessels at Chantiers de Penhoėt,
Saint Nazaire, France. In 1928 the Headquarter of Chantiers de Penhoėt approved Yurkevich’s research and design for
implementation on the new biggest french transatlantic passenger liner in the world – SS “NORMANDIE” *.
Vessel has been launched in October 1932 and it differed from other ships by the fact that the “nose wave” was almost absent
and sharply narrowed bow and stern parts occupied almost full length of the vessel. After the second journey of SS “NORMANDIE”,
Vladimir Yurkevich opened his own naval architecture bureau in Paris, France.
In 1937, feeling approaching spirit of war he moved to USA, became a USA citizen and opened the naval architecture bureau.
Among other things the company were designing reinforced concrete tankers of “piped” type with capacity around
100-300 tons. Later, based on Yurkevich’s research, was built the prototype concrete vessel “Phantom” of capacity of 300 tons.
During the WWII Vladimir Yurkevich led fundraising to help Red Army and people of the USSR.
One of the latest project Yurkevich was partly involved in was a project of the longest French transatlantic passenger
liner in the world - SS “FRANCE” (II). His last biggest work in period 1955-1961 was a project of the transatlantic passenger
liner of capacity of 6000 people, distinguishing feature of which was the accommodating all passengers in the cabins
of a single class. This project was supposed to reduce (in 4 times) the cost of transatlantic journey and make it affordable
for all people. Unfortunately, Yurkevich couldn’t realize this project as well as many others because of different reasons
including new era of airlines and implementing of strict visa regime in USA.
Creator of the biggest French transatlantic passenger liner SS “NORMANDIE” dead in his house in suburb of New York
on 14th of December 1964.
*-After death of SS “NORMANDIE” in the middle of Manhattan, which Vladimir Yurkevich considered as a death
of his own child, he couldn’t forgive it to the USA in general and New York’s firefighters in particular. It affected on
decision to give his own archive back to Russia instead of giving it to Columbia University in New York which expressed
a great desire to have it.
Link to publication on LinkedIn www.design-vadim.com