Shipping: Requiem for Heavyweights

Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. rescued the U.S.S. Constitution from the wreckers in 1830, when he wrote the memorable poem "Old Ironsides," which begins, "Ay, tear her tattered ensign down!" After a national outpouring of emotion, Congress quickly appropriated funds for the restoration of the frigate. It is still docked in Boston Harbor, a symbol of America's longtime affinity for tall ships and deep water. Poetry may have been enough to save a ship from the scrap heap then, but in an age more closely attuned to the demands of economics the sight...

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