Forty-two years ago tonight the Edmund Fitzgerald was lost with all hands on Lake Superior. Most of us know the tragic story from the Gordon Lightfoot song about the wreck. In 2001 a documentary about the Fitzgerald debuted. One of the things that always stayed with me from the documentary, as both a testament to the men serving aboard her and as a potential counterfactual, is that Captain McSorley, the master of the Fitzgerald, slowed his vessel to buddy with the smaller, slower Arthur Anderson. This was done to increase the chances they’d both make port even though the Edmund Fitzgerald had the ability to make better speed to reach safe anchorage had she gone it alone. This part of the history is recounted in the documentary below beginning at the 15:3o mark (should be set to play from that point). Captain Cooper, the master of the Anderson, and his crew showed as much valor when they went back out to search for the Fitzgerald after they’d made it safely to port.
And, of course, the obligatory: