Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Golden Rivet


An old nautical myth was that one of the rivets in the lower parts of the ship's hull was made of gold. The Golden Rivet myth is as fabulous as the Key of the Starboard Watch and the Hammock Ladder and, like them, has covered many a new seaman with some confusion.

When the royal yatch H.M.Y. "BRITANNIA" (photo) was berthed in Port Klang during the Commonwealth Heads of Governments Meeting (CHOGM) in Kuala Lumpur in the late 80's, I was invited on board for a 'cupper tea' by the captain, a jovial Royal Navy Commodore (sorry I forgot his name) who was also an aide-de-camp to Her Britannic Majesty. It was an honour indeed for yours truly since nobody gets invited on board except personally by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II (it was her ship, after all.)

After tea and the small talk, the Commodore gave me a personal guided tour of parts of the ship which were not 'off-limits' to us peasants and commoners, including the spotlessly clean engine room. He also showed me the solitary 'golden rivet' on the starboard (or was it port) side engine room bulkhead.

"Rumour has it that all the rivets on this ship are made of gold, so now you can tell your grandchildren that there was only one," he laughingly told me. He then presented me with a framed and autographed photo of the ship.

As I took the salute at the gangway on disembarking, I reflected on the fact that the rivet had looked suspiciously like it had been painted over with gold paint!

I certainly wouldn't put it past these mats salleh to pull a fast one on me.

(Photo source: The Royal Yatch Brittania official website)


  1. Capt Yusof,
    You might be just the person to help me. I use to live in Klang as a child and remember going to Port Klang to see the ships with my father. I too write a blog and am in the process of writing an entry about the Queen Elizabeth that sailed from Port Klang to India. At least I seem to remember this. Is my memory accurate? Was it the Queen Elizabeth. I believe it was a cruise ship. I just remembered that I wanted to take it for my honeymoon when I grew up..I might have been 8 at the time. If it was the Queen Elizabeth would you know if it was the Queen Elizabeth I? and would you have a picture of it?
    I am a new mother and write a blog called where I try to capture bits of my life and my dad's for my new born son and I would so love to be able to capture a picture of that era by using the Queen Elizabeth. I hope you can help.

  2. ponderingmama:

    It must have been the RMS "Queen Elizabeth II" (QE2), flagship of the Cunard Line which has called in Port Klang a number of times. She has since been replaced by the new Queen Mary 2.

    Do check out her website here:

    Also the wikipedia entry here:


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