This is probably somewhat out of character, but…
Six ships you’re into right now.
1 CSS Virginia (1862)
2 HMS M1 (1917)
3 HMS Ark Royal (1937)
4 HMS Terror (1916)
5 PS Connaught (1860)
6 PS Waverley (1946)
Three ships you liked, but don’t anymore.
7 HMS Dreadnought (1906)
8 HMS Warrior (1860)
9 CSS H. L. Hunley (1863)
Three ships you never liked.
10 Bismarck (1939)
11 The Matthew (1497)
12 RMS Titanic (1911)
Two ships you’re curious about, but don’t actually ship.
13 SMS Emden (1916)
14 Yamato (1940)
Why do you dislike #11 so much? (The Matthew)
Because Bristol loves the hell out of John Cabot’s discovery of Newfoundland, forgetting that the relative worthlessness of Newfoundland and misadventures in the North set back English colonialism for decades and that rather than being a true-blue English hero, Giovanni Caboto was an Italian who came to England because he couldn’t scam anyone back in Italy out of enough money. Sure, sailing a three-masted wooden bathtub across the Ocean Sea was an achievement, but it was a meaningless achievement, forgotten fast. Nothing against the actual ship.
Who is someone you know that ships #14? (Yamato)
Every last weeaboo on the Internet. Yes, it was large, powerful and advanced. Just like the Char 2C (which I do actually love, but entirely due to looks and 40kness). They were also both obsolete, unfit for the war they fought, overpriced figurehead gear, and horribly mishandled by idiots. Both were destroyed in inconsequential battle, without ever giving a good account of themselves.
What would be your ideal scenario for #3? (HMS Ark Royal)
If she had actually survived the war, or at least sunk in its later stages. By the time of Operation Rheinübung she’d been reported downed quite a few times; it would tickle me if she’d somehow lasted, having been trumpeted as a kill again and again by the Kriegsmarine until upon actually sinking her they didn’t believe it. “The aircraft carrier that cried glug glug glug.”
Which is your favourite moment for #1? (CSS Virginia)
Has to be the Battle of Hampton Roads, obviously. The duel between Virginia and Monitor is what’s been remembered most of all by history, but the real impact was in Virginia’s early kills – ramming the Cumberland and burning the Congress – the big, graceful, wooden sailing ships smashed and shredded by smoking, thundering soot-black monsters. Hampton Roads wasn’t about the duel between North and South, it was about proving beyond all doubt that the future lay with steam and iron.
How long have you been following #6? (PS Waverley)
Since my parents first read A Journey Down the Clyde at the age of nothing. Lovely book about a river, featuring the Waverley and the Finnieston crane, symbols of a Scots fragment of my childhood.
What’s the story with #8? What made you stop liking them/caring? (HMS Warrior)
I’m not sure, really. I saw Warrior at Portsmouth when Mum took me there as a little person and I was fascinated at the meeting of two worlds – iron armour on teak, propeller that could be lifted out of the water for sail power, rifled breech-loaders in Napoleonic gun decks. It’s quintessentially Victorian as a combat vessel, the link between old-world tall ships and industrial iron. But now… it’s just a big, obsolete, useless ship that never saw actual combat, an evolutionary step rather than a revolution, and no longer really interests me.
You have the power to make one ship non-existent. Choose from #10 or #12. (Bismarck, RMS Titanic)
Titanic, I suppose.
Which ship do you prefer, #2 or #4? (HMS M1, HMS Terror)
Difficult. They both appeal in the same way – a normally proportioned early-20th century vessel, plus a ridiculously outsized gun. Probably the Terror, because she had an actual service history and was a functional warship rather than a confused, sad experiment. Also, she served in the Zeebrugge raid, alongside HMS Manley.
What interests you about #14? (Yamato)
Because unlike the other military object of all weeaboo worship nonsense, the katana, and almost alone in the generally lamentable Japanese WW2 military hardware, it was actually a decent weapon.
Why did you stop liking #7? (HMS Dreadnought)
About the same reasons as Warrior. An amazing design and you can see its influence in ships after it for decades, but the ship itself never did much except ram some poor bastard U-boat that was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and was made obsolete fast.
Did your waning interest in #9 kill your interest in the show? (CSS Hunley//US Civil War)
Not really; it was the first taste of US Civil War maritime combat I got, in one of Muriel’s Big Books of Ships, and sparked an interest for more that hasn’t changed even with the realisation that the Hunley was a sordid, futile deathtrap that got lucky once and took far too many men to their graves.
If you could have any of these two ships double-date, who would it be?
Any counterfactual nerd would go for Bismarck and Yamato tag-teaming in a heartbeat, but I think the Terror and the M1, for sheer top-heavy artillery. One which looked like it could punch way above its weight, one which actually could.
Has #2 kissed yet? (HMS M1)
Kissed a Swedish collier in 1925, lost with all hands.
Did #4 have a happy ending? If the show hasn’t ended yet, do you think a happy ending is likely? (HMS Terror)
Bombed in 1941 after a long, illustrious career. Better than the breaker’s yard, I suppose?
What would make you start shipping #13? (SMS Emden)
Knowing more about the Imperial German Navy.
If only one could happen, which would you prefer, #2 or #6? (PS Waverley, HMS M1)
Waverley is a childhood memory and I can still sail on it today, M1 was a tragedy due to confused design specs and doomed from the beginning. Waverley.
You have the power to decide the fate of #10. What happens to them? (Bismarck)
Same as the Tirpitz, spends the whole war in a fjord and gets smacked by Tallboys.
Which of these ships do you love the most?
PS Connaught. That vessel is just aesthetically perfect.
…five from around WW1, four from around WW2, four from the 1860s and one anomaly. Hmm.