Another attempt at solving the Californian saga


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May 12, 2002
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Paul,

Your position of 42°N, 50°10'W for Californian either means she was to the west of the icefield or that the icefield had a NW/SE orientation. Given that the first possibility is a bit daft ;-), what evidence do you have for the orientation of the ice field?

Cheers

Paul
 

Paul Lee

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Aug 11, 2003
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Hi Paul,
Well, at first, it was a hypothesis, but George Behe has confirmed that Captains Rostron and Hattorf put the icefield in a NW-SE orientation.

Cheers

Paul

 
May 12, 2002
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Hi Paul,

That's interesting. There are four maps in Appendix E of TSTSS. The two most detailed maps show the icefield in a NE-SW orientation (these are the maps of Captain Knapp of the Hydrographic Office and the New York US District Court). Another map (by Captain Stupling of the Birma) has it oriented more to N-S and the final map (sketched from Captain Lord's descriptions of 25th April 1912) has it oriented directly N-S.

Do you have any other references for Rostron's and Hattorf's descriptions of the ice field? I'd be interested to read them.

Cheers

Paul
 

Paul Lee

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I'll have a dig around. Personally, I wouldn't trust Knapp's diagram, as he deliberately forced the icefield into a NE orinetation to make the Titanic stop on the European side of the floe. Mount Temple's sights, Frankfirt's observations etc. would disupte this, but the Us and BoT inquiries were so adamant that Titanic's position was right they chose to ignore such trifles....

Cheers

Paul

 

Dave Gittins

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Mar 16, 2000
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Paul, I'm not going to join in the discussion but I noticed a few typos that need fixing. Check several references to lat and long. You have one ship in 41' N, which is a bit warm for icebergs.

Not nit-picking, because I've been there and done that. My website used to have a ship going west instead of east. It sat there for months before somebody noticed.
 

Paul Lee

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Hi Dave,
Thanks for the proof-reading (!). I must admit, at one point I stopped typing 42 degrees North, 41'N (or whatever) and just put 41'N...which I now realise is a stupid and misleading shorthand...I'll change it in the next revision (I've postted a few items that I could add to).

If you want to email me privately, please feel free to do so!

With best wishes

Paul

 
Jul 9, 2000
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>>Personally, I wouldn't trust Knapp's diagram, as he deliberately forced the icefield into a NE orinetation to make the Titanic stop on the European side of the floe.<<

I wouldn't be so sure of that. What Captain Knapp did was chart the icefield based on the extant information on ice that had actually been reported. That doesn't mean that what he put together was flawless, but he did the best he could with what was available. I don't believe that there was any particular agenda at work with this one, nor do I don't think there was much reason to dispute which side of the icefield the Titanic was stopped on. That much was pretty much a given. Remember that the Mount Temple was stopped along the Western side and watched the Carpathia do her work on the Eastern side.

Granted, the data was not precise, but about all that really proves is that they didn't have the benefit of GPS navigation aides.
 
Mar 22, 2003
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I tend to agree somewhat with Paul on this one. Knapp went so far as to put a hook into his ice field to accommodate the reported position of the Californian at 42 05'N 50 07'W. The Boxhall CQD location is shown just on the eastern edge. The Mount Temple's position on the morning of the 15th at 50 09.5'W was ignored. It would have shown up on Knapp's diagram well to the east of the drawn ice field and to the east of the CQD location. But we know the Mount Temple was at the western edge of the 5 to 6 mile wide field. The direction of the ice field as reported by the Mount Temple and the Californian actually agree. Capt. Moore of the Mount Temple reported having to steer SSE true looking for an opening in the field. The Carpathia was seen to east of the field. The Californian reported the ice extending north-south but bearings were given in compass directions. The magnetic compass had a variation of about 2 points west of true north (actually 24 degrees). Thus the general direction of the ice field given by both these sources (NNW-to-SSE true or N-to-S magnetic) agree.
 

Paul Lee

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Thanks Samuel. By the way, I've added a new bit to my piece discussing the movements and observations of the Carpathia after she arrived on the wreck scene: Rostron describes the icefield as being NW-SE, and also says that he dodged around collecting boat after boat. So, we don't really know what lattitude the Carpathia was in after 4.10am!

Cheers

Paul

 
Mar 22, 2003
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Paul: I haven't had a chance to look in depth on the link you gave but I noticed that you show the two ships on a NW-SE line of bearing (true) and about 15 miles apart. This close to the 14 miles I derived using a navigational approach I did about a month ago which I sent to you. That result was based on the reported noon latitude of Californian, which I took as a given, and the assumption that both ships were under the influence of the same derived current set and drift for most of that day since noon. Using the reported noon longitude, and there is a question about how accurate that would be, one can calculate a maximum westward movement for the Californian. Adding the effect of the derived current to that DR position one can derive a minimum distance between ships. The results of all this was a separation distance between 10 to 14 miles with a mean position of 12 miles apart on a line-of-bearing of 315 true.

Cheers.
 

Paul Lee

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Hi Samuel,
Thanks for your input. I am desperately sorry I never got back to you about your interesting data, I just never seemed to fnd the time. In fact, I am depressingly upset that I never did so. I hope you can forgive me. It may be to some people that I had plagiarused your work, when this is not the case. I am so sorry, my friend

Paul
 
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