Any books available on HMS Captain


Sep 22, 2003
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Any books available on HMS Captain? just wondering, read about the HMS Captain in "Disaster at Sea" by John Marriot. pretty good book. any books out there written about her or atleast more books that give good details?
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Easley South Carolina

Dave Moran

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Apr 23, 2002
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If you are really rich " British Battleships 1860-1946 " by Oscar Parkes - but expect little change from £ 80 minimum always supposing you could find it. The standard book on Victorian Navy designs, at least until recent times.

I would defintely recommend the Preston book as well as the David Brown book which gives interesting points of comparison between HMS Captain and HMS Monarch. In essence, Monarch was a more measured approach to the question of producing a sea-going masted turret ship.Cowper Coles, designer of Captain and a man who saw himself as a specialist in naval artillery, hated her and attacked her, with the backing of certain newspapers.

So, basically to shut him up, the RN built the Captain, or rather a private contractor on behalf of the navy, built her. One of the problems was that the contractor did not pay as close attention to weight gain and overloading as the Rpyal Dockyards were accustomed to doing, thus reducing her freeboard as well as her stability.

Another problem was that Coles had designed her with a unique set of tripod masts which lacked flexibility. That night of Cape Finisterre the masts did not flex the way the masts of the rest of the fleet did, and remained steadfastly upright, which may well have contributed to her alarmingly fast stability loss, that low-freeboard deck dipping quickly below the water.

Coles was indeed on board when she went down.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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A righting moment...the point beyond which the ship was bound to capsize...of only 20 degrees didn't help either. This juicy piece of information was discovered during the inclining experiment shortly after the ship was completed. By all rights, this ship should never have been allowed to put to sea, except perhaps in a flat calm. Since such conditions are extremely rare around the British Isles or any other part of the Atlantic, this was an accident waiting to happen.

It didn't wait long.
 

Dave Moran

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Apr 23, 2002
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I think it was David K Brown who suggested that as a rough rule of thumb no new ship design should have more than about 20% innovation, and the rest should be built along tried and true methods.

With a low freeboard, turreted armament, new style masts - note that tripods did not recur in the RN until sails were done away with and then their inherent inflexibility suited their use for spotting tops - " Captain " was well above that suggested proportion.

" Monarch " was not, and served for IIRC about thirty years, and was even considered worthy of reconstruction in the late 1880s.
 

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