Center anchor

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Kathy A. Miles

Guest
Hi, can someone please explain to me how the center anchor was lowered? In looking at the ship, I would assume they'd have to use that front crane, but that's my assumption, which has surely been wrong before
happy.gif

Thanks
Kathy
 

Mike Bull

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Dec 23, 2000
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Yes Kathy, the crane on the bow was there to raise/lower the centre anchor through the hawespipe in the stem of the ship-seems like a bit of a hassle to me compared to using the steam winches though!
 
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Kathy A. Miles

Guest
Thanks Mike, does this mean (I assume) that the anchor was shaped differently from the side anchors? Can you tell me what shape? I've poured thgough my extensive book collection, but can't find anything.
Kathy
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Kathy, you might try chrcking out some of the famous photos of the bow of the wreck which show the center anchor stowed where it was placed over 90 years ago. I've seen photos of the anchor being hauled to the shipyard on a horsedrawn cart in Michael McCaughan's excellant The Birth of the Titanic.

In shape, it was basically an enlarged version of the the two anchors used on the bow of the ship.

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 

Dave Gittins

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Apr 11, 2001
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As Mike says, it was pretty similar to the other anchors. It was a stockless anchor of the kind developed for big ships during the 19th century. It had a big ring attached near the bottom, presumably to help it balance when the crane lifted it but maybe also to attach an anchor buoy. The wire cable passed through the hole in the bow to a horizontal windlass that could be driven by the main capstan mechanism if wanted.

I rather agree with Mike Bull about the difficulty of using it. The setup was not unique. I've seen a picture somewhere of a German ship with two such anchors, complete with two hawse holes in the bow.
 
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Kathy A. Miles

Guest
Thanks folks! I've located the picture and now I can see how it would look. It sure does look like an ordeal to use the thing. What would be the advantage over the bow anchors?
Kathy
 
Dec 2, 2000
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None that I'm aware of beyond it's extra mass if it has to be used to hold the ship in place. The problem of course is that it's awkward location would make it rediculously difficult to use. If there was a real emergency that required it's use, my bet is that the ship would be on the rocks (That's gotta hurt!) by the time they got the damn thing deployed.

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 

Dave Gittins

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Apr 11, 2001
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The only advantage I can think of is that it might avoid the anchor cable chafing on the bow of the ship if it sheered about a lot. You'd still need to be careful to see that it didn't chafe in the fairlead. I agree with Mike about the problem of using it. Even the crane looks pretty flimsy to handle 15 tons or so.

Some ships carry centre anchors permanently rigged and ready to drop but they don't seem to be very common.
 
Jan 29, 2001
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Hello:

While on the subject. The 2002 local Lake Tahoe telephone book is in circulation. I was struck by the photograph adorning the front cover, an original sepia-toned photo of the S.S. Tahoe. The finely detailed photograph reveals the men and women of the period, attired nicely in Victorian garb.
And, a center crane at the forepeak of the Tahoe
very similar to Titanic's. I can only suggest it's purpose was also for the lowering of an anchor(s).

BTW, an precarious free-dive expediton is planned to explore the wreck, resting at 400'. What makes this expedition unique is the combination
of altitude & depth (much more life threatening), also marking a record.

The expedition will be documented by none other than the Discovery Channel.

Michael Cundiff
U.S.A.
 
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Kathy A. Miles

Guest
I guess the most forward piece of railing on the bow then was portable railing? At least from the pics, it looks like it. That had to be a nightmare to deploy!
Kathy
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Easley South Carolina
Hi Kathy, I think it would have been. As I've pointed out many times befor, when things go to Hell at sea, it happens fast! In order to get this monster deployed, the sea and anchor detail would have to be mustered up, the crane rigged, the rails removed if possible, the anchor hoisted up and over, and then let go. If the ship was in danger of going on the rocks, they would be in heap big trouble. (And God help anyone in the way if the cable parted too! They would have a lifespan of about 1/4th of a second.)

It's just a lot easier to have the thing on the chain, rigged up and in the hawspipe ready to go so about all you have to do is trip the pelican hook and let gravity do the rest.

I've rarely ever seen a merchent vessel equipped with a center anchor, but I have seen plenty of warships with them. Mostly, these are destroyer/cruiser type vessels and the center anchor is rigged that way in order to avoid hitting the sonar dome.

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 

Doug Criner

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Dec 2, 2009
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Why the Center Anchor?

Why weren't the port and stbd anchors considered sufficient? Under what circumstances would the center anchor have been needed? My theory for most ships having two bow anchors was in case one of them was lost.
 

Doug Criner

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Dec 2, 2009
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Michael, you moved my post of today, 09/19/2012 underneath your post of 10 years ago - in which you seem to weigh against the center anchor. (It wasn't weighing on the chain, etc.) Could you please move my post back to the general Titanica forum, where it will likely attract new, additional responses? Thanks.
 

Mark Baber

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Dec 29, 2000
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Mike didn't move it, Doug; I did. It belongs here, in this topic discussing the same anchor, rather than in General Titanica, which is intended for subjects that don't really fit anywhere else.
 

Jim Currie

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Apr 16, 2008
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I thought I had written on this subject before.

I do not think that what you see on Titanic's forecastle was a 'center anchor'. It was her spare bower anchor. It would be used in the event she lost one of her regular anchors. There is a recognised, standard way of fitting it to the anchor chain which involved the use of the special davit on the bow.

The bow fair lead (center lead) would not be used to deploy the spare anchor but to tow Titanic in the event she lost all power while at sea. She would probably have carried a very heavy 'insurance wire' on a drum or reel, probably under the forecastle. This would be led out through the bow fairlead and brought back inboard on the forecastle head and attached to the spare (center anchor. If Titanic was to be towed by another vessel at sea, the other vessel would pass a wire to her. that wire would then be attached to the head of the spare anchor. Then the spare would be lifted over the bow and lowered until the insurance wire had the weight. The towing vessel would then move ahead of Titanic and the insurance wire would be payed out to the required length. When all was ready with the wire from ship to ship and the anchor hanging in the middle, the tow would commence. The reason for the anchor hanging this way was to stop sudden jeks in the wire due the movement of the ships in the ocean swell. Such a jerk could easily part the weakest point in the towing gear. The length of the to wire would be at least half a mile. See here:

towing arrangement.JPG

JC

towing arrangement.JPG