Collision with wave in 1910


Nov 7, 2005
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Can anyone tell me a little more about the damage that was done to the Lusitania when it hit a huge wave in 1910. I have been researching my family tree and have found family that travelled to America in 1910 on the Lusitania. I'm wondering when in 1910 the collision happened, how long repairs took, where they were done, etc... I'm including a "Ships" section in my family history books and would like to have some information regarding this problem.

Thank you for any assistance.
 
Sep 26, 2009
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Here's a quote from atlantic liners dot com:

In January of 1910, just after Captain Turner’s departure to command the Mauretania, the Lusitania encountered another infamous Atlantic storm while west-bound for New York. The ship struggled through monstrous seas not entirely unlike those she had encountered on her maiden voyage. This time, however, things took an even uglier turn. There came a point where, once again, the great liner came down into the trough of one of the gigantic waves. It must have been quite a surprise when the wave ahead of the ship - estimated to be at least eighty feet high - crested and collapsed on top of the liner. The whole front end of the liner was submerged in the raging sea. Several of her forward lifeboats were pulverized, their davits bent and disfigured. In the bow, the forces at work actually shifted some of the ship’s bulkheads in the crew’s quarters, jamming doors closed in the process. Up above, on the normally quiet and serene bridge, all was not well, either. The front of the bridge was crushed back several inches, and water flooded the inside until it was a full five feet deep. The ship’s wheel, housed inside the enclosed wheelhouse within the bridge, was wrenched loose from the telemotor, and all control of the ship’s rudder was lost from the bridge. The soggy officers and men on duty scrambled to get someone on the aft bridge to steer the ship until the helm could be repaired in the wheelhouse. Despite this brutal punishment from the North Atlantic, the great Lusitania managed to make it into New York in complete safety.
 

Mark Baber

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Dec 29, 2000
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The New York Times, 16 January 1910

LUSITANIA BATTERED BY 80-FOOT WAVE
---
Wheel House of Giant Cunarder Wrecked and Officers and Seamen Hurt
---
ST. LOUIS ALSO GALE TOSSED
---
Both Steamships Greatly Delayed by Worst Storm of Winter---Wave Drenched
Ambassador Reid
---
After having passed through an inferno of wind and wave two
trans-Atlantic steamships, the American liner St. Louis, from
Southampton, and the giant Cunarder Lusitania, from Liverpool, came into
port yesterday morning much battered by their battle with the elements.
Both were late in arriving here, and both brought passengers who landed
rejoicing because of danger safely passed. The Lusitania led the fleet
of incoming liners up the bay in the early morning. Behind her came the
St. Louis, two days late. Since Friday morning she had been anchored
outside Sandy Hook riding out one of the worst storms of the Winter.

On Monday evening, when the Lusitania was plowing through high head sea
whipped up by the westerly gale an accumulative wave struck the vessel.
She was buried under a mountain of water and when she emerged from the
smother the steel front of the wheel house on the upper bridge was
smashed in, her chief officer was injured, the officers' quarters were
flooded, and smashed boats were left hanging useless on twisted davits.

The force of the 2,000 tons of water which thundered down on deck and
superstructure was terrific. To add to the danger the lights on masthead
and bridge house went out, and the Lusitania was forced to stop. It was
forty minutes before she again got under way, and in the interval she
drifted off into the boiling sea, until her bow pointed to the south.
After that she took up her course at a ten-knot gait, and her officers
and crew set about clearing away the wreckage.

The Lusitania left Queenstown on Sunday morning, clearing Daunt's Rock
at 8:25 A. M. She was 5 days, 20 hours and 33 minutes in crossing. Her
experience with bad weather began when she was in the Irish Channel.
When she got away from the Irish coast she poked her nose into a
terrific west southwest gale and high seas, and from that time until she
came up the bay yesterday morning she was in a constant fight with wind
and wave. She passed Fire Island at 11 P. M. in the storm, came slowly
toward the Hook, and was at the entrance to Ambrose Channel with early
morning light, and so came through while the storm-bound fleet was
getting up anchors to make the harbor entrance. Her worse [sic] day's
run was on Tuesday, when 319 knots were logged, and her best run was on
Friday, when she made 634 knots.

On Monday evening the Lusitania had reached latitude 51:05 longitude
23:54 Capt. Turner went to dinner at 6 o'clock, leaving Chief Officer
McNeil in charge. The wind was blowing hard out of the west and dead
ahead of the vessel. A terrific sea was running, and the high-flung
water dashed against deck and superstructure with a noise like the
discharge of small shot.

The vessel was reduced to fourteen knots, but making comfortable
progress. She shipped a good-sized sea forward and then ran down into
the hollow of the wave. She reached the valley between seas when
suddenly ahead loomed the next, a mighty barrier of green water which
shut out sky and horizon for a second. Then, before the steamer could
raise her bow to meet it, the great mass of water came rushing down upon
her. The bow was buried out of sight and the water went higher than the
roof of the wheelhouse, eighty feet above the sea. Before the
Lusitania righted it swept down her decks the whole length of the ship.

Chief Officer McNeil was clinging to the bridge rail when he saw the big
wave coming. He started on a run for the door of the wheelhouse. Before
he got there the first of the onrush caught him. He was thrown violently
into the room, and was for a few seconds up to his armpits in the
swirling water.

The crash as the tons of mater struck squarely against the front of the
wheelhouse was terrific. In an instant the entire front was carried
inward. The wooden shutters were dashed to kindling wood, the heavy
steel plates bent and twisted so that they were pushed back upon the
signaling apparatus.

At the wheel was Quartermaster Riddey. The water wrenched off the wheel
and carried it and the Quartermaster across the room and up against the
chart room partition. "Standing by" the wheel was another Quartermaster
named Harding. He was flung across the room, and his leg bruised by
striking the bulkhead.

For a few seconds there was the greatest confusion in the small
wheelhouse. The water had in some way short-circuited the electric
lights. The masthead lights went out and so did the side lights and
those in the chartroom and wheelhouse. Up to their waists in water the
men struggled in the darkness to regain their footing, and the vessel,
her wheel gone, began to fall off into the sea. McNeil staggered to the
door, and in the semi-darkness he saw the rushing water sweeping across
the bridge. As he looked a white-gloved hand went by. All he could see
was the clutching hand. He thought it belonged to Third Officer Storey,
who had gone up on the roof of the wheelhouse to look at the standard
compass.

Afterward he found it was little Tommy Hughes, the bridge boy who had
escaped death by a hair's-breath. [sic] The boy was caught on the
bridge. He threw himself flat and lost the full force of the blow but
the water picked him up and lifted him bodily across the bridge. He was
being swept overboard when his hand came in contact with an iron
stanchion and he held on for his life.

Storey, on top of the wheelhouse, also saw the wave coming and he
crouched down and hung on to the compass stand until the sea passed.

The wave swept onward doing damage. Crashing downward from the bridge to
the boat deck it broke off and carried away the starboard companion
ladder to the bridge, and so wrecked the port one that it had to be
lashed to hold it in place. The first two boats on the starboard side
were lifted from their chocks and banged to the deck, smashing them. No.
1 boat was swung so far inboard that it almost blocked the deck. The
great ten-inch iron davits were twisted and bent.

From the wheelhouse the water flooded the officers' wardroom and
descended to the officers' quarters, flooding them. Some idea of the
farce of the water can be gained by a sight of a big splinter of teak
wood torn off from the front of the chart room, which struck the
hardwood case of the fire-detecting apparatus and buried itself two
inches.

It was fifteen minutes before the lights could be switched on and
forty minutes before the vessel again got under way. For ten
minutes the Lusitania was steered by the gear aft. Then the wheel was
reshipped. When the lights went up again. Chief Officer McNeil found his
coat and shirt covered with blood. He had a long cut across his head and
another on his chin. In the excitement of the minute he did not know he
had been hurt. The water washed some of the contents out of the
chart room. Tile ship's record of the trip was lost in this way.

The bow of the Lusitania was dipped when the wave struck her, and though
the water did no damage to her bow, the strain was so great that
bulkheads in the steward's quarter were bent, doors broken, and the big
copper pipes connecting the stem hoisting gear forward were bent.

"When I left the bridge," said Capt. Turner, "the vessel was going
nicely through the high head seas. The wave came as a surprise. The ship
was going down when she met the sea, and it is hard to estimate the
height of the wave. The water came to the top of the wheelhouse, which
is 80 feet above the deck. I have heard of tidal and accumulative waves
before, but I never met one in my experience."

The delay of the St. Louis caused great inconvenience to business men,
for she carried the mid-week mall. She suffered her first delay at
Queenstown, where she touched for the first time in her history. She had
to wait there four hours for the mails. Her voyage from start to finish
was a stormy one. On Wednesday at 8 P. M., while a number of saloon
passengers, wrapped in rugs, were on deck in steamer chairs, she shipped
a big sea. which did much mischief before it spent its force. It smashed
down forward, breaking away a section of the port rail. Then rushing
down the long promenade deck it engulfed a number of passengers who
were unable to get out of their chairs in time. It did no harm besides
wetting a number and sending their chairs and themselves washing along
the deck.

Among those who were caught by the water were [sic] Ambassador Reid. His
secretary, Miss Rogers, also suffered a wetting. Another occupying a
steamer chair in the danger zone was Mme. Marie Deloa, the singer. Her
cahir [sic] toppled over and she went skidding along the deck. Her
husband rescued her. Except for a drenching the singer was none the
worse for her mishap.

The St. Louis had to fight against weather nearly ail the way across,
and she arrived off Sandy Hook just in time to get the full benefit of
the blinding snowstorm and its attendant gale. When the vessel was
anchored off Queenstown an old Irishwoman lace seller attempted to board
her, but was ordered away. As her small boat pulled away, the woman, in
anger, cursed the vessel. Some of the superstitious saw in this a reason
for the rough weather.

As a mail-carrying vessel, the St. Louis, which was scheduled to sail
from here yesterday morning, must get away today. As soon as she came
alongside her pier the coal barges were waiting and the work of
filling her bunkers began. A force of laborers worked all night taking
out and putting in cargo, coaling and getting her ready to leave this
morning. She sails at 10 A. M.

-30-
 

Peter Creedon

Member
Mar 12, 2005
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71
Hey skip, I think we're gonna make it!

Hooollllldddd tiiiiggggghhhhhhtttt!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Skip, it was a heck of a fight, we had to try.

Christina, I don't think you know it, but I'm talkin' to ya baby.
 

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