Those are all good points, Kyle. I see that I didn't explain myself well. I was saying that whatever stresses were going on, they caused the port-side guy wires to fail first. (Thank you for pointing me to Mr. Lightoller's testimony, which aligns with that aspect of my jabbering.) I'm kind of saying the opposite of what you're thinking I am: that for the funnel to "fall uphill", against a port list, it means that there had to be more force in the starboard direction than what gravity was exerting due to the list. There were forces large enough to put the whole system in tension; large enough to fail the cables (more likely, one of the cable connections (top or bottom)), and large enough to break the funnel loose at its bottom somehow. (I say that last thing because Mr. Lightoller said that he saw the aft cable stays snap, port one first, and the funnel fell due to the starboard cable failing just after. But two cables failing at only the aft end would not be enough to topple a smokestack. There had to have been serious damage around the bottom--as when a tree is most of the way sawn through, but not yet "chopped down".) I don't know how all the stresses were arranged to set up such a situation--especially on the port-side cables; all I can say is that there had to be more force in the direction that the funnel moved; that the port-side cables could not have been intact to allow such a fall; and the funnel's bottom attachment had to be severely compromised by that point. What Lightoller saw was "the end of the story" and, like all of us, he had the strong desire to explain what was counter-intuitive and hard to explain."Are you suggesting that the port cables would have snapped due to the ship being at a port list? In my mind, I imagine that stresses would be placed on the cables placed opposite of the direction of the list (if this is the case, stresses would have been highest in the starboard guy wires).
"Another question to raise would be "If the funnels fell due to stresses of the port list, why didn't all of the funnels collapse at roughly the same time?" The third and fourth ones gave way under the gyrations of the breakup and the second funnel may or may not have had the same fate as the first."
Despite Lightolllers claim in his book (which has many mistakes and is from years later) it is a wonder how he was able to see the expansion joint.The drawing below shows the shrouds supporting funnel #1. I believe it was Lightoller's belief that the strain which caused the forward expansion joint shown in red to open and cause one or both of the shrouds aft of the expansion joint to part.