Distance to the Iceberg when sighted, and questions about the lookouts.


R.M.S TITANIC

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If you just want to know the answer, it is 430 meters, or 1410.5 feet.
Alright, so I haven't really found a consistent answer on how far away the iceberg was once it was spotted, and I get it, we can't go back to that night and see it with our own eyes, but I would of expected more consistent answers. Quick calculations aren't too hard. For this, we just need two things: Speed, and time.
Time is easy: Around 37 seconds. Speed is slightly harder as not a lot of people know how fast a knot is in meters per second. For your info, a knot is about .51 meters a second. Titanic was sailing at almost full speed when she hit the iceberg, so I'll give a generous range of 22.45 to 22.75 knots. This translates to 11.54 to 11.70 meters per second. So, I'll take the average of 22.60 knots, or 11.62 meters a second. So, we just multiply the two factors, and get a distance of: 430 meters (I rounded it up).
That's actually not as long as you think. For those of you in the U.S, that is 1,410.56 feet. I've seen estimates for the distance range from around 625 meters, all the way down to around 274 meters in some cases. Yes, the distance may vary a bit when you calculate other factors, but this is a rough estimate.

On to 2 questions.
1. How well would the lookouts be able to keep their eyes open? The fact that the ships moving in relation to the air around it, means you experience wind. Normally this is fine, but the conditions that night were unusual; it was cold. Very cold. How well would you be able to keep your eyes open without something to cover them while icy wind is blasting your face?
2. This has probably been asked before, but how well would glasses actually work? Fleet testified that he might of been able to see the iceberg sooner if he had glasses. I'm pretty sure glasses are tools to help correct eye sight. So, the question stands: how well would glasses actually work for Fleet and Lee?
 

J Sheehan

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I don't think binoculars would've made ANY difference that night. It's been proved many times.

But, considering the icy wind blowing into the lookouts eyes, there is one thing that MIGHT have made a difference: Goggles.

Such a simple thing as a pair of goggles would have protected the lookouts eyes from the icy wind and may have allowed them to see the berg a few seconds earlier, which may have made all the difference in avoiding the collision.

NOTE: When I say goggles, I don't mean the ones SCUBA divers wear, but instead something like this:

8360c9c8-11c3-490d-a964-e4602691dcbf.jpg


Or even something like this.
xxssi_ibeGetWCCImage.jpg
 

Seumas

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Goggles steam up too easily, even in cold temperatures.

The lookouts would have had to take them off and wipe the inside of them down several times during their shift. Doing so is a neglect of ones duties of looking out for anything in the path of the ship. Cleaning the goggles (which they will be doing in the dark) would inevitably mean smudging them up at some point which isn't particularly helpful to them either.

Also if you are on watch and it was raining or snowing, then the goggles are going to collect rain and snow on them which has to be wiped off every few minutes. More time spent not keeping the look out.

Goggles were not a solution.
 

Jim Currie

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I don't think binoculars would've made ANY difference that night. It's been proved many times.

But, considering the icy wind blowing into the lookouts eyes, there is one thing that MIGHT have made a difference: Goggles.

Such a simple thing as a pair of goggles would have protected the lookouts eyes from the icy wind and may have allowed them to see the berg a few seconds earlier, which may have made all the difference in avoiding the collision.

NOTE: When I say goggles, I don't mean the ones SCUBA divers wear, but instead something like this:

8360c9c8-11c3-490d-a964-e4602691dcbf.jpg


Or even something like this.
xxssi_ibeGetWCCImage.jpg
The front of the Nest would deflect the wind upward ward and on each side. The same thing happened on the bridge-wing front. In fact, later ships had a sort of "venturi" plate fitted to increase the rate of deflection in slower ships.
 
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R.M.S TITANIC

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Really? Wasn't the crows nest quite 'box' shaped? I had the impression that the front was round, based on photographs. All the photographs I've seen seem to suggest that the front of the nest was rounded, based on shading.
 
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R.M.S TITANIC

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Hmm, if it is round, how does it deflect wind up and over? The plans for the ship indicate that the front isn't sloped, judging by the box shape. Then again, I'm pretty sure the nest had steps so you could step up, did it not? If so, you could easily step down a bit. But then again, as Seumas said, that would be a neglect of duties. The problem is that we don't have a whole lot of photos of the Titanic because of her short lifetime. Not to mention the plans only view the ship from the side, or the decks top down.
 

Jim Currie

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Be assured, I have spent enough time in many of these things and on lookout in similar situations to assure you that you do not put your head too high above the gunwale where the wind will affect your vision. The shape does not matter. The wind... be it due to the speed of headway or from a force 10. gets diverted.
The picture shown by Sam does not have a rear screen. The one mounted on Titanic's foremast did have one fitted. It was of canvas. Can you imagine what a strong headwind or gale would do to such a fitting if the wind was not diverted by the structure?
 

Jim Currie

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Here's a question for you Bob. If that is Titanic leaving Southampton, why are there two men in the Crow's nest and why has the night screen been raised up, at or just after Noon on a brilliant sunny day?
Further more: what happened to it in this next picture of Titanic heading down river allegedly shortly after your photograph was taken ...after leaving her berth? Where is the screen and the lookout men?
1569604289869.png


Titanic heading down river.jpg
 

Bob_Read

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Jim: Look at the mast and the derrick. That image has been altered. Below is the original image. The aft screen is nearly in line of sight with the camera and thus is practically invisible. I see one of the men’s heads at the forward edge of the crow’s nest.
scan0015.jpg
 
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Bob_Read

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Jim: The original image I posted of the crow’s nest was cropped from a high resolution copy of the image below.
954E7D07-6948-49A9-9E35-76FE277441D4.jpeg
 

Bob_Read

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Jim: Here is Titanic being pulled away from the dock. Even in this photo you can see two lookouts and the aft canvas screen rigged.
Titanic Southamptonc.jpg
 

Jim Currie

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Yes. I know, Bob. I was about to post that same photograph which was when there was a bow line to the shore.
The aft screen had a stanchion on each side with an "eye" top and bottom to which was attached a stretch wire, The canvas screen was drawn across this at night to preserve the night vision of the lookouts At sunrise, it was drawn back during the day so that lookouts could be seen pointing as well as warning by the bell.
What I think you are seeing in the shot of Titanic passing the crowd on the quay, is the port side stanchion and one man in the nest,
However, if the screen was deployed, we should be asking why it was deployed during daylight hours.
 

Bob_Read

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Could it be possible that procedures and practices aboard Titanic in 1912 were different than during your day and aboard your vessels?
 

Jim Currie

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It may well have been, Bob. However, the fitting of a screen had a purpose then, as it had for exactly the same purpose for many years thereafter.
 
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Going down Southampton Water until the pilot was dropped off the Nab there would be two lookout men in the crow's nest along with the ship's second officer, who prior to going up the stick, would have been assisting the chief officer with overseeing the handling of the mooring lines on the forecastle while leaving the dock. At least that is how it was done on Olympic in 1911 under Smith's command. I assume it was handled the same way on Titanic.
 

Seumas

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I'd be interested to read your feedback on this point Sam.

It is speculated in On A Sea of Glass that because of the delay caused by the "New York incident", they decided to make up for lost time and perhaps George Bowyer stayed with the ship until they reached Cherbourg rather than being "dropped" at the Nab.

What are your thoughts ?
 

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