Experts saying she needed to go full speed ahead


Sep 19, 2006
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I didn't find this topic in the threads, but I'm sure it might be hidden somewhere. Anyway, I'm very curious if the iceberg could have been avoided had the captain judged best to go with engines on full and steered hard to the left, would the Titanic have been damaged to some degree anyway? Considering all the variables, the crew had less than a minute to react, could the boat had steered sharply in the amount of time? And I just thought now whether other icebergs were nearby. I wonder if there were no icebergs then she could have turned with no worry of hitting anythng. Maybe the captain was thinking with caution, than to turn sharp with engines full power, he'd hit something else. On the other hand what makes me think that the captain did not think of this was perhaps clouded panicky thinking and more like a reaction than a smart decision. Please, your thoughts (again) thanks!.
 
Dec 3, 2005
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Well, Smith wasn't at the helm at the time. Murdoch and Hitchens were at the controls. Besides, Murdoch had a split second to decide what to do. Whether it would have missed the iceberg is very debatable. I believe that someone once figured out a way using a ship navigation simulating computer program to avoid the iceberg, but it was a much more complex maneuver than just flooring it and turning hard a'starboard.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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I don't think that panic was an issue here. While it's not unknown for something like that to happen, among trained and experienced mariners, it's decidely rare.

As Peter indicated, the guy who was driving at the time was Will Murdoch, and he did the best he could with the avlailable resources in the time he had...which probably wasn't much. I think it's worth noting that the premise that Titanic reversed her engines pre-collision is extremely questionable. Boxhall's testimony mentions it, but the survivors from the engine room indicate that engine reversal didn't happen until after the collision.
 

Dave Gittins

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Apr 11, 2001
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"Anyway, I'm very curious if the iceberg could have been avoided had the captain judged best to go with engines on full and steered hard to the left, would the Titanic have been damaged to some degree anyway?"

Yes, because that's what was done! As Michael wrote, it's most unlikely that the engines played a part in the moments before the collision.
 
Aug 10, 2002
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Using our simulator, when the students touch the engines, they inevitably hit the berg. When they leave the engines alone and just use the rudder they can miss the berg.
Regards,
Charlie Weeks
 
Sep 19, 2006
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Wow,I can only say that math really does have a big part to do with sailing. The thing that perhaps decidedly killed the Titanic was the lack of seriousness with communicating.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>The thing that perhaps decidedly killed the Titanic was the lack of seriousness with communicating.<<

I'd give half marks on that one. There wasn't an issue with taking communications seriously, and with White Star, Bridge dicipline and the correct observance of operating protocols was taken very seriously.

For my own money, I think the problem was not so much with communications being taken seriously as communications being possible within a realistic time frame. In many ways, the Titanic's bridge arrangement was a throwback to the middle 19th Century which appeared to do everything possible to hamper communications. This extended to the ship's standard compass being located on a platform between funnels two and three. A good 150 feet back from the bridge and the only way they could communicate with the bridge when doing the half hourly compass checks was by way of bell signals.

Compare this to the location of the standard compass on the Lusitania and Mauritania which was right over the bridge and which could communicate with same by way of a speaking tube.

The helmsman of course was inside the wheelhouse and the guy keeping looking forward wasn't close enough to communicate by any way save by shouting.

So what we have here is a set up where the guy who knows the true compass heading
a) can't get that information to the guy at the wheel in a timely manner, and has no way of knowing what the hell is ahead of the ship.
b) the guy who has his hands on the wheel can't see squat either, and
c) the guy who can actually see ahead of the ship...and who theoretically is doing the driving...has to shout at the top of his lungs from his outside post and hope the helmsman gets it right.

As set ups designed to cause an accident goes, this one was practically tailor made!
 
Jan 11, 2006
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quote:

Using our simulator, when the students touch the engines, they inevitably hit the berg. When they leave the engines alone and just use the rudder they can miss the berg.

Rounding an object "close aboard" requires precise judgement and adaptability. To avoid or minimize contact damage should an iceberg, for example, be encountered unexpectedly at close quarters, the rudder must be put hard over away from the iceberg. The engine speed must be increased, if not already at full speed ahead. The instant the bow clears or hits the iceberg, the rudder must be put hard over the other way and engine speed maintained. This is vital in preventing the hull abaft the pivot point from striking the berg. (page 37, The Sinking of the Titanic: An Ice Pilot's Perspective)​
 

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