How Far Apart were Titanic and Californian?


Mike Spooner

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This subject on how far apart was Titanic from Californian has be going on for years now. In the British inquiry, who said the Californian and Titanic was less than 10 miles apart? So where did Lord Mersey get this evidence from? I can only see that third officer Charles Groves of Californian made a such claim in the inquiry: First under question 8160 10-12 miles. then later on under question 8385 5-7 miles. Yet wasn't the same officer who said the lights of Titanic when out at 11.40! Groves may have the qualification a masters marine certificate at the age of 24, but no match against the qualification and the experience of his captain age 35 who has a extra Masters certificate and claims 19-20 miles away. Now not been a seaman my self though with a pair of glasses at 5-7 miles would of seen the Titanic quite clearly. Or was it just the case as under the early question 8203 the lights when out not giving him a clear vision?
 

Mike Spooner

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Hi Jim,
I would like to ask you a question with your years experience as a qualified seaman.
If the third officers Charles Groves on Californian could see the Titanic 5-7 miles away on a clear night, and we know the lights did not go out. Would it be a fair question with a pair binoculars or glasses what can one actually see? Taking in account Groves himself was a seamen. Did they or not have night sight binoculars?
 

Mila

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It is impossible to tell the distance to the lights at night time.
Here I filmed a few light over the ocean. I used a telephoto with 800mm zoom

How far from me these lights were?
 

Jim Currie

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Your diagram of the courses that Californian could have taken after crossing the ice up north is not supported by the available evidence.
8871. Did you see the nature of the ice, between six o’clock and 8.30, the next morning? - Yes.
8872. While you were steaming in the direction of where you supposed the “Titanic” to be? - Yes.
8873. Do you remember what course you had to steer? - No.
8874. Were you able to proceed direct to the position of the “Titanic” given by the “Virginian,” or had you to skirt the edge of the ice-field? - We went along the edge of the ice-field, I remember that.

It seems to me that once she cleared the ice up north around 6am Californian headed down the western edge of the ice toward the Mount Temple. If Moore saw Californian crossing the ice, as claimed, then Californian had to have seen Mount Temple to her south. According to Stone, there were only three vessels in sight that morning when he came on deck. He didn't name them, but we know that there was Mount Temple (yellow funnel), Carpathia (red funnel with black bands) and this small 2-masted steamer (black funnel with white band).
Get your facts right, Sam,
She cleared the ice at 6-30am and before that was trying to maintain a course of S16W. --almost up an down the way - not across. And it was Groves who saw the ships on either bow just before 7 am when he came onto the bridge. He also said there was ship 5 miles away on the port beam.
If we were to believe you and Californian did follow the western edge of the ice barrier - since you promoted a different shape for the ice barrier,-she would have been heading SE .
Even if she did do that, why on earth would she do so? Initially. she was not heading for a "target" but for a DR position. Only when he saw what looked like two vessels close to each other to the southward would he have turned for a "target". At the same time he would send for his W/O and get him to send out a CQ call to see if he could get a position for the vessels ahead. Durrant would go tot he bridge and get the necessary information, return to the wireless room and transmit the answer Californian passed Mount Temple 20 minutes later.
As for Moore seeing Californian crossing the ice. How did he do that if Lord was attempting to steer S16W. ? i.e. at a very narrow angle to anyone looking from the south.
Stewart would not have been on the bridge until he had completed making the ship ready to receive survivors... that is the C/Os job. It follows that only after they had passed the Mount Temple would he have been back on the bridge and at that time, they were closing with the west side of the ice
 

Jim Currie

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Hi Jim,
I would like to ask you a question with your years experience as a qualified seaman.
If the third officers Charles Groves on Californian could see the Titanic 5-7 miles away on a clear night, and we know the lights did not go out. Would it be a fair question with a pair binoculars or glasses what can one actually see? Taking in account Groves himself was a seamen. Did they or not have night sight binoculars?
Hello Mike,

Groves said he saw his ship approaching from the south when it was 12 miles away at 1-10 pm and stopped when it was 6 or 7 miles away at 11-40pm. That means it was on a northerly course for half an hour and covered a distance of about 6 miles.
Titanic was never on a northerly course and certainly not for half an hour, Groves did not, see Titanic.
At 3 or 4 miles on such a night, with a good pair of ordinary binoculars... not night glasses, he should have been been able to see individuals opening accommodation doors i.e. the alleyway lights being seen when the door opened.
 

Jim Currie

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I thought you would like my video:D

Could you please elaborate more about “nonsense”. I mean how Captain Currie would determine the distance to lights if nothing else is seen?
It is very simple, Mila, and if you had read other post i have written you would understand. One mo' time.

First: How do you think a Navigator estimates distance at night or day?

Answer: By reference to the horizon - he know the exact distance it is away from his ship. In the case of those on Californian's upper bridge -8.5 miles
ranges for Mila.png
 

Mila

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It is very simple, Mila, and if you had read other post i have written you would understand. One mo' time.

First: How do you think a Navigator estimates distance at night or day?

Answer: By reference to the horizon - he know the exact distance it is away from his ship. In the case of those on Californian's upper bridge -8.5 miles
View attachment 75236
Jim, in the last situation, #3 in your sketches, the sidelight and some other lights would be outlined by the ocean, and not by sky. Am I right? How one could tell the distance in such situation? Another question. The estimation probably depends on height of the lights. So, let us say that Lord thought he was looking at a small steamer. The lights were relatively high because he actually was looking at the Titanic. That is why he and others underestimated the distance. Is this possible, and if not, why not?

Another question. When sailors of old needed to get their stellar position they did it during twilight, when the horizon is still visible. A few eyewitnesses, including Lord, testified that it was hard to tell where the sky ended and the ocean began. How are you could be so sure that the horizon was visible?
 

Mila

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Absolute nonsense. Mila.
So, Jim, I am taking the lack of your response to my post as a silent admission that I am right, and it is impossible to tell the distance to lights at night, and that it was you and not me who was telling nonsense, when alleging otherwise.
 

Jim Currie

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So, Jim, I am taking the lack of your response to my post as a silent admission that I am right, and it is impossible to tell the distance to lights at night, and that it was you and not me who was telling nonsense, when alleging otherwise.
You took it wrong., Mila. I had better things to do than answer your posts which do not make sense but I will do so now.

You like science so here is some for you... the optical kind.

When a human has nothing to look at the eyes automatically focus level. That "level" is the visible (or invisible) horizon. i.e. staring off into space.
On a dark, clear, moonless night, the sky and sea are not exactly the same shade of darkness. The sky is always slightly lighter. You would not be able to see a clear horizon with the naked eye but your eyes at rest, automatically focus exactly on it/ However, if you have a reasonable pair of binoculars, you can "See the stars setting down to the horizon." You have to SEE a horizon to be able to see stars setting below it, Mila. It's not rocket science.
Incidentally at evening and dawn sights, we used our star telescopes. All sextants had at least 2 of these. They were grid- sighted. Later versions had a single, wide view telescope. You cannot take accurate star sights without one. Believe me I have taken more star sights than you have had hot dinners.

My sketches were to demonstrate how the horizon is used by a mariner to guage the distance... not works of scientific exactitude. Since your knowledge seems very limited. perhaps a picture would best demonstrate?
th (2).jpg

Still not what you want but imagine it is a dark, clear night.

I have told you this before but you either forgot or ignored it -
Back in the fifties when radar was not as advanced as it is today, we would not have the radar on all the time. It was not permitted. We just used it to check for our manual distances or for vessels farther than our maximum visibility range. There was no fancy radar plotting. 99% of the time we estimated distance then occasionally checked it by radar. Most times we were accurate to within half a mile.
There is little point in us progressing this Mila, It is hard to debate with a bee... more so in a bonnet.
Have a nice day and stay safe.
 
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She cleared the ice at 6-30am and before that was trying to maintain a course of S16W. --almost up an down the way - not across.
Why, because Lord said so? Do the math. If the ice was trending north to south as claimed, and he was going S16W for 2 to 3 miles before clearing it as claimed, then the ice was about 3/10 as wide as it was long, or 1/2 to 4/5 miles wide up there. I'd take the shortest path to clear water on the other side in that case, unless I could travel under the ice on straight path to the reported position. But that requires a submarine. :eek:
1610919091196.png
 
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Mike Spooner

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Hi Jim, Can you please help me and may answers some of my questions, with the Charles Groves statements in the British inquiry.
8384. You said when you first saw the ship she appeared to be about 10 miles from you? - Ten to twelve, I said.
Question: At about 10-12 miles what would see? Or is it possible to see any lights? As under the following questions we have these answers.
8419. What is the average range of an ordinary ship’s sidelight? - Two miles.
8420. And the masthead light? - Five miles; that is the distance they are supposed to show.
8421. They do show a little further on a clear night? - Yes.
8385. When she came to a stop what was the distance? - Well, I should think about five to seven miles.
Question: Is it possible to see masthead lights at 7 miles?
8386. In the relative positions of your ship and this ship which you saw, would any person from her see your starboard light and one masthead light? - When she first stopped he could not have seen it before I left the bridge.
Question: Is it possible to see the starboard green light at 5-7 miles away?
8387. In the position to which you had swung round, just at the time you were leaving the bridge, if any person from that ship or from a boat lower down saw you, would they have seen the light you were showing then, your red starboard light? - It is a green light.
8388. I beg your pardon - your green light? - Yes.
8389. And the white masthead light? - They would have been able to have seen it from the ship undoubtedly, but as to a boat I am rather doubtful.
Question: How many miles is he talking about here?
Now I find this rather confusing what is they talking about and why has the 30-33 miles subject has come up now?
8435. Do you know your course? - At 10.30 we altered the course to N 60° W by compass.
8436. If the “Titanic” was in latitude 41° 33’, which is the position she has given, and the position in which the wreckage was found, and your vessel was, as stated in the log, in latitude 42° 5’, the “Titanic” would be some 33 miles to the southward of the position where you were lying stopped? - If she stopped in 41° 33’ and we were in 42° 5.’
8437. Yes? - Yes, about 30 miles.
8438. And if the “Titanic” was 30 miles to the southward of the position where you were stopped, I do not suppose you could see any navigation lights at that distance? - No, none
8440. If this vessel which you did see was only some 4 or 5 miles to the southward of you, do you think she could have been the “Titanic”?
8441. (The Commissioner.) That is a question I want this witness to answer. (To the Witness.) Speaking as an experienced seaman and knowing what you do know now, do you think that steamer that you know was throwing up rockets, and that you say was a passenger steamer, was the “Titanic”? - Do I think it?
8442. Yes? - From what I have heard subsequently?
8443. Yes? - Most decidedly I do, but I do not put myself as being an experienced man.
8444. But that is your opinion as far as your experience goes? - Yes it is my Lord.
Mr. Robertson Dunlop: That would indicate that the “Titanic” was only 4 or 5 miles to the southward of the position in which you were when stopped.
The Commissioner: If his judgment on the matter is true it shows that those figures, latitudes and longitudes that you are referring to are not accurate. That is all it shows.
Mr. Robertson Dunlop: The accuracy we will deal with, my Lord.
The Commissioner: I mean to say, if what he says is right, it follows that the figures must be wrong.
8445. (Mr. Robertson Dunlop.) You will appreciate, Mr. Groves, that if the latitudes are right it follows that your opinion must be wrong? - If the latitudes are right, then of course I am wrong.
8446. If the latitude of your ship and that of the “Titanic” are anything approximately right, it follows that the vessel which you saw could not have been the “Titanic”? - Certainly not.
Question: Who is right or wrong here?
 

Jim Currie

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Why, because Lord said so? Do the math. If the ice was trending north to south as claimed, and he was going S16W for 2 to 3 miles before clearing it as claimed, then the ice was about 3/10 as wide as it was long, or 1/2 to 4/5 miles wide up there. I'd take the shortest path to clear water on the other side in that case, unless I could travel under the ice on straight path to the reported position. But that requires a submarine. :eek:
The ice was trending NNE-SSW at the location of the Calefornian, Sam. The ice reports of the Trautenfels and the Mesaba tell you that if you care to plot them. Trautenfels met it at 42-01'N.. 50-05'W...4 miles sout and a mile east of where Californian met it 16 hurs later? Mesaba had it stretching across his bow from NW to south when he was at 50 W. That was 8 hours before Californian met it. The Mesba Plot also tells you where it was trending north -south. Lord did not alter his course more southerly until he spotted the Mount Temple. - he had no reason for doing so.

As for transiting pack ice ... you're an authority on that too.. eh?
Let me tell you... what Lord described was a ship pushing her way through tabular floes... crossing a barrier about 2 miles wide at an angle while trying to maintain a course. He would probably have had to alter right and left and almost come to a halt during that time. Stewart tells you they went ahead dead slow. That would not have been much more than four knots.
transit.jpg

Not only that, but when the crew were called is also a clue as to when the ship cleared th ice... read the evidence of Groves When he was called she had a good speed on her.

You seem to have a caught the Mila virus, Sam. :D:D:D
 

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