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How Far South did the Titanic Reach?

Discussion in 'General Titanica' started by Aaron_2016, Sep 10, 2016.

  1. Aaron_2016

    Aaron_2016 Member

    I think Boxhall gave the wrong position because he assumed the ship was still facing west during the evacuation. He was unaware she had turned north and continued to steam slow ahead for some time. However his CQD position is still further north and west of the actual wreck site where the Titanic sank. Tracking the ship's course backwards it seems to me the Titanic was much further south before she met the iceberg and then she turned north and steamed up to the spot where she sank. Does anyone know how far south she might have been before she turned north and why Boxhall was unaware the ship had previously changed course and had moved further south before the collision?


    The officers and the lookouts were keeping a close watch for any ice. I think an officer must have popped in and asked Jack Phillips to listen for any more ice reports and to let them know at once. The Californian alerted the Titanic twice before the collision. Evans - The wireless operator on the Californian - was confident that Phillips had received his last message. I wonder if Phillips sent it to the bridge and as a direct result they immediately changed course and moved further south just before the collision. Harold Bride said "Phillips had finished working with Cape Race 10 minutes before the collision with the iceberg. He made mention of the fact when I turned out." So he might have informed the bridge before the collision that the Californian had stopped and was surrounded by ice.

    Bride also told the Inquiry:

    "I had a glance at the log for that evening as I was writing it up at the time of the disaster. But I can not recollect any communication with the Californian having been noted down."
    Q - The Californian's log shows, that they sent that message to the Titanic at 11.15 ship's time, or 10 o'clock New York time.
    A - I may have overlooked it.
    Q - If you had heard such a message as that you would have regarded it as important, would you not?
    A - I should have taken it myself; yes, sir. - (Take it immediately to the bridge?)

    Last edited: Sep 10, 2016
  2. You'd make a great fiction writer Aaron. There are enough of those on this site to begin with. There was no course change since the last which took place at 5:50pm to put the ship on a course toward a point south of the Nantuckett lightship. There is zero evidence to show otherwise.
  3. It is wrong to say there is "zero evidence" of a course alteration after turning "The Corner" that night.

    There is plenty of evidence in Boxhall's testimony, Hichens testimony, the ordinary conduct of White Star ships, and the iron on the bottom to show that Titanic did, in fact, alter course at least once after turning the corner. And, of course, from accepting the clock setback. I've demonstrated all of these here on other threads and elsewhere in my "Titanic Myths" book.. Everyone is free to believe anything they choose. They are not, however, free to decide what is fact and what is not based on their preconceived beliefs.

    Without going into details here, the wreck of Titanic is south of the ships original track line from "The Corner." The two sets of distress coordinates are both south of that that intended track. A line between the two distress coordinates does cross the intended track at 11 hours 30 minutes after noon, Sunday, April 14th for Titanic using Boxhall's 22 knot speed. These are facts, not suppositions or beliefs. More sophisticated analysis of current/windage triangles produces an impossible eastward current if it is assumed ship made no course alteration. With the course alteration, however, the current triangle shows a westerly component as has been observed in the area for as long as men have been sailing the North Atlantic.

    Wind-powered sailors know that the vessel's course is not likely to be directly for its destination. Tacking is often necessary to go upwind and may even speed a downwind slog. The key to a fast passage is VMG ("velocity made good") toward the destination. If you cannot steer straight to the destination (100% VMG), then you steer left or right at the shallowest possible angle to preserve as much VMG as possible. Titanic's apparent course alterations were small, a point or two, which preserved much of its VMG while creating what Captain Smith presumably though would be safe sea room around the ice.

    Aaron's questions still begs an answer. There is a big difference between a course change and an evasive maneuver. One message from one ship probably would not have caused Captain Smith to immediately alter course. He would have wanted a fuller picture of what he was facing before making any decision. Without that full picture, there would have been no reason to suppose that turning right would have been better than turning left, or going straight ahead. Murdoch as officer of the deck, however, would have been free to take any evasive action necessary for the safety of the ship before returning to the course ordered by the captain.

    -- David G. Brown
  4. Then sure you can exactly point us out where Boxhall and Hichens said that!
    Or is it again one of these claims like that Boxhall was by his own words on the stairs on B Deck when he saw the iceberg or that Captain Smith never told him to look for the carpenter and several other claims you have made up?!
  5. Aaron_2016

    Aaron_2016 Member

    The ship had a list to port on Sunday afternoon. If this had continued up to the collision could the port list force the ship off course as the rudder would be slightly tilted? If Hichens had kept the wheel straight would the action of the tilted rudder still take the ship further south? Would they have any idea they were moving off course?

    My understanding is that the lookouts both saw the haze / ice field in front of the ship. Fleet said it was "about 2 points on each side" and while he was waiting at the phone with his back to the iceberg trying to get a reply (he told Peuchen there was no reply) he was told by Lee that the ship was turning to port. Was Lee observing the course change just prior to the collision? Whether it was haze or ice I think if I was Murdoch and I saw it "about 2 points on each side" I would have taken a precautionary measure and turned the ship 2 points to port where it was clear. Hichens said the ship had successfully turned 2 points to port before she struck. Was it a simple course change and not an emergency order? The Californian saw the Titanic move "more to the south and west". Were they observing her course change? They saw her a significant time before the collision, and if they could see her, then perhaps Murdoch was observing them and trying to determine if they had stopped on account of the ice. Phillips had finished with Cape Race (according to Bride 10 minutes before the collision). Perhaps Murdoch asked Moody to check the wireless room and see what that ship was. Phillips would tell him the closest ship he heard was the Californian and she was stopped and currently surrounded by ice. Moody informs Murdoch and he now strongly believes the vessel he can see might be the Californian. Murdoch prepares to change course and when he sees the haze / ice field "about 2 points on each side" he immediately orders the ship to turn. According to Joseph Scarrot the bell rang and then "five or eight minutes" later he felt the collision. During that lengthy time the ship would turn slowly to port with a gentle swing (why scare the passengers) to move away from the haze / ice on the horizon. The ship turns slowly 2 points to port until the path ahead is clear. The Californian observes her moving "more to the south and west". Without knowing the Titanic is steering directly into the path of the iceberg, brushing against it on her starboard side.

    Last edited: Sep 10, 2016
  6. None of the above. After the ship struck the iceberg, exactly where Boxhall said it did, the ship's engines were restarted and it was turned around to head back to Harland & Wolff's, just like Phillips told Bride. It only got as far as 13 miles when the flooding forced them to stop the ship again. And that is where she sank. The reason Boxhall did not change the CQD position is that he was away looking for damage, and nobody told him that they were headed back after he returned. My proof is the position of the wreck site relative to Boxhall's CQD position. Those positions are hard, cold facts, not suppositions or beliefs.
  7. Now that makes perfect sense! The clocks had been put back before the collision (steaming west to New York) but after the collision when steaming east back to Belfast they had to put them forward again!
  8. Aaron_2016

    Aaron_2016 Member

    Steam back to Belfast? A little too far? Halifax was much closer. The wreck is facing a northerly direction and survivors saw the stern swing away from the iceberg as the ship turned north. They said they rowed northwards towards the lights of a ship that could be seen almost directly off Titanic's bow. (The Californian saw the Titanic facing northwards towards them). Survivors also said the northern lights appeared where the other ship was and they were confident it was north e.g. Major Peuchen "Directly north, I think it would be, because the northern lights appeared where this light we had been looking at in that direction appeared shortly afterwards." When they rowed towards the other ship, she began to steam away and they turned around and saw the Carpathia in the opposite direction which was southwards and they turned around "the boat swung round" and they rowed back the way they came down towards the Carpathia to the south. I think there is plenty of evidence to show the Titanic was facing a northerly direction. If they had any intention of steaming back to Belfast the Californian would have seen them turn around, but they saw her turn northwards towards them and stop.

    Last edited: Sep 11, 2016
  9. Alex F

    Alex F Member

    Good Idea. Was it possible for the Titanic to sail underwater as U-boat being pushed by current as Jim think?
    Iceberg manage somehow to drift underwater.
    Either the Titanic should be an icebreaker moving back from the position "exactly where Boxhall said it did".

    There was an icefield around as far as eye could see. The Mount Temple was unable to move through it, neither the California.

    Sam Boxhall said the Titanic was in half a mile from the point where she struck an icefield.

    I was not possible for the experienced navigator - as Boxhall was - not to feel that the Titanic was under full speed for half an hour to cover 13 miles back, trembling, thrilling and growling...

    Last edited: Sep 11, 2016
  10. George Jacub

    George Jacub Member

    How Far South Was The Iceberg That Holed The Titanic?

    The Sunday Morning Star
    Wilmington, Delaware
    April 28, 1912
    The Titanic's Position
    It will probably surprise most persons to know how far south the Titanic was when it encountered the iceberg that gave the steamship its death blow. The location of the boat given by the wireless call for help was 41:46 north and 50:14 west. A reference to the map will show that this point is south of all the New England states. A map of Europe will show the location of the Titanic when it went down ever more strikingly. The ship sailed from Southampton, England, in latitude about 50 north, and she was at least 9 degrees, or about 600 statute miles, south of that latitude when she struck the iceberg. She was in a latitude not only far south of the English channel, but farther south than any part of Germany, France, or Austria. She was about the same latitude as Rome and Constantinople. The Riviera, where many Europeans and Americans go to find a mild winter climate is farther north than was the Titanic when she ran into the ice field.
    In fact the Titanic was in the same latitude as the Adriatic Sea and the northern part of the Mediterranean. She was not more than 100 miles north of the Azores, which is on the southernmost course across the Atlantic, even for ships bound for the Mediterranean. If a line was drawn from New York City to Madrid, Spain, that line would pass near the point where the Titanic sank in a great field of ice. All reports show that the ice field was fast moving south.
    These facts raise and interesting question: How far south would the Titanic have had to go to have escaped the ice?
  11. The iron on the bottom does not lie. It speaks to where Titanic foundered. In particularly, the single-ended boilers which would have drifted very little in sub-surface currents after they broke free during the breakup. Undoubtedly, the intact wreck did move with the surface currents prior to the breakup, so the exact spot of where the ship stopped for the last time was close to, but not exactly the lat/lon of the boilers.

    Both sets of distress signal lat/lons are too far off from where the boiler field to be acceptable under 1912 standards for accurate navigation. This discrepancy alone discounts them from being "accurate" or "exactly where the ship struck the iceberg." In 1912 given the weather conditions it would have been expected to fix the ship's position within a 3-mile or less circle. That's a radius of 1.5 miles or less -- too far to accommodate the differences between the wreck site and both sets of distress coordinates. No matter how they were created, those wireless lat/lons were wrong.

    The ship did not steam long enough or fast enough after impact on the iceberg to greatly affect any forensic reconstruction of events. We do not know the exact time or RPMs for the re-start. But, assume Olliver was correct about "half speed," and the ship steamed for 6 minutes or 1/10th of an hour. That would mean it made 0.1 x 11 knots which = 1.1 nautical miles from the impact. That distance still puts the ship within the circle of acceptable navigation using 1912 methods. Restarting the engines was not a good idea, but it didn't significantly complicate the computation of the ship's CQD location. So, the error in the lat/lons contained in the distress messages remains unquestioned.

    We can learn how the first distress lat/lon was created by simply predicting the longitude the ship would have been crossing 12 hours 47 minutes after noon on Sunday, April 14th. This would have been 00:00 o'clock -- 'midnight" -- marking the start of April 15th. That longitude using 1912 practices would have been 50 24 W, or exactly the longitude of Titanic's first distress call. Circumstantial evidence is that Captain Smith gave the predicted location of Titanic at 00:00 o'clock April 15th to the wireless for the ship's first CQD messages. Boxhall was off the bridge at the time, so could not have done it while the Captain is known to have passed through the wireless office at the appropriate time.

    Boxhall's so-called "corrected" CQD lat/lon is nothing more than backing up the ship's track by 20 minutes on the reciprocal of 255, or 075 degrees. The distance is too precise to conclude otherwise. It is exactly 20 minutes of steaming at 22 knots "up track" from the ship's predicted midnight location. No matter how he says he got his CQD position, Boxhall did nothing more than calculate Titanic's predicted location 20 minutes prior to midnight using April 15th time. So, his lat/lon was not for the accident, but for minus 11:40 o'clock, Monday, April 15th -- which was a date and time that never existed for Titanic.

    The line of 255/075 if taken back to the ship's intended track of 266 from "The Corner" crosses at the ship's dead reckoning position for 11 hours 30 minutes after noon, April 14th. This is a significant time because it coincides perfectly with IMM/White Star regulations and the best practices of 1912 navigators to check their steering compasses against their standard compasses every half hour. The full detail of men necessary to make a course change (quartermaster and officer on the standard compass platform; quartermaster and officer in wheelhouse) would have been in position for this compass check. They were also the men needed to make a course change. The efficiency of making a course change at the same time of a compass check is obvious enough not to need further discussion.

    Titanic's own CQD lat/lons coupled with the know course and speed from "The Corner" combine to prove the ship made a one-point (11 degree) turn to port at 11 hours 30 minutes after noon, April 14th.

    The ship was heading 255 immediately prior to the accident. Using 22 knots and that heading, the most probable position for impact on the iceberg would have been 41 48 N; 50 04 W. This impact lat/lon lies north and west of the wreck site as defined by the boiler field, producing a current/windage set (navigator speak for direction of a current) of southeast. The distance of under 7 miles must be divided by the time since the last fix which in this case should be Lightoller's 7:30 stars. That fix was not recovered in testimony, so we are forced to go back to the turning of "The Corner" a bit more than 6 hours earlier. This yields a drift (speed) of a not or less. The combined set and drift are quite believable for the weather encountered that day and the area of the accident.

    We have evidence that the bridge crew expected to see ice sometime after 11 p.m. that evening. Given that the bridge routine was governed by unaltered April 14th hours, we can reasonably assume they anticipated ice after the 11 p.m. compass check and before the 11:30 compass evolution. Nobody noted the exact time when the lookouts saw that "haze" across the ship's track. There being no meteorological haze that night, Fleet and Lee must have deliberately used the word "haze" to obfuscate reality. What they saw was the ice field.. All of this circumstantial evidence gives motivation for the hard evidence that Titanic turned south by one compass point (11 degrees) at 11:30 in April 14th time. Captain Smith was attempting to avoid the ice he knew lay across the ship's path from wireless reports and which could now be seen visually.

    -- David G. Brown
  12. Rob Lawes

    Rob Lawes Member

    A problem I have with your theory David is that QM's Oliver and Hitchens, Boxhall and the lookouts Fleet and Lee would all have known of this course correction and said nothing about it at either inquiry.

    Which sounds better to any investigation "we became aware of a haze sir, fearing it may have been ice the Captain ordered the ship to come around to port to open the distance. It was jjust bad luck it extended further south than any one knew"


    "We saw a haze, did nothing then at the last minute spotted the berg and had no time to svoid it"

    Why hide a course change designed to increase the safety of the ship. The fact it didn't doesn't mean the bridgr team didn't try.

    To omit the information just makes them look less competent.
  13. George, on the serious side, the answer comes from Rostron's April 15th 4pm NTY message to Haddock:
    "South point pack ice 41.16 north. Don't attempt to go north until 49.30 west. Many bergs. large and small, amongst pack. Also for many miles to eastward."
  14. Aaron_2016

    Aaron_2016 Member

    The Inquiry would say their safety measure was too little too late. They would also have admitted that they saw the ice ahead and did not slacken speed. It would lead a strong case of negligence against the company. Imagine the questions asked: Did you see the ice field ahead? Yes, sir. Did you stop? No, sir. Did you slacken your speed? No, sir. Did you turn the wheel hard over and get out of there? No,sir. What did you do then? We saw the ice was well to the northward and passed across our bows, so we changed course around seven bells and turned about 1 point across to port, and seeing the sea was open and clear, we maintained full speed ahead. - If they admitted that, it would have destroyed the company.

    Looking at the key witnesses. Lookout Lee did not even attend the American Inquiry which is suspicious. Fleet said he had his back to the iceberg because he was waiting to get a reply on the telephone. He refused to give a clear answer to the most important questions e.g. When he was asked how soon he saw the iceberg before the collision and if he saw it 1 hour before or just 1 minute before. He just kept saying "I have no idea, sir". Boxhall was called but did not appear until the 3rd day due to poor health and needed time to recover (or be debriefed by White Star officials on exactly what to say after Lightoller gave his evidence so that his would match properly?). That only leaves Olliver and Hichens. Olliver gave damning evidence at the American Inquiry i.e. He heard the order hard a-Port and Half speed ahead. His evidence was naturally dismissed by the British Inquiry and he was not even called to give evidence in England. They clearly just didn't want to report officially what really happened. That leaves Hichens. He was in the same lifeboat with Fleet so one can guess they spoke to each other and backed up each other's story. i.e. Both said Moody answered the phone, yet Fleet told Peuchen in the lifeboat that nobody answered the phone, and Olliver and Boxhall saw nobody answer the phone and neither of them heard Moody tell (yell) iceberg right ahead sir to Murdoch. Only Hichens heard it. My guess is they were already passing icebergs before the collision. The idea of meeting one 'by surprise' would have saved the reputation and stopped the legal threats against the company because the official report cleared them of blame. Admitting they saw ice and the icefield before the collision and still maintained full speed would have cost all of those men their jobs.

  15. To answer Rob's post above, it's obvious that the bridge team all knew more than what they included in their testimonies. This is not surprising. Official inquiries are designed to pin blame and not to improve public safety. You learn quickly not to volunteer information because what you say will often come back to "bite" you. (Personal experience in a U.S. Coast Guard inquiry.)

    Motives are more critical in understanding history than the usual facts -- dates, times, places, etc. Yet, we never really know motives because they exist only inside a single person's head. Even if someone admits a motive there is always uncertainty that the admission was fully accurate. One thing we all know is the desire to cover our mistakes. Was that the motive? Sunken ship and more than 1,500 victims is hardly something that can be swept under the rug. So, it's unlikely anyone was trying to hide the outcome of the night. But self-preservation is something altogether different. Jobs and careers were at stake. One slip of the tongue could cost a man his career that he had spent most of a working lifetime acquiring. Motive enough? We can only speculate.

    But, our speculation should not be limited to the bridge team. There are so many oddities and obfuscations surrounding the Titanic sinking. Why did stories of the ship steaming for Halifax surface on both sides of the Atlantic before the truth of the sinking was known? What about that message allegedly from Phillips to his family? Why was Bride offered so much money to keep his mouth shut? How could Boxhall have heard Murdoch's report to Captain Smith when his duties forced him to be off the bridge? Why did Boxhall say he didn't see the accident, then describe it in vivid detail? Why was Olliver overlooked when he testified to the "hard a-port" helm order? Why was crew time used for the famous 11:40 o'clock time of the accident when the voyage was still being conducted on unaltered April 14th time? Why didn't somebody investigate why Barrett claimed to be forced out of a boiler room by catastrophic flooding when another survivor of that same compartment never saw any such thing and remained at his station for 20 minutes after impact? Why did the ship send two sets of distress coordinates? Why was the second (allegedly corrected) set of coordinates so far off? Why did Captain Smith begin evacuating his ship so early when it was designed to float long enough for help to arrive? Why did Titanic's compartmentalization and bilge pump system fail so miserably? Why did the official inquiries dismiss the breakup when about half the people interviewed describe what we know actually took place? Why did Lightoller and Ismay work so hard aboard Carpathia to get the surviving crew members out of the United States as quickly as possible? Why did the British inquiry libel Captain Lord? What happened to Moody after he was interviewed by a reporter in New York? And so it goes.

    Please, I'm not a "Titanic Truther." I don't believe there was any dark conspiracy, switched ships, or anything of the sort. But I do think there were some deliberate efforts to confuse what actually took place that night in order to hide some unpleasant truths. Why else would so many mysteries surround what is allegedly just a simple case of run-down-an-iceberg-and-sink?. Why so many mysteries?

    -- David G. Brown
  16. I think there were some deliberate efforts to protect oneself from being blamed for one thing or another. The seeing "haze" thing from the nest being an obvious example. But when it comes to a deliberate effort to hide something, usually that manifests itself in inconsistencies in people's testimonies, or when different people say exactly the same thing almost word for word. That's why you cannot simply trust what people say without a way to verify it somehow.
  17. Aaron_2016

    Aaron_2016 Member

    I think having the benefit of a third party present is a great way to distinguish the truth from supposition. If the Californian was observing the Titanic then their testimony would certainly clarify the time and position the Titanic was at various times when they saw her turn north towards them and stop. It gives us a picture of what was happening on the Titanic before the order was called to abandon ship. I wonder if they were trying to steam towards the Californian and the CQD position they gave was perhaps the position they were intending to steam towards but they had to stop because the water was rapidly coming in, or quite possibly (according to reports) they encountered another iceberg in their path.

    Last edited: Sep 12, 2016
  18. The problem Aaron is that there are a number of people who believe that Californian never saw Titanic, and vise versa. You know, its the claim that there were at least two mystery ships on the scene, one which Californian observed, and the other which Titanic observed. Then there is the time of events that were scene. 3/O Groves said that he went down to speak to Capt. Lord around 11:30 (Californian time) after seeing this steamer come up from abaft their starboard beam. By 11:40 their time, Groves noted that the steamer was stopped. In other words, the bearing to the steamer did not change and was then almost right on the starboard beam. Capt. Lord would only say that he noticed this steamer had stopped about 11:30pm. Both Groves and Lord saw this steamer together around 11:45 when Lord came up to the upper bridge himself to have a closer look. Later, around 12:45, 2/O stone saw his 1st of 8 white rockets, the last of which Stone estimated was around 1:40am. The lights of this steamer disappeared from view at 2:05am by the wheelhouse clock according to Apprentice Gibson, who witness the last 3 of those 8 rockets along with Stone. About 3:20am the 1st of 3 additional rockets were seen by Stone and Gibson, but no ship could be seen.

    Californian clocks were 3 hours and 10 minutes behind GMT, or 1 hour 50 minutes ahead of mean time in NY. Unaltered Titanic time for April 14th was 2 hours 58 minutes behind GMT, or 2 hours and 2 minutes ahead of NY. That means that time on Titanic was 12 minutes ahead of Californian time.

    Converting Californian times from above to Titanic times, we have:
    Steamer seen approaching from abaft Californian's beam about 11:42pm
    Steamer not moving by 11:52pm
    Lord and Grove looking at steamer together from upper bridge at 11:57pm
    1st rocket seen by Stone about 12:57pm
    Last rocket seen by Stone about 1:52am
    Lights of steamer disappear 2:17am based on Californian's wheelhouse clock time of 2:05.
    1st of 3 additional rockets seen at 3:32am

    Have fun with it.
  19. Alex F

    Alex F Member

    ...and verification of the corner point were "brilliant" stellar observations afterwards.

    If Boxhall said (afterwards) that the Titanic passed the corner 23-50 minutes before 05:50 it means the stellar observations confirmed (verified) his point of view, doesn't it?

  20. Aaron_2016

    Aaron_2016 Member

    Wasn't that about the time the Carpathia began firing rockets? She was a few miles further south and this made the crew on the Californian mistakenly believe the original steamer had just moved south and was continuing to fire more rockets. The Californian then moved west through the icefield at daybreak. Also at daybreak the Mount Temple saw the Carpathia to the east and also the Californian to the north of the Carpathia and they watched the Californian still moving west through the icefield, so there is (in my opinion) no doubt that the Californian was close to the Carpathia and therefore much closer to the Titanic. So close that Boxhall said "you could see the lights in her portholes." The survivors watched the Californian slowly swing round and show her stern light, which she did, and then she steamed west just as the Carpathia was approaching from the south, which made everyone in the lifeboats turn around and row the opposite way towards the Carpathia. Captain Rostron actually saw the Californian that night. He said:

    "We saw masthead lights quite distinctly of another steamer between us and the Titanic. That was about quarter-past three.....and one of the officers swore he also saw one of the sidelights. The port sidelight. About 2 points on the starboard bow. On my starboard bow; that would be about N. 30, W. true."

    Last edited: Sep 13, 2016