How Far South did the Titanic Reach?

Jim Currie

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And here is where things differ, in the assumptions made and the logic used to support those assumptions.
The facts are simple enough:
We all seem to agree,
1. The vessel travelled 1549 miles by noon on the 14th since departing Queenstown.
2. The ship ran 260 miles by log from noon to the time of collision.
3. The ship ran about 45 miles between 8 and 10pm earlier that night.
4. The ship sank at 41° 43.5'N,49° 56.8'W.
5. The CQD positions of Boxhall and Capt. Smith were both too far west of the wreck site, the first about 13 miles and the second about 20 miles.
All else is the application of assumption and logic based on what survivors reported.
The sources of the information in your list from 1 to 5 is entirely based on what survivors However, it is not complete. My list looks like the following. I have included sources.

1. The vessel travelled 1549 miles by noon on the 14th since departing Queenstown. (Pitman)
2. The vessel slowed down to 20.95 knots for a period between Noon April 14 and 8 pm April 14. (Lowe)
3. The vessel increased her speed to 22 knots after 7-30 pm sights. (Boxhall)
4. The ship ran 260 miles by log from noon to the time of collision. (QM Rowe)
5. The ship ran about 45 miles between 8 and 10pm earlier that night.(QM Hichens)
6. The CQD positions of Boxhall and Capt. Smith were both too far west of the wreck site, the first about 13 miles and the second about 20 miles. (Boxhall and PV Mount Temple).
7. No. 4. The ship sank at 41° 43.5'N,49° 56.8'W." (Discovery of the wreck site).


Evidence verification:

5th Officer Lowe clearly stated the following in his evidence:

"Senator SMITH.:.. before you could obtain this position, did you first have to ascertain the speed of the ship?
Mr. LOWE: You are speaking of the 8 o'clock position, sir?
Senator SMITH: Yes.
Mr. LOWE: Her speed from noon until we turned the corner was just a fraction under 21 knots.
Senator SMITH: And you are able to say that the speed at that time was 21 knots?
Mr. LOWE: Twenty-one knots or under; it was really 20.95, about. If the speed had been increased or reduced during the interval when I was off duty, I would have been informed of it."

Lowe was was asked the ship's speed and he gave it, therefore it is sworn evidence of ship speed that has to be given proper consideration in exactly the same way as any other sworn evidence.
By the same token, Boxhall was asked what speed he used to calculate his DR distress position. Like Lowe, he gave a speed and qualified his choice because he thought the prevailing conditions would reduce slip, and said so. That too has to be subjected to close scrutiny.

" taking into consideration that it was smooth water and that there ought to have been a minimum of slip, I allowed 22 knots."
 
Mar 12, 2011
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The problem for me is that testimony contradicts the evidence in many details here.
Boxhall states he allowed 22 knots when he worked up his distress position. However, his distress position requires a speed of almost 25 knots from The Corner if my math is right (approx. 144.6 miles from The Corner / 5h50m run time) It also requires the ship to run much further over the ground than the patent log had registered through the water. Smith's is even more ridiculous. I hadn't investigated this topic very much previously, but I'm a little baffled that nobody caught this mistake back then. The data available in 1912 gets you pretty close to the actual wreck location if you don't screw up while doing the math.

It's the same with the slow down before turning the corner. Any speed or distance you lose before turning the corner has to be made up in order to get Titanic to the wreck site. Granted that it's a small fraction if the distance is only some 4-5 miles to be made up.

In any case, the testimony and the numbers don't add up to me, and I don't yet have a theory to explain the discrepancy.
 

Jim Currie

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The problem for me is that testimony contradicts the evidence in many details here.
Boxhall states he allowed 22 knots when he worked up his distress position. However, his distress position requires a speed of almost 25 knots from The Corner if my math is right (approx. 144.6 miles from The Corner / 5h50m run time) It also requires the ship to run much further over the ground than the patent log had registered through the water. Smith's is even more ridiculous. I hadn't investigated this topic very much previously, but I'm a little baffled that nobody caught this mistake back then. The data available in 1912 gets you pretty close to the actual wreck location if you don't screw up while doing the math.

It's the same with the slow down before turning the corner. Any speed or distance you lose before turning the corner has to be made up in order to get Titanic to the wreck site. Granted that it's a small fraction if the distance is only some 4-5 miles to be made up.

In any case, the testimony and the numbers don't add up to me, and I don't yet have a theory to explain the discrepancy.
Hello Michael.

I add to Sam's list the testimony that Titanic slowed down.

Boxhall's main mistake was to guess at a speed rather than consult the latest Patent Log reading. However, speed is only one argument in calculating a position, the element of time is equally important. We do not know the initial time he used. We know it was the time of 7-30 pm sights but these sights were actually taken between 7-35 and 7-40 pm, perhaps even later than that. Boxhall also stated that he used an end time f 11-46 pm. This, despite the overwhelming evidence that the impact time was 11-40 pm. Since he was calculating a spot to which rescue vessel should head, it is probable that he calculated where Titanic was when she finally stopped... not when she hit the iceberg.
So without considering a clock change we already have a minimum and maximum lapsed time of between 4 hours dead and 4 hours 11 minutes.
Now consider the lapsed time choice if the clocks had been set back 24 minutes before impact. For this we have to add 24 minutes to the original lapsed times. shown in the previous paragraph.
Now we now have a choice between 4 hours 24 minutes and 4 hours 35 minutes. But we're not finished yet.
Consider the possibility that Boxhall thought the recorded final time was uncorrected and added another 24 minutes. We must remember that when Boxhall went to make his calculation, it was a time of high anxiety, a time when everyone else was engaged in preparing boats. He therefore did not have anyone to consult with anyone, in particular, his assistant 6th Officer Moody If that did happen, then we now have a choice of lapsed times between 4 hours 48 minutes and 4 hours 59 minutes.

So to recap. In attempting to discover how Boxhall arrived at his erroneous distress position, we mus consider the following lapsed times in conjunction with a speed of 22 knots:

A. Between 4 hours dead and 4 hours 11 minutes.

B. Between 4 hours 24 minutes and 4 hours 35 minutes.

C Between 4 hours 48 minutes and 4 hours 59 minutes.

Rounding up or down as necessary, the distances commensurate with the foregoing are as follows:

A Between 88 miles and 92 miles.

B. Between 97 miles and 101 miles.

C. Between 105.5 miles and 110 miles.

For myself, I believe that Boxhall worked his run to 11-40 pm ship then added an extra 1 minute of longitude to the longitude of his calculated impact position to get 50-14'West This means that his impact longitude was 50-13 minutes west.
I also believe that Titanic averaged just over 21 knots from Noon that day and the patent log read near to 162 at the time of sights. If so, then taking situation C above and adding the run of 110 miles to the 162 Log reading we get a log reading of 272 miles. 272 miles would have been the Patent Log the reading, had Titanic actually reached Boxhall's impact position. However, that position was 12 miles west of where Titanic hit the iceberg and the Patent Log reading then was 260 miles.

No doubt Sam'll tear this to ribbons, Michael but it might help you to form an opinion of your own.
 
Mar 22, 2003
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Let's not confuse what is said by someone in evidence as fact. In my list in post #360, I listed No. 1, 2 and 3 as facts. Perhaps I should have said that they are believed to be true, not fact, for the following reasons:

1. The vessel travelled 1549 miles by noon on the 14th since departing Queenstown.
I believe the distances traveled per day listed in the Pitman memo are correct only because there are other sources that confirm the mileage runs for all three days. Confirmation of the run for Day-1 of 484 miles comes from testimony of J. Bruce Ismay. Confirmation of the run for Day-2 of 519 miles comes from Ismay and 2nd class passenger Lawrence Beesely. (In his book, The Loss of the SS Titanic, Beesley wrote that the purser had mentioned to him that the 519 mile run for that day was a disappointment.) Confirmation of the run for Day-3 of 546 miles comes from Ismay, and passengers Lawrence Beesley, Henry Stengel and Archibald Gracie.

2. The ship ran 260 miles by log from noon to the time of collision.
3. The ship ran about 45 miles between 8 and 10pm earlier that night.
I accept the log advance readings given by QMs Rowe and Hichens to be factual, realizing that they were rounded to the nearest mile. The two are fully consistent with the ship maintaining the same speed through the water from noontime Saturday, and the supporting evidence for that is testimony from several sources (Barrett, Hendrickson, Scott, Ismay, among others) that the ship was maintaining between 75-76 rpm all that time. From Olympic data provided by Edward Wilding, and accounting for the change in pitch of Titanic's propellers compared to Olympic's (from H&W supplied data), a model of Speed Vs. RPM indicates speeds through the water of 22.15 to 22.40 knots when carrying 75 to 76 rpm, respectively. The speed-made-good from LAN Saturday to LAN Sunday works out to 22.06 knots (by dividing 546 miles by 24h 45m, the time from LAN Sat to LAN Sun). This is about 0.2 knots slower than the average speed through the water based on the model.

The only true facts are:
4. The ship sank at 41° 43.5'N,49° 56.8'W.
5. The CQD positions attributed to 4/O Boxhall and Capt. Smith were both too far west of the wreck site, the first about 13 miles and the second about 20 miles.
The location of the wreck is a hard fact since its discovery in 1985. The coordinates are taken at the center of the boiler field. The two CQD coordinates are also fact since they were received and logged by multiple wireless stations. How they came about, however, is open to speculation.

Now what about other so called facts?

What is a fact is that 5/O Lowe said he used a speed of 20.95 knots to calculate the 8pm DR. He said he got that by taking the distance from noon to the corner and dividing it by the time from noon to the corner. That is what he said. But that does not mean that his speed of 20.95 knots was the actual speed of the ship during that time period. Lowe's speed calculation is easily obtained by dividing 125.7 miles by 6 hours, the interval of time that he happened to mention to Sen. Smith; not necessarily the interval from noon to when the ship turned. For the record, Lowe never said what time the ship actually turned the corner. There are only three people I believe that gave the time of the turn, Boxhall and Pitman, who both said 5:50pm, and QM Rowe, who mentioned 5:45pm.

A distance to the corner (rounded to the nearest mile) of 126 miles checks nicely with the 1549 miles run from Queenstown to noon of the 14th making the total run from Queenstown to the corner of 1675 miles. Comparing to data from previous voyages of Olympic over same route of travel, the 1675 miles for Titanic falls right in the range of 1674 to1677 for Olympic, and agrees perfectly with Olympic’s voyage No. 8 in Feb 1912 over that same route. Nowhere did Lowe say that he took the distance by log to get his 21 knots. The log only came up when he was challenged as to how accurate his speed was if he didn't use engine revolutions to get his speed for the 8pm DR workup. That was when he was asked if there were other means to get at the ship’s speed. The problem that I have with the assumption being made that he took the distance by log at 6pm to get his speed of 21 knots is that a run of 126 miles in 6 hours gives an average two-hour run by log of only 42 miles. Even if the ship’s speed made good had slowed somewhat because of a head current, the log would still show a distance through the water based on how fast the spinner was being pulled through the water by the ship, not how fast the body of water on the surface was moving relative to the sea bottom. For the revolutions carried, this two-hour distance through the water would have registered an advance between about 44.3 to 44.8 miles on the log, which is consistent with the observation of 45 miles between 8 and 10pm by QM Hichens. The wind and sea state as reported, moderate out of the north with moderate seas, would not have produced much of an adverse affect on the log mileage.

3/O Herbert Pitman was on duty the same times that Lowe was on duty. Yet Pitman gave evidence that the ship made about 21.5 knots all day Sunday and Sunday evening, and that it was the same speed that the ship made over the previous 24 hours. Pitman's testimony also happened to conflict with data that he himself supplied in a written memo that showed a speed of 22.1 knots over the previous 24-hour period, 0.6 knots greater than what he said it was. (He got 22.1 knots in his memo by dividing 546 miles by 24h 44m.)

Joseph Boxhall said he used a speed of 22 knots in his distress position workup. It has been quoted here that he said he assumed that speed because he noted that the sea was smooth and he assumed a minimum of slip, there he had to know that the speed was less than that before 7:30pm stars. The fact is that Boxhall never said anything about how fast he thought the ship was going prior to 7:30pm stars. In fact, he said he never depended on the patent log for the speed and gave consideration only to the revolutions being carried that was reported every 4 hours. Boxhall also said that during the previous watch, he considered the ship was away to the southward and westward of 42N, 47W when the course was altered at 5:50pm. He was unwilling to quantify how far away, only that it was enough that he had mentioned something to C/O Wilde between 4 and 6pm. To me, I cannot see how the ship could have gone beyond the corner if he assumed that the speed was less than 22 knots prior to the time of the turn.

A few more facts about what Boxhall said. Regarding his calculation of the distress position, he said he started from the 7:30pm celestial fix and took a course S86W true at 22 knots to 11:46pm. The course of S86W true was obtained after he took star bearings to check the compass deviation error. Lightoller also said that course reported to him was S86W true. Boxhall also testified at the Ryan trial in June 1913 where he said that at the time he went off watch at 6pm “there was little wind and the sea was smooth.” This seems to be consistent with lookout Jewell’s testimony that the wind was already dying down as the sun was going down. (Sunset in the region would have occurred at 6:50pm ship’s time near 42° 00’N, 47° 30’W.) Boxhall’s other testimony at the Ryan trial was fully consistent with what he said the year before in 1912.

From the testimony of both Lightoller and Boxhall it appears that they believed that the difference between ship’s time and GMT was 3h 27m at the times of collision and foundering. Ship’s time at the time of foundering, from both Pitman and Boxhall, was said to be 2:20am. From the testimony of QM Hichens we were told that the expected clock change that night was to be 23 minutes in one watch and 24 minutes in the other watch for a total adjustment of 47 minutes.

That's pretty much the information we have to work from.
 

Jim Currie

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Let's not confuse what is said by someone in evidence as fact. In my list in post #360, I listed No. 1, 2 and 3 as facts. Perhaps I should have said that they are believed to be true, not fact, for the following reasons:

I like to keep things simple and to the point; the point being that you reject the idea that Titanic slowed down between Noon April 14 and 8 pm that evening.

You caution "Let's not confuse what is said by someone in evidence as fact."

No one is doing that , Sam. Obviously the "someone" you have in mind is 5th officer Lowe.
However, by the same token, evidence should not be rejected out of hand without detailed consideration of all relevant, available evidence followed by full and final acceptance or rejection of said evidence. You have not done so. I will attemp to do so. I'll try and abbreviate.

I'm not sure what all that bit about Patent Logs and engine rpm is meant to convey but I can assure you it does not happen like that in practice. The words sea bottom bring shivers to the timbers of all practical navigators.

Historic performance by Titanic or any other vessel is interesting but is just that. It has no bearing on the debate.

As I see it, there are burning questions:

1. Why did 5th Officer Lowe say that he used a speed of 21 knots to calculate the 8 pm DR if he did not do so?

A: Because he did, and he derived that speed by dividing the Patent Log reading at 6 pm by 6 when he cam on duty at 6 pm on the evening of April 14. That was the way it was always done if the speed by engine revolutions was not used.
Your argument about Patent Log readings and speed by rpm between 8 pm and 10 pm does not hold water. You are not comparing like-for-like. The improvement in rpm speed was because of minimum slip of Titanic's propellers due to fair weather. That same fair weather would have little influence on the Patent Log reading.

2. When Lowe took over from 5th Officer Moody at 6 pm that evening, the latter would have given him the very latest speed and course. If Titanic had been making 22.06 or any speed other than 21 knots, Moody would have said so and Lowe would have remembered it. So why on earth would Lowe say the speed was 21 knots and not 22.06 knots?
A: Because 21 knots was in fact her speed.

3. At 8 pm,3rd Officer Pitman handed over the Watch to 4th Officer Boxhall The former believed Titanic was making 21.5 knots and said so. Why would he say so? Why would he not have told Boxhall that the speed was 22.06 Knots?
A: Because although he knew for sure, the speed at Noon, he did not assume continuity and reverted to an assumed speed of 21.5 knots based on engine rpm. He would have passed that intelligence on to his relief, Joseph Boxhall, at 8 pm.

3. If, as would be the normal course of events, Pitman had told Boxhall Titanic's course and speed at 8 pm and had stated at that time that the ship had been making 22 + knots since Noon. Boxhall would not have made any connection between ship speed and propeller slip. After all, she had made that same speed before Noon that day and the weather during that period was vastly different. So why did he use a slower speed from 7-30 pm to work his distress position?
A: At 8 pm, Boxhall had little interest in ship's speed, from then on he was engrossed in working sights.

3. At 10 pm, Boxhall's boss, Lightoller handed over to 1st Officer Murdoch. Like Pitman, Lightoller also stated that he thought Titanic was making 21.5 knots. Why? He must have already known the ship's average speed from Noon to 7-30 pm. he would get that from the results of his 7-30pm sights worked by Boxhall.
a: Lightoller already knew the results of his 7-30 pm celestial observations and knew speed made good since Noon that day. If it had been 22 + knots, he would have said so instead, he still used 21.5 knots.

The time difference between ship and GMT was 2 hours 58 minutes at Noon, April 14. The fact that both Boxhall and Lightholler did not allude to that 2 hour 58 minute difference when asked, should tell us all something. Specially if it came from Lightoller since he was off Watch at the time of impact with the iceberg. By the same token, if there had been no clock alteration, why would Boxhall allude to one?
Pitman refered to a watch to get his 2-20 pm sinking time. Since Stewardess Annie Robinson had fully adjusted time of sinking as 1-40 pm there is little doubt that he had unaltered time on his watch

Conclusion:

Since Pitman and Lightoller only mention a speed of 21.5 knots up to 10 pm, and the latter had the results of the 7-30 pm sights at that time, then the ship's speed up to 7-30 pm could not have been more that 21.5 knots.
Boxhall completed the 7-30 pm sights by about 9-30 pm therefore, at that time, he knew the ship's average speed between Noon and 7-30 pm. That speed must have been less than 22 knots. Otherwise, why would he declare "taking into consideration that it was smooth water and that there ought to have been a minimum of slip, I allowed 22 knots."

How much more proof of a slow down does anyone need?
 
Mar 12, 2011
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So, here are my objections so far. If Titanic slowed down and a corresponding clock setback was made that screws with the timing of the radio messages. Sure, I could believe that Titanic's first distress message went out at 12:03 ATS (not saying I do, but it's plausible I suppose), if there was a 24 minute setback but that pushes the last confirmed distress message back from 2:12 ATS to 1:48 ATS, which directly contradicts other testimony. If there was a full 47 minute clock setback, then Titanic was only 1 hour and 15 minutes ahead of New York Time, so the first distress message has to go out at 11:40pm ATS and the last at 1:25!
On the other hand, if there was no clock setback, a slowdown doesn't make sense because Titanic wouldn't have made it to the area the wreck is in if she never broke 21.5 knots during the day. She has to run pretty close to 260 miles in whatever time you give her in order to be where she was when she sank. I have to conclude that one or more of the witnesses was mistaken. It's the only answer that makes sense to me so far.
 

Jim Currie

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You really haven't proved a thing.
I have agreed with you that one source of evidence cannot be considered fact. Consequently I have presented you with evidence to support a source. The evidence is derived from careful consideration of relevant evidence from three separate sources: i.e. from the evidence supplied by the surviving 2nd.,3rd. and 4th bridge officers. I lay out the facts before you once more:

1. 5th Officer Lowe swore under oath evidence to the effect that Titanic averaged 20.95 knots during the 6 hours from Noon, April,14 until 6 pm that early evening.

2. 5th Officer Lowe swore under oath that if the ship's speed had been increased or decreased in the 2 hours he was off duty between 4 pm and 6 pm April 14., he would have been informed about it when he relieved the Watch.

3. At 6 pm, April 14, 5th officer Lowe could not have been advises by 6th Officer Moody that Titanic had averaged 22.06 knots during the previous 6 hours. Otherwise, Lowe would have used 22.06 knots to work the 8 pm DR position. He did not use that speed, he used 20.95 knots.

4. 3rd Officer Pitmanknew Titanic had averaged 22.1 knots between Noon April 13 and Noon April 14. He did not mention that speed but swore under oath that Titanic was making about 21.5 knots at the time the 7-30 pm sights were taken.

5. 4th Officer Boxhall relieved 3rd Officer Pitman at 8 pm. At that time, Pitman would advise Boxhall of ship course and speed. There is no record of what speed value passed between the two men.

6. From Noon April 14, Titanic was carrying 75 rpm on her engines. At no time during the period Noon until 6 pm did minimum slip conditions prevail.

7. Between 8 pm and 10 pm, the conditions were flat calm, smooth sea, no swell...ideal for minimum propeller slip. Titanic was carrying 75 rpm on her engines. Her speed over these two hours was 22.5 knots by Patent Log.

8. Before 10 pm, when he completed working the 7-30 pm sights, Boxhall reported the results to Lightoller.

9. 2nd Officer Lightoller swore under oath that Titanic was aking 'about' 21.5 knots.

10. When 4th officer Boxhall worked the distress position he needed a speed to do so. he used a speed of 22 knots because he thought the prevailing conditions would alloow Titanic to achieve an optimum speed of 22 knots with her engines running at 75 rpm.

Every single one of these men worked Titanic's bridge at some time between Noon April 14 and 10 pm that evening yet not one of them mentions a speed greater that 22 knot and even then qualifies that speed by referring to ideal conditions.

I can't do any more, Sam. if you do cannot arrive at logical conclusion from the foregoing list then it's not because you can't see it...it's because you do not want to see it. I can understand your reluctance. After all, to accept the truth would require a great deal of work to be re-written.
 

Jim Currie

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So, here are my objections so far. If Titanic slowed down and a corresponding clock setback was made that screws with the timing of the radio messages. Sure, I could believe that Titanic's first distress message went out at 12:03 ATS (not saying I do, but it's plausible I suppose), if there was a 24 minute setback but that pushes the last confirmed distress message back from 2:12 ATS to 1:48 ATS, which directly contradicts other testimony. If there was a full 47 minute clock setback, then Titanic was only 1 hour and 15 minutes ahead of New York Time, so the first distress message has to go out at 11:40pm ATS and the last at 1:25!
On the other hand, if there was no clock setback, a slowdown doesn't make sense because Titanic wouldn't have made it to the area the wreck is in if she never broke 21.5 knots during the day. She has to run pretty close to 260 miles in whatever time you give her in order to be where she was when she sank. I have to conclude that one or more of the witnesses was mistaken. It's the only answer that makes sense to me so far.
Hello Michael. As you know, the times of the distress signals were obtained from the Log Books of Wireless Operators on other ships.. their Process's Verbal. These were almost exclusively expressed in Eastern Standard Time which is 5 hours SLOW of Greenwich Mean Time.
At 12 o' clock Noon on April 14, Titanic's clocks were set to be 2 hours 58 minutes SLOW of GMT and consequently, 2 hours 02 minutes FAST of EST. That would be the situation at the moment of impact, if the clocks had not been touched.
If, the ship had clocks had been set back by 24 minutes before the moment of impact, then at that moment, they would have been 3 hours 22 minutes SLOW of GMT and 1 hour 38 minutes FAST of EST. Not the 1 hour 33 minutes alluded to by Messrs. Lightoller and Boxhall. There is an explanation for that which I will not go into.

So now we have alternative clock differences between Titanic time and EST.

If the second distress signal was heard by Cape Race and Other stations at 10-25 pm EST then the first one was heard at 10-15 pm EST. The last signal was heard by the SS Virginian at 12-27 am EST.

This gives us alternative first and last ship time transmissions of :

First: 12-17 am or 11-53 pm.

Or....

Last: 02-29 am or 02-05 am.

The unaltered first transmission time of 12-17 am suggests that Captain Smith waited almost half an hour before he called for help and did so half an hour after he knew his ship was sinking and long after had ordered the lifeboats prepared.
The altered time of 11-53 pm suggests that Captain Smith wasted no time after he received the Carpenter's sounding report and although a little early, fits much better with the evidence of the surviving wireless operator.
The unaltered time of 02-29 pm for the last transmission is nonsense. According to Pitman, by that time, Titanic's wireless room was under water.

The stewardess Annie Robinson had fully altered time on her watch and said the ship sank at 1-40 am by her watch. A partly altered clock would have shown 02-04 am at that time and a fully altered one, 02-27 am.

You chose!

As for the run time from Noon? Here's a little straight-line picture which is to scale and explains the alternatives we are faced with. I hope it is clear:
times considered..png
 
Mar 22, 2003
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Sam. if you do cannot arrive at logical conclusion from the foregoing list then it's not because you can't see it...it's because you do not want to see it.
You know Jim, you remind me of another master mariner who used to participate here on this forum and always used to say, when someone did not see things his way, it was because that the person lacked the nautical knowledge needed to understand what really went on. As was once told to him, applying one's logic enables that person to be wrong with authority. We are now 19 pages into this thread and I'm sorry to say that you have not proved a thing. You blindly are taking what Lowe claimed was the speed of the ship between noon and 6pm as absolute truth, and then working with it and saying things that have no real support except by the application of your way of thinking to make it fit into your scheme of reality. I have already stated why I believe that the distance run by log over the 6 hour period from noon to 6pm would not have indicated a slow down without a corresponding decrease in revolutions carried. In fact, you even posted a warning from Nichols Seamanship about the patent log not showing distance made good but only distance through the water. You point to statements of speed made by Pitman who presented data that clearly showed that he was wrong. Did it ever occur to you that these officers were downplaying the speed of the vessel when questioned about it because it did not make WSL look very good knowing that their vessel was traveling at the fastest speed of her maiden voyage while headed into a region where ice was reported? Let me remind you,

Senator SMITH. Tell me, if you can, upon what ground you base your report of 21 1/2 knots speed? [when sights were taken]
Mr. PITMAN. By the log and the revolutions.
Senator SMITH. How many revolutions was the boat making at that time?
Mr. PITMAN. I think about 75.
Senator SMITH. And 75 revolutions would indicate that she was going about 21 1/2 knots?
Mr. PITMAN. Approximately, yes, sir.
Senator SMITH. Do you know whether she went any faster than that on that trip?
Mr. PITMAN. No; I do not think so. She never exceeded 76 revolutions at any part of the trip.
...
Senator SMITH. But you make your calculations in the manner you have described and give that as your best judgment?
Mr. PITMAN. Yes, sir; 21 1/2 knots and 75 revolutions; 75 or 76 revolutions
...
Senator FLETCHER. And you kept increasing up to 21 1/2, so that at the time the iceberg was struck you were traveling at the highest rate of speed at which you had been going during the trip?
Mr. PITMAN. Oh, no; the same speed we had been traveling for the last 24 hours.
Senator FLETCHER. The same speed?
Mr. PITMAN. The same speed.

He knew that was not true because he had the data to prove it.

Another falsehood that they wanted people to believe was that there was not enough coal on board to drive her across the Atlantic at full speed. Not only was there enough coal on board, but they had one or two day's to spare on that voyage.
 

Jim Currie

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Right Sam! Let's get this thing straight. if your intention was to raise my steam, them you have succeeded.

The Master Mariner you refer to is the "Ice Pilot". The fact that you caught him out on something doesn't not make you the 'expert' and him the novice.
Doubtless, like me, Captain Marmaduke Collins would afford you the respect and courtesy that your knowledge entitles you to. Doubtless, he. like me, would not read a few books on a subject then presume to be an expert on it.

I will not apologise to you or anyone else for having done exactly the same things as did all the officer in Titanic and all the other ships in this sad tale. I even did these things in passenger ships over exactly the same route between the same Ports. If you cannot accept or understand what I'm explaining to you, well that's your problem, not mine.
Incidentally, I remind you that as well as being an unlimited Master Mariner, I also have 25 years + experience as a Marine Surveyor and marine Accident Investigator. During which time, I carried out investigations for Lloyds Underwriters and the underwriters of Southern Marine & Aviation in the United State. You will, I hope, grant that such experience can be added to my credit?

No, Sam, I am not 'blindly' accepting the evidence of 5th Officer Lowe... far from it. I am doing what you cannot do, and that is don Lowe's sea-boots and put myself in his situation.
The man has told you through his evidence that he used the Patent Log to obtain an average speed to calculate the 8 pm DR. I would be very surprised if you ever used one of these in anger but that doesn't stop you lecturing us all on its use.

You indulge in the fantasy concerning the Officer's of Titanic hiding the truth about speed That is another indication that you have no idea what you are suggesting nor do not know anything about the pshyche of a British Merchant Navy Officer. Particularly one who held the King's Commission as a reserve in the RN.

Now your remarks about Pitman's evidence. You write: "He knew that was not true because he had the data to prove it"

Yes, he certainly did, but unlike you, he did not blindly believe in the mantra that since his ship averaged 22.06 knots up to Noon that day carrying, 75 rpm, it would continue to average that same speed carrying the same engine revolutions no matter what the conditions were. No, Sam he did what every practical navigator always did...he started afresh at Noon on April, 14 and assumed a speed of "about" 21.5 knots at 75 rpm. Lightoller did exactly the same.
Since the Slip Tables had yet to be completed, both men did what any navigato would have dome, they would assume a speed on the basis of a perceived idea of % slip due to the prevailing conditions. That is exactly what Boxhall did to.

I could easily reduce the level of debate and remind you of three of your own 'expert' deductions. Remember them?

Titanic speeded-up that evening of April 14 because the extra boilers had been put on line?

There was that south-setting Labrador Current that effected the sinking Titanic but had no effect on any other ship in the area. really?

Was it not you who, in order to align Californian with Titanic, claimed that somehow, 1st Officer Murdoch turned his ship hard right from had left into and through that same 1 + knot current to face north? And not only that, did it despite rapidly slowing engines. Not only that, Sam, but wonder of wonders; Titanic stopped swinging once she had Californian on her port bow.

As for the coal falsehood. Once again, you demonstrate the limit of your knowledge.

Every experienced master on the North Atlantic run knew that his ship could be delayed at any time. he also knew that his Chief Engineer was 'always running low' but in truth kept a couple of days 'up his sleeve'. This was a well known ploy which was played on that run but also ensured that there was reserve in the event of running into 2 days fog or worse still, a hurricane from the south west. But then you would know that too, Sam.


 
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Right Sam! Let's get this thing straight. if your intention was to raise my steam, them you have succeeded.
Your safety valve must be set at a very low point for it to pop off so easily. You arguments are far from conclusive, and because you have the experience that you do, that does automatically mean that you are right. I only hope that others who had also participated in this discussion can weigh all the arguments and keep an open mind.
 

Jim Currie

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Your safety valve must be set at a very low point for it to pop off so easily. You arguments are far from conclusive, and because you have the experience that you do, that does automatically mean that you are right. I only hope that others who had also participated in this discussion can weigh all the arguments and keep an open mind.
Actually I have been praised for my uncharacteristic restraint by colleagues who have sailed with me and watch this site.

Other members are free to comment. I am very happy to examine a well structured counter-argument based on the evidence and personal experience. Barring that, referral to an indisputable source of complimentary information.

I suggest to you Sam, that you are trapped in a preconceived idea of what happened. You now find yourself between a rock and hard place from where it is impossible to extricate yourself without loosing face.

All this to and fro-ing is pointless and counter-productive. For you to have been right all along, you would need to have shown irrefutable evidence to the effect that Titanic maintained her pre-Noon speed from Noon April 14 and 8 pm that evening. There is absolutely not a grain of evidence to suggest such a thing. In fact, there is a heap of sworn evidence from three separate sources that indicate Titanic most certainly did slow down.

Your only argument is some vague technical bits about the Patent Log, alluding to the incompetence of 5th Officer Lowe, and the nefarious shenanigans of his bosses in an attempt to down-play Titanic's real speed. As Robbie the Robot was often heard to say "It does not compute", Sam.

I will finish this by posting here a list of the basic proof necessary to show that a partial clock change took place before the moment of impact. Perhaps others can dig and discover?

1. A fully adjusted Day Worker's personal time piece that indicated a time of about 11-16 pm at the moment of impact.
2. Evidence of Watch-keepers who were within 20 minutes of being relieved at the time of impact.
3. Watch-keepers who had been just called to go on duty.
4. Watch-keepers who heard the sound of 1 bell.
5. Watch-keepers who heard the sound of 8 bells at or near the time when all hands were arriving at the boat deck.

If you or anyone else cannot completely refute these, then as "God made little apples", Titanic slowed down for about 7 'ish hours between Noon and 8 pm that final day.
 

Scott Mills

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Jul 10, 2008
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Markus -- You and I and all the members of this board are children of a later age. We view the past through the eyes of today. This makes it difficult to see things in historical context. Example: On another thread the “women and children first” ideal has been condemned as “sexist.” Perhaps it is in the 2016 moral and social climate. But, our modern view of women would be viewed as almost barbarian by many of the “fair sex” in 1912. Who is right? The Edwardians? Modern progressives? I think you see my point.
David, don't be a postmodernist. :D If we believe in the dialectic of Enlightenment, at least the good parts of it (I suggest staying away from Horkheimer and Adorno's seminal work, unless you want to become very depressed about the future of the human race), then of course our current age is "more correct." This is because, in almost a Hegelian sense, progress means that the extension of the ideals of Enlightenment grows broader as we realize that the application of the rights of human beings actually applies to all human beings.

To deny this is to deny the metanarrative generally, which places you in an uneasy position of being unable to also say things like, the ideas of race and European superiority that drove the European colonial project were, and are, wrong. Instead you are stuck with saying that these ideas are just different, but equally valid, to our current understanding.

Philosophy, the Social Sciences, and History cannot, as disciplines of study, disarm themselves by taking away their ability to level a critique of the ideas of the past and remain relevant to their task of shining their revelatory light on the world.
 

Jim Currie

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All far too deep for a simple sailor like me, Scott. However, very interesting.

I might be way off base here, but I think that what David was pointing-out was that to understand an action or actions taken at the time of Titanic, including human interface, we must not be blinded by pre- judgement based on our updated knowledge of science, engineering and basic attitudes of present day human attitudes toward each other.
 

Harland Duzen

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Jan 14, 2017
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All far too deep for a simple sailor like me, Scott. However, very interesting.

I might be way off base here, but I think that what David was pointing-out was that to understand an action or actions taken at the time of Titanic, including human interface, we must not be blinded by pre- judgement based on our updated knowledge of science, engineering and basic attitudes of present day human attitudes toward each other.
Among many things we should remember in April 1912:

  • Of Titanic's maiden voyage population of 2000 people, with the exception of just 1 or 2 passengers* (that we know definetly from resources ), the majority Ethnicity was white British and Americans.
  • Of her crew of over 850, only 23 were women.
  • Attitudes to passengers and crew of other nationalities was very negative with several stories including Lowe testimony referring to mischievous passengers as ''of the Latin Nations''.
  • As a result of the class divide of the times, 3rd class were likely to reach the lifeboats due to their sections being heavily segregated by their positions, gates, stewards etc. For those on F-Deck or G-Deck, their was sometimes only 1 stairway to the next deck because of the watertight compartments.
  • The culture of the time for ''Women and Children First'' and the masculine view of men sacrificing themselves for the safety of others meant the men that did survive (like Arthur Godfrey Peuchen who was abandoned by his friends despite saving an tangled lifeboat from the rigging) were harshly treated by the press and society.
  • Knowledge on the effects of metal under stress, sudden forces and the stain the ship faced wasn't fully known at the time (such as the inquiries believing one long gash doomed the ship instead of several small holes and tears).
  • The effects of mirages, sea currents and different weather fronts creating false horizons (as suggested by Tim Maltin) making the Californian see rockets and not Titanic (if it was Titanic or even a 3rd ship).
Essentially, the whole disaster at the time to the public and inquiries did not have the vast amount of data and info we now have from exhaustive searches internationally and from wreck dives in 1985.


*I refer to 2nd Class Joseph Laroche and 1st Class Passenger's Henry Sleeper Harper's ''manservant''
Hassab Hammad based on witness accounts that he was avoided by passengers despite being handsome possibly due to his natural complexion (he came from Cairo Egypt).

(this statement doesn't take into accounts passengers travelling from various other countries due to no visual images or evidence to be certain. no disrescept or offence is intended.)
 
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I meant what I said word for word, letter by letter.

If we are to understand history we must look at it from the perspective of the people who lived it. To do otherwise is narcissistic self-delusion. Interpretation of historical events judged by modern standards is meaningless. You might as well judge the baking qualities of an orange by the standards of a cooking apple.

That said...there is a difference from understanding history and learning from it. The latter requires making judgements of all sorts. But, such judgements must never be confused with knowledge of the matter being judged.

-- David G. Brown
 

Jim Currie

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Apr 16, 2008
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Well said, David!

As I have often told my young people, the ability to absorb knowledge is very common. Just look at the explosion in the University Population. However to fully understand what has been absorbed, requires an additional talent not granted to the most of us, hence the phenomenon of the "expert". To me these come in two main flavours: (A) The "Expert" who has studied the subject in theory and actually practiced it, and (B) The "Expert" who has devoured everything written or photographed about an entire subject or a specific aspect thereof, can re-produce such knowledge at the drop of a hat yet fails to fully understand the knowledge passed-on to others. This second "Expert" has the same value as does an Encyclopedia.
However. in my book. there is a talent that is essential to both kinds of "Experts" if they wish to be able to pass-on their knowledge in an interesting as well as educational way, and that is IMAGINATION. It is this simple talent that enables us to put ourselves in the shoes of those long dead then briefly live their lives with the knowledge we have.
As an illustration: I recall my wooden sword days when I rode out on my invisible horse and, William Wallace - like, vanquished the foes of Scotland.
 
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Jim --

Back when I was teaching a license prep class for wannabe masters I had a wonderful student. Right answers rolled easily off his tongue and his pencil never drew a wrong course. But, when we took him aboard a real vessel, he turned out to be a Paddy West man.

-- Dave


Oh, as I was a-walkin' down London road
I came to Paddy West's house
He gave me a feed of American hash
And he called it Liverpool scouse
He said "There's a ship that's wantin' hands
And on her you'd quickly sign
Her mate is a bastard, her bo'sun's worse
But she will suit you fine"

Take off yer dungaree jackets
And give yerselves a rest
And we'll think of them cold nor'westers
That we had at Paddy West's

Well, when I'd had a feed me boys
The wind began to blow
He sent me up in the attic
The main royal for to stow
But when I got up in the attic
No main royal could I find
So I turned around to the window
And I furled the window blind

Take off yer dungaree jackets
And give yerselves a rest
And we'll think of them cold nor'westers
That we had at Paddy West's

Now Paddy he piped "All hands on deck!"
Their stations for to man
His wife stood in the doorway
With a bucket in her hand
And Paddy sings out "Now let her rip!"
And she flung the water our way
Sayin' "Clew up your fore tl'gan'sl, boys
She's takin' in the spray"

Take off yer dungaree jackets
And give yerselves a rest
And we'll think of them cold nor'westers
That we had at Paddy West's

Now seein' we're off to the south'ard, boys
To Frisco we was bound
Old Paddy he called for a length of rope
And he layed it on the ground
And we all stepped over and back again
And he says to me that's fine
"Now when they ask if ye've been to sea
You can say you've crossed the line"

Take off yer dungaree jackets
And give yerselves a rest
And we'll think of them cold nor'westers
That we had at Paddy West's

"Now there's only one thing for you to do
Before you sail away
That's to step around the table
Where the bullock's horn there lay
And when they ask was you ever at sea
You can say ten times round the Horn
And bejesus you're a sailor since
The day that you was born"

Put on yer dungaree jacket
And walk up lookin' yer best
And tell 'em you're an old sailor man
That's come from Paddy West's