How Far South did the Titanic Reach?

Mar 18, 2008
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He felt the shock. Then he saw "stop". The watertight doors went. Two greasers rang back to the bridge. The watertight doors were closed. He and his mate went up to the turbine room and down one of the escapes to let one of the greasers out in the after tunnel. They heaved the door up about two feet to let the greaser out.

5564. Did you do it by yourselves? - Yes, me and my mate on the other side of the engine room.

My understanding, he went via the ladders to the electric engine room to open a door at the afterside.
He was in the electric engine room, his mate in the room behind the electric engine room.


The greaser was in the after tunnel, there was one compartment between the electric engine room and the aft tunnel (actually there was no need for that rescue operation).




After that he was busy opening six watertight doors.

He saw the telegraph in the main engine room, he felt the shock, and then the telegraphs rang "stop".
The watertight doors were closed.
Then he went up and down the escape to the electric engine room to let one of the greasers out in the after tunnel.
Scott did not said when exactly he went over to the electric engine room, it could have been several minutes after the doors were closed.
After he and a mate got the greaser "free" they had the order to open the WTDs to bring the suction pipe forward. Interestingly no one ever mentioned that the WTDs between the main engine room and turbine engine room had to be raised, the only doors mentioned were the ones aft of the turbine engine room and forward of the main engine room.
 

Jim Currie

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Greaser Scott hadn't a clue. He said "- I think it is about six, [Wt doors] leading down to the afterend of the tunnel". In fact, there were 4 watertight bulkheads aft of the main engine room. These were labelled L, M. N & O. Each was fitted with a WT door which closed automatically when the switch on the bridge was activated.
Scott stated :

"5573. Q: Then you had to go right to the afterpart of the ship there, had you, into the tunnel? A: - We went down the escape ladder.
5574. That was for the purpose of getting there in order to open up that watertight door which is the last, the aftermost watertight door? A: - Yes."

The aftermost WT door was the door in WT bulkhead "O". If I read Scott's evidence correctly, he used the vertical escape ladder to get from the Turbine Room to the Electricity generating Engine Room. From there he had to manually lift the wt doors in bulkheads "M" & "O" to gain access to the last tunnel compartment.
 

Jim Currie

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By the way, there was a mention of the lifting of the WT doors forward of the main engine room, it came from Trimmer Dillon. See here:

"738. What order? A: - The next order we got was to get out of the engine room and into the stokehold and open the doors.
3739. Open what doors? A: - The watertight doors or watertight compartments
3740. Was that possible; could you do it? A: - We assisted to do it.
3741. As I understand it the watertight doors had been closed from the bridge? A: - Yes.
3742. Could you open them from below? A: - One leading from the engine room to the stokehold [No/1] was lifted up high enough by hand to let us get underneath."
 
Mar 22, 2003
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As long as the watertight doors were open, he could see the telegraphs in the reciprocating engine room from his place in the turbine engine room.
I have bigger problem with Scott's story about seeing the engine telegraphs. If the engine room was laid out the same as that on Olympic, the engine order telegraphs were mounted at the fore end of the reciprocating engine room on the reciprocating engine LP columns near the starting platform. The WTD to the turbine engine room was located off centerline to the starboard side of the vessel. So how could anyone actually see from the other side of door while it was open what was indicated on the telegraph dials? Scott never said he entered the engine room. The WTD's dropped within 30 seconds after Murdoch threw the switch over. And we know from Olliver and Boxhall the Murdoch was seen at the WTD control at the time the ship struck.
ScottLocation.gif
 
Mar 18, 2008
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Dillon must had been close to the telegraphs as he could hear them ring but his position is unknown. Scott was either told about the telegraphs soon after the collision or he really saw them (as he mentioned that first the two ordinary and then the two emergency ones were used and that they were answered) and the location on Titanic was different (which would be no surprise) or he was inside the main engine room.
 

Jim Currie

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Hello Ioannis.

Unless the actual tell-tale on the telegraph could be seen, the only other way to know how the engines were turning was to see the direction in which the propeller shafts were turning and to know how they were turning previously.
 
Mar 22, 2003
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Dillon said he saw the engines stop, then reverse, stop again, and then go forward again some undisclosed time later for a short time. He did not know what the telegraphs indicated. Also, you could hear them ring from anywhere in the engine room.

I do not believe much of Scott's account of engine movements because what he said does not make sense. I also doubt that the engine room layout on Titanic would differ from that on Olympic. The engineer's control platform would have to be at the fore end because that is where the steam supply came in from the boiler rooms forward. The telegraphs would have to be near the controls and valves.
By the way, the man in the aft shaft tunnel was not really trapped. There was an escape from all compartments on the tank top.
 
Mar 18, 2008
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By the way, the man in the aft shaft tunnel was not really trapped. There was an escape from all compartments on the tank top.
Yes and that is why I mentioned in post #121 that there was no need for such a rescue operation. There was a tunnel escape which lead up to the steering gear house.

I also doubt that the engine room layout on Titanic would differ from that on Olympic. The engineer's control platform would have to be at the fore end because that is where the steam supply came in from the boiler rooms forward. The telegraphs would have to be near the controls and valves.
Would be interesting to know if on Britannic they were at the same spot as on Olympic. However I do not know of any photographs showing them and also of no wreck footage. As far as I remember they did not find a way into that part of the Britannic wreck.
 
Mar 22, 2003
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The principal witness is Trimmer Dillon. If you look at his timing, you get to Stop 1.5 minutes + Astern + 0.5 minutes, + 2 minutes, +0.5 mines Stop, + Ahead 2 minutes, Stop. = a total of 6.5 minutes.
What I take from Dillon's timing is the following:

Engines came to a stop 1.5 minutes after collision, then a 0.5 minute later engines start running slow astern for 2 minutes and then stop again. That's a total of 4 minutes past collision when they stopped after running astern. Then Dillon says the engines went ahead for 2 minutes but was not asked how long that was after they came to a stop after reversing. It was this ahead movement that QM Olliver must have seen Capt. Smith ring down. Dillon's timing appears at first to be reasonable except when asked about when the watertight doors closed shut. That he said took place about 3 minutes after the collision. But we know from Olliver and Boxhall that Murdoch was seen at the WTD switch about the time the ship struck, and when Capt. Smith entered the bridge, within a minute of the ship striking, he was told that doors had been closed. And we know from Barrett that the WT door closed behind him as he jumped through the door into BR5, the compartment aft of BR6 where he was stationed, just moments after water came through the side of the compartment. When closing the doors the written instructions to the OOW (in this case Murdoch) was to ring the alarm bell for about 10 seconds and then throw the WTD switch to close. From the moment the switch is thrown the doors start to drop and will be shut tight within 30 seconds of the switch being thrown (as verified on Olympic). So Dillon's 3 minutes estimate about the doors closing is not in line with what we know, and so calls into question some of his other estimates of time durations.

I personally think the times that these events took place were a lot shorter than what Dillon said. Dillon also said that he heard telegraph bells ringing two seconds before the ship struck. I think what he remembered were the WTD warning bells ringing just moments before the collision.
 

Jim Currie

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Hello Marcus.

I've been giving your ideas another thought regrading how far Titanic went to the southward. I think you are correct that Titanic was south of her planned track from The Corner.

I'm now pretty sure that by 4 pm that afternoon of April,14, Captain Smith knew for certain that his ship was being slowed down and set south and eastward of his desired course. He was an old hand on that run and would have expected some counter-current effect. I have been re-working the numbers and trying to determine why there would be two times of turning...5-45 pm and 5-50 pm.
My best guess is that although Smith knew Titanic had averaged 22.1 up to Noon, April 14, he estimated that she would slow down due to a half knot current acting on her bow. Consequently he determine ETA at The Corner to be around 5-45 pm. QM Rowe may have overheard that time being discussed with Chief Officer Wilde.

By 4 pm, Captain Smith would see from the Log Book that instead of covering a distance of 86.4 miles as he estimated she would have done by that time, the ship had only covered a distance of 84 miles. In fact, he found that the current was 0.6 knots stronger than he anticipated. i.e. 1.1 knots instead of 0.5 knots. He knew that the general direction of the current would be ENE. So with this information he would go to his chart room and see what effect the new information would have on his plans.
He estimated that instead of making a course of 240.5 True, his ship was making a course nearer to 239 True and that her speed had dropped to 21 knots. He also deduced that if she kept the same course, and speed for another 38.5 miles, she would cross the eastward extension from The Corner of his planned course - 285 True - at around 5-52 pm. He therefore decided to turn his ship at 5 -50 pm, allowing for the turn and any increase in speed due to reduction in current strength. I believe that the result was, that, despite Captain Smith's intentions, Titanic actually overshot the planned turning point by about 0.9 of a nautical mile and that thereafter, she was about a mile south of the prescribed course line right up until she hit the iceberg. If I am correct, then she started turning near to 42-00' North, 46-52 West. That being the case, then if the patent log read about 122.2 when she started turning and read 260 when she hit the ice berg, then the position of that iceberg was at 41-47' North. 49-55.5'West.

I think Boxhall 'waffled' or even lied when he said the course after The Corner was 266 True. I say this because he though that Titanic had overshot The Corner. He and Pitman also claimed that the 7-30 pm sights put her right on the line. That means he measure his course from where HE thought she turned, not where she actually did turn. In fact if she had been steering 266 True, she would have made 265 True due to the changing magnetic variation.
You can check my figures. Do not make the mistake of being scientifically correct. Although we know the rate of the current, we do not know its exact set.
 
Mar 22, 2003
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Boxhall determined the ship's heading after taking stellar bearings to check the compass deviation. That was after he had calculated the 7:30pm fix.
"After I had worked these observations of Mr. Lightoller's I was taking star bearings for compass error for myself, and was working those out. That is what kept me in the chart room most of the time. I was making computations most of the time."

Lightoller also mentions that the course S86W (266T) was given to him later on:
13498. Can you tell us what was the course of the ship when she was handed over to you at 6? - I cannot remember the compass course. I know from calculations made afterwards that we were making S. 86 true.
13499. S. 86 W.? - Yes.
 
Mar 22, 2003
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Better than any log reading would have been a longitude by chronometer, which ideally would have been taken close to 5:30pm when the sun was on the prime vertical in the west. Unfortunately, nothing of that was ever mentioned, so we have way of knowing if they did that or not.

A lot of suppositions in post #131 above. For me the major problem is the assumption that the log averaged 41.9 miles every two hours from noon to 5:50pm yet averaged 45 miles in two hours from 8 to 10pm all the while running at an average of 75 revolutions per minute.
 

Jim Currie

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Boxhall and his colleagues would take every opportunity to check the compasses. He and they would do so several times during the Watch. In fact, he would take a bearing with the Pelorus, then using the ABC Tables, calculate the true bearing of the celestial body. Having done so, he would compare the Pelorus bearing with the true (Azimuth) bearing This would give him the total compass error, not the course. He would then apply the Magnetic Variation of the place to the total error The result would be the deviation of that particular compass, not all compasses. He would also compare the calculated Deviation with the deviation printed on the deviation card for that compass... noting any a anomalies. In addition, if he did the job properly, he would record the date, GMT, body observed, DR position and value of the error in the Compass Error Book. This book would be available for his relief when he came on Watch and until the latter could update the error.

A longitude by chronometer would only have confirmed the westward progress on a given course. If that course was not made good then it would have had little more value that the Patent Log in that it would only have confirmed the log reading that indicated that something was slowing the vessel down.

Note that Lightoller's observation that " we were making S. 86 true" is absolutely no indication as to the original course set. You "set" a course but the course actually "made" is the resultant of all external and internal influences acting upon the vessel. Principally, these are wind, sea, current and steering. Additionally, if you do not have two fairly accurate positions between which to measure the course made good then you cannot be sure what course the vessel did make. That was the situation with Boxhall. He had a very good star fix at 7-30 pm sights but his 5-50 pm start point was simply a guess based on his assumption that Titanic made good her intended course from Noon and over-shot the intended turning point, The Corner.

" For me the major problem is the assumption that the log averaged 41.9 miles every two hours from noon to 5:50pm yet averaged 45 miles in two hours from 8 to 10pm all the while running at an average of 75 revolutions per minute."

The log average is not an "assumption" Sam. it is a logical conclusion reached after careful consideration of the sworn evidence. As to why the vessel should speed up to 22.5 knots? For exactly the same reason that Boxhall gave for his assumption that she made 22 knots. I remind you:

"I had had no revolutions that watch; but, taking into consideration that it was smooth water and that there ought to have been a minimum of slip, I allowed 22 knots."

You may or may not know this Sam, but you can check it with any seafarer.
When a ship moves from sea and swell to flat calm conditions, those on board her can actually 'feel' the difference. She will also increase speed if there is no current.
When a new ship leaves port on her maiden voyage she has a very clean bottom...no marine growth therefore minimum drag to effect her optimum speed.
 
Mar 22, 2003
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You cannot convince me that the speed through the water carrying the same number of revolutions on a vessel as large as Titanic would speed up as much as 1.5 knots simply going from moderate seas with only 6 ft waves to a flat calm.
 

Jim Currie

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I'm sorry that I cannot do that, Sam, specially if you do not want to be convinced. However, since hope springs eternal, I'll try.

Despite your ideas to the contrary, Titanic was not delayed by the North Atlantic Drift Current because it is a wind-generated current and the weather systems during the period were not from the prevailing direction of South West. It follows that the average speed of 22.1 knots at 74 rpm for the previous days run was probably correct. The winds were from the west and north west and set her to the south east. If anything, they may have given her a little nudge and her average speed sans wind was probably close to 22 knots, half a knot faster that indicated by propeller revolutions. However there was sea and swell and this would effect her speed
Lightoller, and Boxhall estimated speed based on engine rpm. Since the ship was new, they would expect 74 rpm to equate to 21.5 knots and said so. On the other hand, Pitman used both rpm and the patent log.

If, in fact Titanic could make 22 knots given the conditions prevailing April 13/14, then she would go faster than that in the totally unusual flat calm conditions prevailing after 7-30 pm that night. However, if the sea conditions prior to Noon April 14 prevailed that afternoon but she dropped her speed by 1 knot, then there was a 1 knot current acting against her. She would keep that speed as long as her course, engine rpm., current direction and weather conditions remained unchanged. When she turned onto her 265T Course, the current would be acting on her port side. However, the strength of the current would start to reduce as she got nearer and nearer to it's northern margin. If she broke free of it's northern margin at or near dusk and the weather conditions had improve beyond what they were at Noon that day then by 8 pm she would have built her speed to it's optimum for the prevailing conditions...22 knots + 0.5 knots = 22.5 knots In short, all restriction to her achieving her optimum speed for 74 rpm had been removed.

Still not convinced?
 
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Hello Jim, in post 131 you said:
By 4 pm, Captain Smith would see from the Log Book that instead of covering a distance of 86.4 miles as he estimated she would have done by that time, the ship had only covered a distance of 84 miles. In fact, he found that the current was 0.6 knots stronger than he anticipated. i.e. 1.1 knots instead of 0.5 knots. He knew that the general direction of the current would be ENE. So with this information he would go to his chart room and see what effect the new information would have on his plans.

I think we agree that the log always indicates speed through the water.
When the ship goes at 22 knots with a current of 1 knot against the direction of drive, the distance made good is just 21 miles per hour, but the log indicates 22 knots. So from the log one can not tell the current.

In fact if she had been steering 266 True, she would have made 265 True due to the changing magnetic variation.


Hichens said, the steering course was N 71 West, or 289°.
The intention was to make 265° true. The difference between these two is 24° (Variation + Deviation).

Lord gave some figures for variation, 24,75° near the Corner, 24° near longitude 50°.
6782. (The Attorney-General.) What Variation? - The variation that day at noon was 24 3/4. She was about 24 when we were stopped; the deviation would be about 2E, making an error of 22W.

As the variation decreases by one degree going west, the true course will change from 265 to 266.
But I have my doubt whether this is the reason why Boxhall claimed 86° instead of 85°

Maybe, during checking the compass error he found the deviation needed correction by 1°, and therefore the true course was corrected as well, while steering course remained unchanged.
 

Jim Currie

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No lads, that is not 'exactly right'. The Patent Log does not measure speed through the water, it measures the distance that the vessel has traveled through the water between two readings. To find the indicated speed through the water you simply divide the indicated distance by the lapsed time.
 
Mar 22, 2003
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Stand corrected. The Patent Log measures the distance that the vessel has traveled through the water between two readings. That distance is not the same as the distance made good, which is the point being made here.