How Far South did the Titanic Reach?

Dec 4, 2000
3,200
451
213
There is a famous American defense attorney who once claimed that if a glove didn't fit, the jury "must acquit." Changing his clever wording a bit to match his problem, "When the facts don't fit, you must not draw conclusions." The problem Titanic's speed from noon to The Corner has been vexing historians since the ship sank and nobody has come up with a single solution that fits the known facts with no room for a counter argument. Something is missing.

To me, the missing "something" revealed by years of arguments is obvious. The record was deprived of the necessary information. This could have been the result of bad interrogation during the official hearings. Or, it could have been the result of a dark cabal among the surviving officers. Or..or...or... We could spend another hundred years discussing the cause of the missing "something" and still be no closer to a universal solution to the Noon/The Corner speed problem. Ironically, there is no historical significance to the speed of Titanic between Noon and The Corner. The significant information needed is the average speed from The Corner to the accident.

(Actually, we need to know two "speeds." One is the hypothetical speed used by Boxhall in his dead reckoning and the other the speed made good from The Corner to the accident. These are distinctly different, although often confused.)

Speed is one of three factors in dead reckoning. The other two are duration of the run and the direction or course the ship was steering. When all three are known, the navigator can predict by either mathematical or graphical means where his vessel "ought to be" at any given time. Dead reckoning does not yield the vessel's precise location like modern GPS. By its nature dead reckoning is discontinuous. A DR track starts at some known point and ends when the navigator gains more precise knowledge of his ship's position at some future time. In theory, both the start and stop should be fixes -- either on objects like lighthouses or by celestial observations. There is always some difference between the ending fix and the DR location for that same moment in time. This is not an error. Rather, it tells the navigator a great deal about the local currents and windage affecting his ship's progress. This information is normally used to refine navigation of the subsequent dead reckoning legs.

To really understand what took place during Titanic's last five hours of making way we must know the precise location ("fix") of where Titanic made The Corner and the precise GMT of that rounding. Neither were preserved in the record. Also confusing the time of the rounding is an obvious discrepancy between what the navigating officer (Boxhall) and the quartermaster at the wheel (Rowe). Finally, our need to know the ship's speed has given rise to the century-long argument discussed above.

The fact that we lack basic knowledge of all three parts of dead reckoning is of more historical significant than the actual speed (made good or hypothetical for DR). Why so much missing information? Boxahall said he used 22 knots, but the other officers disagreed. Why? Row said The Corner was turned at 5:45, but Boxhall said 5:50. Why? Lightoller said he shot the stars just after 7:30 for an evening fix, but nobody remembered the location from those stars. Why? Captain Smith's CQD position's longitude is within reason the ship's predicted midnight longitude and not the longitude where Titanic lay sinking. Why? Boxhall said he computed his "improved" CQD position from scratch. If so, it should lie on the ship's dead reckoning track, but instead it's on a line from Smith's CQD position of three points to the south. Why? Boxhall's CQD coordinates are also precisely 20 minutes of steaming at 22 knots from Captain Smith's coordinates. Why?

To me, it all adds up to a carefully mis-told story designed to hide the truth rather than illuminate it.

-- David G. Brown
 
Dec 4, 2000
3,200
451
213
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
 
Mar 22, 2003
4,963
567
243
Chicago, IL, USA
Michael,

I've been using what is called the mid-latitude method in my spreadsheet. Given a starting point with coordinates Lat1, Lon1, for vessel traveling D nautical miles on a course C, you can use the following equations to get change in latitude, dLat, and the change in longitude, dLon, both in minutes-of-arc to add or subtract from Lat1 and Lon1 to get to the ending point coordinates at Lat2, Lon2.

dLat = D cos C in miles
dLon = D sin C / cos Lmid

where: Lmid = (Lat1 + Lat2)/2

Lat2 = Lat1 + dLat
Lon2 = Lon1 - dLon

Step-by-step example: Lat1 = 42° 00' N, Lon1 = 47° 00'W. Ship traveling 22 knots for 18h and 57m on course 266° true. Find Lat2, Lon2.

First we find distance travelled, D = 22 x (18h 57m) = 22 x 18.95 = 416.9 miles.

Then dLat = 416.9 cos 266° = 416.9 x -0.0698 = -29.1 miles = -29.1' [negative indicating southward movement]

Then we find Lat2 = Lat1 + dLat = 42° 00' - 29.1' = 41° 60' - 29.1 = 41° 30.9' N.

Next we find Lmid = (Lat1 + Lat2)/2 = (42° 00' + 41° 30.9')/2 = (42.00° + 41.52°)/2 = 83.52°/2 = 41.76°

Now we can find dLon in minutes-of-arc = D sin C / cos Lmid = 416.9 sin 266° / cos 41.76° = - 416.9 x 0.9976 / 0.7459= -557.5' [negative here means westward]

Now we can get Lon2 = Lon1 - dLon = 47° 00' - (-557.5') = 47° + 557.5' = 47° + 9° 17.5' = 56° 17.5' W.

Thus we end up at 41° 30.9' N, 56° 17.5' W.
 
Mar 22, 2003
4,963
567
243
Chicago, IL, USA
The log was read at 6 pm and indicated 126 miles.
Markus, you will have a very hard time finding anyone in the historical record claiming that the log registered 126 miles at 6pm.

The great circle distance from Fastnet to the corner is 1618 miles. Also, if you actually tracked the great circle route precisely, you find that the initial heading at Fastnet would be 264.5°T. When you reach the corner, assuming you stayed perfectly on track, you would be on a heading of 236.7°T. But, as you know, ships ran rhumb line courses between way points, and were affected by wind and current which is why the distance from Fastnet to the corner would always come out to be somewhat greater than the perfect CG route distance. Obviously, it could never be less than 1618 miles. If we take away the 55 miles from Daunt's Rock to Fastnet and look only at the distance run from Fastnet to the corner (42N, 47W) of Olympic's first three voyages in 1911, we find that Olympic would have ran 1622, 1619 and 1621 miles, respectively. We know that Titanic already travelled 1494 miles if you measure the run from Fastnet to noontime Sunday, April 14. If she had tracked the GC perfectly up until that point, then she would have had only 124 miles to go to reach the corner. However, if the remaining distance was the more realistic 126 miles, which is what I believe it was, then for Captain Smith to have set the turning time for 5:50pm, implies that he expected his ship to make 21.6 knots on the run to the corner, only a 1/2 knot slower than the speed made good from noon Sat to noon Sun carrying the same number of revolutions. Boxhall had to have known that the vessel made 22.1 knots against a North Atlantic current over the previous 24 hours and 45 minutes. Boxhall's claim that the ship should have turned 'some considerable time' earlier than 5:50 is just plain nonsense, leaving me to believe that his mentioning this to C/O Wilde is made up fiction. So too for Pitman's similar claim where he estimated the time he thought the ship would be at the corner as being around 5pm.

The problem with all of this stems from the erroneous distress position that was sent out. If the vessel was anywhere near the corner at 5:50pm or even 6pm, then it could not have reached 50° 14'W only 5h and 56m later, at 11:46pm. More time had to be put into the equation. Look at it this way. At 22 knots, the speed Boxhall said he used, the ship would make almost 1/2 degree of longitude westward each hour; actually about 29.5 minutes-of-arc per hour. Boxhall's position from the corner was 3° 14' west of the corner longitude, or 194 minutes of arc. Therefore, the ship somehow would have to travel 194/29.5 = 6.6 hours to reach Boxhall's position from the time it was at the longitude of the corner. Now go back 6 hours 36 minutes from 11:46pm,Boxhall's collision time, and you would have the vessel at the corner longitude at 5:10pm, a full 40 minutes earlier than the time it altered course for NY, assuming of course that Boxhall's distress position was right, which we now know it wasn't. For me, there is little doubt as to why Pitman and Boxhall would have concluded that the ship must have been a good deal past the corner when its course was altered at 5:50pm. It all goes back to that erroneous distress position.
 
Mar 22, 2003
4,963
567
243
Chicago, IL, USA
can not remember. If I had a chart here I could.....
Jim, that was Pitman not Boxhall. I agree that Pitman's 5pm at the corner was ludicrous, but he got that by reversing what he knew by then. He took for granted that the ship reached Boxhall's CQD location at 11:46pm. The CQD is 145 miles from the corner. At Pitman's 21.5 knots it would take 6h 45m to get back to the corner. 11:46-6:45 = 5:01pm.
Simple reasoning, but wrong.
 
Nov 26, 2016
93
0
16
63
About the bells,
Think about it. If at 11-30 pm, the bridge sounded 7 bells and this was immediately followed by the men in the nest sounding 7 bells on that massive thing they had up there, and/ or by the forecastle lookout doing the same on the anchor bell, that's 14 or even 21 continuous sounding of very loud bells. Then. shortly after, there there three more loud rings, followed shortly after that by 16 or 24 continuous rings.
I wonder whether passengers really would mind the bells. They are on a ship and not in a hotel, so they have to accept that the ship has engines and bells under working conditions. People living in the center of a city hear the bells of clock towers from the churches. These strike every quarter of an hour the number of the quarters, and at full hour four strikes for the quarters followed by the number of the hours twice, firstly with a high tune, secondly with a lower tune for those who did not manage to count the first time because they were in a doze. Nowadays they switch off the church bells after 10 pm., but not in 1912. Happy new year to everybody.
 
Mar 22, 2003
4,963
567
243
Chicago, IL, USA
>>The distance between two object at sea... one with a height of eye of 500 feet and the other with a height of eye of 45 feet is exactly 33.4 nautical miles.<<

That is correct, but that is not what we were talking about. The question was this: given an observer with height of eye 45 ft, and some vessel 16 miles away firing rockets to a height of 500 ft, what is the angular height of the rocket burst relative to the horizon as seen by that person? My 9 minutes-of-arc number came from Bowditch Table 15. But I forgot to correct the result for dip of horizon, which for a height of eye of 45 ft is about 6.5 minutes-of-arc. Therefore, the measured angular height of the burst above a visible horizon would be 9 + 6.5=15.5 minutes-of-arc, which is about one-half the diameter of a full moon. If the Carpathia was 23 miles away and fired rockets to a height of 500 ft, then the burst of those rockets would appear to be about 8 minutes-of-arc above a visible horizon after correcting the angle in Table 15 for dip. As Capt. Lord said, the horizon was a soft horizon, "it was hard to define where the sky ended and the water commenced." Is it not obvious that something bursting as low as only 8' above where the horizon would be described as 'on the horizon' given that the horizon was not sharply defined? After all, this is only about 1/4 the diameter of a full moon.
Untitled.jpg
 
Dec 4, 2000
3,200
451
213
For the sake of absolute historical accuracy --

THE PATENT LOG

Bowditch of Titanic's day issues a caution which is generally ignored in discussions of readings taken from the ship's patent log. "It will usually be found that the indications of the log are in error by a constant percentage," the text says, "and the amount of this error should be determined by careful experiment and applied to all readings." To date, I've never seen anything published on the constant error of Titanic's instrument. Bowditch also mentions the need to adjust the length of the log line to achieve maximum accuracy.

TIME OF "THE CORNER"

In reading all the above I see 5:50 p.m. as the time of turning The Corner. Indeed, Boxhall did say that. However, the man who actually made the turn was quartermaster Rowe at the helm. In British questions 17591 and 17592 he said, "We always make a practice of what we call rounding the corner, and the man at the wheel generally takes notice of it." When asked if he remembered that time, Rowe said, "Yes, 5:45."

So, the man who would have had first-hand knowledge of time said it was 5:45 and not 5:50. The difference is really quite slight, but it's still five minutes. Over those five minutes at 22 knots (the speed Boxhall said he used) the ship would have covered 1.8 nautical miles.

Navigators then and now tend to work in 6 minute increments rather than the 5 minute markings on a clock dial. The reason is simple, six minutes are 1/10th of an hour. This simplifies doing Time/Speed/Distance calculations in your head; less chance of error. Could it be that Boxhall rounded 5:45 to 5:48 p.m. to get 8-tenths of an hour? In speaking to the general public he might have chosen to say "5:50" rather than force a discussion of rounding time in navigation. Just a thought. If he did, this rounding of the 45 minutes after 5 p.m. to 0.8 minute would have introduced a 1.01 nautical mile error in his dead reckoning.

-- David G. Brown
 

Rob Lawes

Member
Jun 13, 2012
1,044
579
143
England
A thing you might want to think about: Where did those whose duty it was to call the Midnight to 4 am Watch get their time from? Has it occurred to you that they got their time from public clocks like the one in the Barber's Shop? One that showed an impact time of 11-40 pm. Weikman the Barber had partially adjusted time on his personal time piece because his sinking time was about 1-56 am. Was he waiting for the second midnight when the full adjustment would be made and every clock on the ship would show April 15 time? Perhaps he wasn't the only one with partially adjusted time?
I've always been something of a clock change sceptic but always keep an open mind. I do however, find it very hard to understand why the ships barber, clearly a man who worked days, would bother waiting up until nearly midnight to set his time piece back, not once but twice. Surely, if he was going to wait up at all he would have been as well to wait until the full change had occurred?

As for setting back time pieces and their retaining accurate time, this I can confirm. I had a reasonably expensive, self winding watch. When I changed time zones I would have to wind it back anhour and a half in one and then forward the half hour to the correct time. The reason being in essence is an engineering term called 'backlash' which is the gap that exists between gears to allow them to mash. If you reversec some gears, before you get any forward movement sgain, the gears have to take up that gap. So without winding my watch backwards and then forwards, after a few hours, the time would be several minutes out.
 
Mar 22, 2003
4,963
567
243
Chicago, IL, USA
Hi David,

In aviation as well, time is usually taken in 6 minutes intervals for the same reasons you gave. For example, fuel on board is converted to hours and tenths of hours for purposes of flight planning.
As far as the time of the turn, the 5:50pm time was the time written in the night orders book according to Boxhall as well as Pitman. If the turn was to be completed by 5:50 then a J/O, probably Moody, would have been sent to the standard compass platform ahead of time. Maybe it was at 5:45 when he was told to do so by C/O Wilde who was the OOW at the time, and that was time that Rowe recalled. The turn itself was 24 degrees to starboard as seen on the steering compass.

As far as patent log readings, you are correct about a constant percentage error. Unless the log was calibrated, you could be off by the error amount. But, that error is cancelled out when taking the ratio of two log readings in determining a time interval. We were told that the log reading increased by 45 miles in two hours, and read 260 miles from noon to the time of collision. Divide 260 by 45 is a ratio of 5.77. Even if both readings were off by as much as 5%, that percentage cancels out when taking the ratio of the two numbers. The ratio of 260 to 45 is the same as the ratio of the elapsed time from noon divided by 2 hours as long as the revolutions were held constant from noon to the time of collision.

The other thing about log readings is that it does not give you the distance made good, only the distance travelled through the water as calibrated on the log. But I sure you know all that.
 
Nov 26, 2016
93
0
16
63
However, his planned clock change of 47 minutes tells us that he hoped that Titanic would cover about 540.5 miles between Noon April 14 and Noon April 15.at the same rpm. That's 5.5 miles less than the previous day. so he was expecting to slow down at some point.
Jim, I think one can not conclude from 47 minutes that a slow down was exspected. The clocks are changed by integer number of minutes and the 47 minutes are the result of round up or down. I think Smith calculated that way:

22 knots, 24,8 hours, 545,6 miles to exspect.
Starting Point: 43-02 N 44-31 W
Monday noon: 41-23 N 56-20 W
Difference of longitude: 11°49' * 4 = 47 minutes 16 seconds, round down 47 minutes.

Other possibility:
21,5 knots, 24,7 hours, 532,1 miles to exspect
Starting Point: 43-02 N 44-31 W
Monday noon: 41-24 N 56-02 W
Difference of longitude: 11°31' * 4 = 46 minutes 4 seconds, round down 46 minutes.

1 Minute of time represents 11 miles more or less.
The Input value for result 47 minutes will be 543 miles plus/minus 5.
They intended to alter the clock by 47 minutes, so most likely they exspected 22 knots for the next day.

Boxhall obviously thought the ship had over-shot. Otherwise how could Titanic have been 'right on the track' at 7-30pm sights and make good a course up to then of 266 True? If anything, she should have been gradually making a course to the southward of the intended track as the local Magnetic Variation reduced.
What is the tolerance zone for "right on the track"? You are native speakers, I am not. But based on my stomach feelings I should say if the star position is found one or three miles south of the track after a run of 170 miles after the last fix this is a fairly good result, the term "right on the track" still may be used.

Boxhall's CQD has been calculated either with course 265 or 266. It is located one mile south of the track. That means, the 7-30-or-40 position must have been 1 mile south of the track if calculated with 265°, or 2.5 miles south of the track if calculated with 266°.
This is just the first uncertainty. The second uncertainty arises by the error of Boxhall's CQD. If only he made a speed or time error, the correct CQD would be one mile south of the track, but if he switched the 42/48 columns in the traverse tables the latitude would be the same, the longitude would be 50-00, the correct CQD would be 2 miles south of the track. Smith's wrong CQD is 2 miles south of the track! At least these two would coroborate then!
Thus we have four possibilities to relocate the 7-30-or-40 Position:
1 / 2.5 / 2 / 3.5 miles south of the track.

The 265/266 uncertainty:
Pitman said in USA "South 84 or 86 west would be the true course we were making after 5.50; south 84 or 86, I am not quite certain which, was the true Course...
May be we can take this as evidence for 266. He knew they were 1 degree deviating from the prescribed course, he just could not remember which side. What bothers me however is Boxhall:
15671. The effect would be she would have run a little bit further on the old course and then on the new course she is gradually making back to the line?
- That is my impression of the idea which Captain Smith had in altering that course and setting it to that time."

He explained immediately before that 265 was the prescribed course, and 266 instead was steered to compensate the late turn.
This was his "Impression".
But was this "Impression" based on a calculation "afterwards" to find a turning Point at 5.50 which would match his wrong CQD Position?

Such turning point could have been:
41-55:30 N 47-10:30 West
Distance to 41-46 N 50-14 W: 137 miles; Course 86°
Speed with/without clock retarded: 21,3 / 23,5 knots
 
Mar 22, 2003
4,963
567
243
Chicago, IL, USA
Another thought about the "soft horizon" that night. Lookouts talked about a slight haze on the horizon. Haze is an obscuration. Since they could not tell where the sky ended and the sea began, I could easily see where that would rationalized as being a slight haze on the horizon by some of the lookouts despite the perfectly clear conditions that existed.
 
Mar 12, 2011
174
2
48
Michael,

I've been using what is called the mid-latitude method in my spreadsheet. Given a starting point with coordinates Lat1, Lon1, for vessel traveling D nautical miles on a course C, you can use the following equations to get change in latitude, dLat, and the change in longitude, dLon, both in minutes-of-arc to add or subtract from Lat1 and Lon1 to get to the ending point coordinates at Lat2, Lon2.

dLat = D cos C in miles
dLon = D sin C / cos Lmid

where: Lmid = (Lat1 + Lat2)/2

Lat2 = Lat1 + dLat
Lon2 = Lon1 - dLon

Step-by-step example: Lat1 = 42° 00' N, Lon1 = 47° 00'W. Ship traveling 22 knots for 18h and 57m on course 266° true. Find Lat2, Lon2.

First we find distance travelled, D = 22 x (18h 57m) = 22 x 18.95 = 416.9 miles.

Then dLat = 416.9 cos 266° = 416.9 x -0.0698 = -29.1 miles = -29.1' [negative indicating southward movement]

Then we find Lat2 = Lat1 + dLat = 42° 00' - 29.1' = 41° 60' - 29.1 = 41° 30.9' N.

Next we find Lmid = (Lat1 + Lat2)/2 = (42° 00' + 41° 30.9')/2 = (42.00° + 41.52°)/2 = 83.52°/2 = 41.76°

Now we can find dLon in minutes-of-arc = D sin C / cos Lmid = 416.9 sin 266° / cos 41.76° = - 416.9 x 0.9976 / 0.7459= -557.5' [negative here means westward]

Now we can get Lon2 = Lon1 - dLon = 47° 00' - (-557.5') = 47° + 557.5' = 47° + 9° 17.5' = 56° 17.5' W.

Thus we end up at 41° 30.9' N, 56° 17.5' W.
That's very helpful Sam. Thanks for your explanatioN!
 
Mar 22, 2003
4,963
567
243
Chicago, IL, USA
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.
 
Mar 22, 2003
4,963
567
243
Chicago, IL, USA
This was his "Impression".
Yes, a very interesting statement when asked if he thought that Smith intended to go past the corner and then come back to the charted course line. He discovered the correct compass deviation error after he worked the 7:30pm star fix.

But we should consider the following. The ship's course was set to be steered by reference to the standard compass. There was no gyro compass available at the time to steer true courses. Over the period of setting the course to steer by and the next course to steer by, the magnetic variation heading westward would decrease as Jim rightfully pointed out. From turning near the corner point at 5:50pm 14 April to LAN 15 April the ship would travel some 417 miles, and the compass variation would have changed about 3° based on the International Geomagnetic Reference Model for 1912. So if they kept to a steady course by standard from the time they turned the corner to noon the next day, the true course followed would have shifted northward by almost 3° by time noon was reached the following day. I don't know what the practice was in 1912, but in aviation flight planning, if there was a significant change in variation between points A and B, we would use the magnetic variation at the median meridian rounded to the nearest whole degree. This may even explain why the 1st CQD was located on a true bearing of 264° from the corner if the intent was to make a true course of 265° to reach the noon location for April 15 (which would have been close to 56° 16'W). The median meridian would have been about 51° 38'W, and the variation there was about 1° less than what it was at the corner.

By the way, the Smith CQD, at 41° 44'N, 50° 24'W, is located 153 miles on a course of 264°T from the corner at 42°N, 47°W. If Smith took 11:45pm as the time of collision, and assumed that the vessel was making the same speed made good as she did the day before, 22.1 knots, then it would take 6h 55m to travel that distance from the corner. And here is where I believe a simple mistake of 1 hour took place, because the time difference from 5:50pm to 11:45pm is 5h 55m, not 6h 55m. A simple mental error in arithmetic made in the haste to work out a distress position. I just don't buy into the theory that the 8pm DR was 20miles too far westward. If we back out a one hour error from the Smith CQD we arrive at 41° 46'N, 49° 55'W, not far from the wreck site.
 
Last edited:
Mar 22, 2003
4,963
567
243
Chicago, IL, USA
Herbert Stone, the Californian's second officer, testified at the British Inquiry that he saw the last rocket fired at 1:40 a.m. That would be 1:23 Titanic time. The man firing the rockets, Quartermaster George Rowe, said he fired the last rocket at about 1:25 a.m.
George Rowe: "I assisted the officer to fire them, and was firing the distress signals until about five and twenty minutes after 1. At that time they were getting out the starboard collapsible boats. The chief officer, Wilde, wanted a sailor. I asked Capt. Smith if I should fire any more, and he said "No; get into that boat." I went to the boat. Women and children were being passed in. I assisted six, three women and three children. The order was then given to lower the boat. The chief officer wanted to know if there were more women and children. There were none in the vicinity. Two gentlemen passengers got in; the boat was then lowered... When we left the ship the fore well-deck was awash; that is, when we pushed off from the ship. It was 1.25 when I left the bridge to get into the boat. When the boat was in the water the well deck was submerged. It took us a good five minutes to lower the boat on account of this rubbing going down."

He was then asked: "She must have sunk soon after you left?", to which he replied: "Twenty minutes, I believe."

So how long do think it was before the boat was lowered after Rowe arrived at the collapsible? 5 minutes? 10 minutes? And then 5 minutes more to lower it. That makes it perhaps 1:35 to 1:40 by Rowe's time. Then 20 minutes later the ship sank taking us close to 2am. Yet George, your final time arbiter, Mr Boxhall, said the ship sank at about 2:20am. That is also the time Mr Pitman gave for when the ship sank. Is it not obvious to you yet that Pitman and Boxhall were using a different time reference than Rowe? We know from Pitman that his watch was still on April 14th time which was set the previous night so it would be accurate at noon on April 14. In unadjusted April 14th time, the last rocket went up about 1:50am, and the ship sank at about 2:20am, about a 1/2 hour after the last rocket was fired.
 

Jim Currie

Member
Apr 16, 2008
4,523
512
183
Funchal. Madeira
I too had the same thoughts about the Barber's evidence, Rob. Any ship I sailed in, the Barber Shop closed before 1st sitting for dinner. However, Mr, Weikman's shop was clearly open or he was sitting in it at the moment of impact and he most certainly did have partially adjusted time on his watch when he was washed overboard. I hardly think that he hastily adjusted his watch back for half the planned time after impact took place.

As to watch-winding...many of the old boys wound their watches by a continuous forward back movement of the winder. i.e. half turn forward, eighth turn back, half turn forward, eighth turn back etc for about 30 turns every time.
 

Jim Currie

Member
Apr 16, 2008
4,523
512
183
Funchal. Madeira
Jim, that was Pitman not Boxhall. I agree that Pitman's 5pm at the corner was ludicrous, but he got that by reversing what he knew by then. He took for granted that the ship reached Boxhall's CQD location at 11:46pm. The CQD is 145 miles from the corner. At Pitman's 21.5 knots it would take 6h 45m to get back to the corner. 11:46-6:45 = 5:01pm.
Simple reasoning, but wrong.
Yes. I pasted that from the transcripts. I meany to write "The Pitman states:"

Pitman stated:

"15174. I considered we went at least 10 miles further south than was necessary.15175. Do I understand you rightly that in marking the course at noon, the course was marked 10 miles further south than you considered necessary? A: - No. We had a certain distance to run to a corner, from noon to certain time, and we did not alter the course so early as I anticipated. Therefore we must have gone much further south.
15176. When did you alter the course? A: - 5.50.

He too was waffling. He must have known where the ship was before 8 pm because he also stated:

"Senator SMITH. : After making these observations, what did you do? It was then about 20 minutes to 8.
Mr. PITMAN: After that I started working out the observations....I was there alone until 8 o'clock....I did not finish them. Mr. Boxhall took over then and finished them."

He must have obtained a fix before 8 pm because he also said the ship was right on the track. The only way he would be able to determine this would be by calculating the course and distance back to the corner from a calculated fix position, i.e. if the course back to The Corner from the fix was North 65 East then he was right on the track. It would not be plotted.
 

Jim Currie

Member
Apr 16, 2008
4,523
512
183
Funchal. Madeira
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.