Keeping Track of a Maiden Voyage

Tad G. Fitch

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Dec 31, 2005
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Sam wrote:
"These three professional mariners agree that the collision occurred about 14 miles east of where you do, Boxhall's erroneous CQD location, and only 3.7 miles from the wreck site (marked by the boiler field center). The geographic distance from the "corner" at 42°N 47°W to their collision point is about 131.4 miles."

Sam, how silly of you, don't you realize that the Titanic sank at Boxhall's coordinates, attained neutral buoyancy underwater, then glided that number of miles underwater to the wrecksite, where an underwater earthquake flung the wreck apart, hurling the stern one direction, the bow in another, and scattering the debris in a pattern resembling that of which it would if the ship had broken up on the surface?

I say all of this in jest of course, since the good Captain believes this theory and has firmly defended it. And exactly what practical knowledge am I to buy from the mind of this navigator? Maybe next he is going to tell us that the Titanic collided with a UFO piloted by Elvis, because that is about as scientifically plausible as his above scenario.

PS: As stated ad nauseum Captain, you are not the only one who is a professional mariner, nor the only one with extensive navigational experience (even on this board), no one is buying your act.
 
Jan 11, 2006
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Sam:
There are two professional mariners, Master Mariner Thomas Barnett, Retired Principal Nautical Surveyor in the Department of Transport Marine Survey Service, and Capt. James De Coverly, Deputy Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents, who are on record in the 1992 MAIB report which concluded that the "TITANIC was in approximate position 41°47'N, 49°55'W when she struck the iceberg at 2345 hrs 14 April, and in position 41°43.6'N, 49°56.9'W when she foundered," a report endorsed by Captain P. B. Marriott, Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents.
I have carefully perused their reports, and respectfully disagree.

Tad G. Fitch:

PS: As stated ad nauseum Captain, you are not the only one who is a professional mariner, nor the only one with extensive navigational experience (even on this board)), no one is buying your act.
Without the nautical intelligence to comprehend,
How would you know?
 
Mar 22, 2003
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Capt. Collins:

I respect your right to disagree with the conclusion of those three professional mariners. The point here is that there are other professional mariners who do not see things the way you do, and are well qualified and have the practical knowledge as well as nautical intelligence to do what they do in their marine accident investigation work. I happen to agree with their approach and conclusions concerning the approximate location of the collision point, or more strictly speaking, the location where the Titanic came to a final stop on the surface following the collision.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>Without the nautical intelligence to comprehend,
How would you know?<<

You don't need to have "Nautical Intelligence To Comprehend" to read the board and see the disagreement between your point of view and that of your fellow mariners. Anybody can do that and understand that and the reasons for that even if some can't crunch the numbers. Your fellow officers can crunch the numbers and they don't agree. I respect the fact that you have your reasons for your conclusions but your colleagues have their reasons for differing as well and their professional qualifications are not in question.

Bottom line, Captain Collins: The "Nautical Intelligence To Comprehend" thing doesn't fly, and it's time to give it a rest once and for all.
 
Jan 11, 2006
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The point here is that there are other professional mariners who do not see things the way you do, and are well qualified and have the practical knowledge as well as nautical intelligence to do what they do in their marine accident investigation work.
Since publishing my book in 2002 I have questioned the practical experience in ship handling/ Arctic pack-ice navigation of those professional mariners who do not see things the way I do. So far, I have not had any one, with that experience, disagree with me.

Regards,
Collins
 
Mar 7, 2006
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Quote "I have carefully perused their reports, and respectfully disagree."

Ok. Explain to us where they went wrong, in detail - Why not impart a little of that Nautical experience, so we can all then comprehend what you are saying!

Quote "Since publishing my book in 2002 I have questioned the practical experience in ship handling/ Arctic pack-ice navigation of those professional mariners who do not see things the way I do. So far, I have not had any one, with that experience, disagree with me."

Lots of people seem to disagree with you here.

Just because you have not had people knocking at your door saying your are wrong does not mean that they agree with you.

Lets try and get real - please name 5 experts in your opinion that have the nautical experience to comprehend, that agree with you.

That should be quite simple.
 
Jan 11, 2006
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Sam:
Now if you take my 126.1 miles from noon to the "corner" and add that to the 131.4 miles to the MAIB collision point you will get a run of 257.5 miles since noon. A collision at 23:45 is 11 hours and 45 minutes from noon. Multiply 22 knots by 11.75 hours and you get 258.5 miles, which checks nicely with their results.
...the 131.4 miles (?) to the MAIB collision point...

The distance from the corner 42/47 to the wreck site is 133.3 nm

Evidence of 3rd/O Pitman and 5th/O makes noon 14th Posn. 42° 54' N, 44° 50'W, dist. to Corner 42/47 = 110.5 nm + 146.4 nm (from Corner 42/47 to CQD posn ) total distance =257 nm;

From Noon 14th to CQD = 257 nm;

Evidence of QM Rowe: log reading from Noon reset to CQD position was 260 nm. - 3 nm (Current adjustment 11h 46m @ 1/4 knot) = 257 nm,
which checks nicely with the evidence of Titanic's navigating officers.

N. James Wright:
Lets try and get real - please name 5 experts in your opinion that have the nautical experience to comprehend, that agree with you.
Read the acknowledgements in my book. There are twenty-six experts listed. Since the book has been published there have been numerous others.
 
Mar 22, 2003
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Capt. Collins. You must be enjoying this as much as I am.

First, let me address what you wrote:
...the 131.4 miles (?) to the MAIB collision point...
The distance from the corner 42/47 to the wreck site is 133.3 nm
The MAIB approximated collision coordinates (each rounded to the nearest minute of arc) was at 41°47'N, 49°55'W, and they listed the wreck site coordinates at 41°43.6'N, 49°56.9'W. You have 133.3 nm from the corner to the wreck site, and I got 131.4 nm from the corner to the MAIB collision point. Both you and I are correct in calculating these distances, so what's your point? Were you trying to suggest I made a mistake? As you can see, I did not.

Second,
Evidence of 3rd/O Pitman and 5th/O makes noon 14th Posn. 42° 54' N, 44° 50'W, dist. to Corner 42/47 = 110.5 nm + 146.4 nm (from Corner 42/47 to CQD posn ) total distance =257 nm
What you proved is that if you make a run at 22 knots for 11 hours and 40 minutes you will cover 257 nm. If you work the DR track back from Boxhall's CQD coordinates, as I believe 3/O Pitman did, you get to your noon coordinates of 42° 54'N, 44° 50'W which is only about 110.5 nm from the corner, thus Pitman's 5 p.m. ETA which he first mentioned at the British Inquiry after testifying in America that they turned the corner at 5.50 p.m.

But, there is a big problem with that 110.5 nm result. The ship ran a total of 1549 nm from Daunt's Rock to noon on April 14. This comes not only from the Pitman memo entered into evidence at the American Inquiry, but can be confirmed by adding up the daily distances reported by others. If the ship had reached a point 110.5 miles from the corner at noon, then it had to cover more than 1563 nm since leaving Daunt's Rock, and probably closer to 1564 nm if not somewhat more. The difference in these two distances (1564-1549=15 nm) is close to the 14 nm difference between Boxhall's CQD and the MAIB collision point coordinates. And the MAIB collision point is a little over 3.5 nm from the wreck site bearing NNE, while Boxhall's CQD location is a good 13 nm from the wreck site bearing W by N.

The 260 nm log reading of QM Rowe is nothing more than the travel distance through the water measured by the taffrail log. It shows the ship was averaging 22.3 knots through the water over 11 hours and 40 minutes, the time he read off his watch after seeing an iceberg pass by within 20 feet of where he was standing out on the poop.
 
Jan 11, 2006
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Were you trying to suggest I made a mistake?
Since you agree with the MAIB report, are you suggesting the impact with the pack-ice occurred 023°( NNE), 3.7 miles from the wreck site?
thus Pitman's 5 p.m. ETA which he first mentioned at the British Inquiry after testifying in America that they turned the corner at 5.50 p.m.
Herein, lies the misinterpretation. Titanic did not turn the CORNER at 5:50 p.m. BUT instead, altered course to S 86°W (true)--16.3 miles west and south of the corner at 5:50 p.m. A CORRECTION 3/o Pitman made at the formal British Marine inquiry.
But, there is a big problem with that 110.5 nm result. The ship ran a total of 1549 nm from Daunt's Rock to noon on April 14. This comes not only from the Pitman memo entered into evidence at the American Inquiry, but can be confirmed by adding up the daily distances reported by others.
The ship ran a total of 1549 nm from Daunt's Rock to noon on April 14. This comes not only from the Pitman memo entered into evidence at the American Inquiry,---1549 nm from Daunt Rk to noon on April 14, comes from a PURPORTED Pitman Memorandum. I am confident this Memorandum was not computed by any navigating officer of the caliber of 3rd/O Pitman. My calculation has Titanic running a distance of 1569.6 nm from Daunt Rk to Noon 14th. --1680 nm from Daunt Rk to Corner, compared with OLYMPIC's maiden voyage distance of 1680.4 nm
after seeing an iceberg pass by within 20 feet of where he was standing out on the poop.
QM Rowe was in fantasy land, and fabricated a tale that defies the laws of hydrodynamics as it applies to ships underway. It is nautical nonsense accepted by the members of the inquiry and by those inexperienced in ship handling and ice navigation.
 
Mar 22, 2003
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You really are enjoying this, aren't you.

My calculation has Titanic running a distance of 1569.6 nm from Daunt Rk to Noon 14th. --1680 nm from Daunt Rk to Corner, compared with OLYMPIC's maiden voyage distance of 1680.4 nm
If you are going to compare things to Olympic's maiden voyage distances, then I suggest you use the data from the Olympic. On her third day out, the Olympic was at 43°45'N, 43°52'W at LAN on June 18, 1911. That is 173.6 miles from the corner at 42N, 47W. The sum of Olympic's daily runs from Daunt's Rock to her noon June 18 location were: 428+534+542 = 1504 miles. Distance from Daunt's Rock to corner = 1504+173.6 = 1677.6 miles. Sorry, your method of navigating has to loose 3 miles somewhere.

Since you agree with the MAIB report, are you suggesting the impact with the pack-ice occurred 023°( NNE), 3.7 miles from the wreck site?
No, I'm certainly not suggesting any collision with pack ice, nor did they. The professional master mariner inspectors in the Marine Accident Investigation Branch gave the approximate coordinates for the collision with an iceberg (rounded to the nearest minute of arc) as 41°47'N, 49°55'W. Since you asked, my own independently derived position for what I call Titanic's stopping point was 3.2 miles at 017° true (close to N by E 1/2 E) from the center of the boiler field using Ballard's coordinates. When rounded to the nearest minute of arc, I got 41°47'N, 49°56'W. I consider their professional results and my own close enough to say we agree. I feel I'm with very good company on this one. I suggest you read their report for a full explanation which I'm almost certain you will respectfully disagree with. At least you cannot claim that they lack the nautical intelligence to comprehend.

QM Rowe was in fantasy land, and fabricated a tale that defies the laws of hydrodynamics as it applies to ships underway.
As far as Rowe fabricating a tale, I guess he and everyone else who witnessed an iceberg that night. Sorry, but I will not waste my time further on your misguided, unsubstantiated (yes I read your book) theories.
 
Mar 7, 2006
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quote:

QM Rowe was in fantasy land, and fabricated a tale that defies the laws of hydrodynamics as it applies to ships underway. It is nautical nonsense accepted by the members of the inquiry and by those inexperienced in ship handling and ice navigation.

end quote:

I thought there were two views here:-

1/ He saw an Iceberg and it was an Iceberg.

2/ He saw what he thought was an Iceberg but was he really observed was an optical illusion that appeared to be - to his untrained eyes - an Iceberg.

Where did this "fabricated a tale" come from?

Fabricated means:-

1. to make by art or skill and labor; construct: The finest craftspeople fabricated this clock.
2. to make by assembling parts or sections.
3. to devise or invent (a legend, lie, etc.).
4. to fake; forge (a document, signature, etc.).

How do we know that Rowe did not just report what he thought he saw?

What evidence is there is that he fabricated "to devise or invent (a legend, lie, etc.)." - to quote from above?

It just seems very wrong to me to accuse someone - without any evidence as far as I can see - of fabricating evidence given in sworn testimony.
 
Jan 11, 2006
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Distance from Daunt's Rock to corner = 1504+173.6 = 1677.6 miles. Sorry, your method of navigating has to loose 3 miles somewhere.
Sorry! my friend, try again. Using the data from Olympic's maiden voyage , the distance from Daunt's Rock to corner = 1680.4 nautical miles. Using the data from the purported Pitman Memorandum the distance from noon 14th to the 'Corner' is 131 nm not 126.5

At least you cannot claim that they lack the nautical intelligence to comprehend.
Your opinion!
 
Jan 11, 2006
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I'm sorry but if you take the data reported on Olympic's log for the distances the ship ran for the first three days and then add the distance from the third day's noon location to the corner you get the total that I gave above.
Sam, as a marine navigator you disappoint me. Believe me taking the data reported on Olympic's log for the distances the ship ran for the first three days and then add the distance from the third day's noon location to the corner you get the total = 1680.4 nautical miles.
For the Titanic I got a distance to the corner of 1675
Impossible for a ship in 1912 without GPS. The true GC distance from Fastnet to the corner is 1617.7 + 56.1 (Daunt Rk to Fasnet)= 1673.8

Rhumb 5°dlong distance from Fastnet to Corner = 1623.1 + 56.1 (Daunt Rk to Fasnet= 1679.2

Better than one of those New England/Canadian cruises is a cruise to St. John's Newfoundland and other ports where real icebergs may be seen.
 
Mar 22, 2003
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For the benefit of those readers not very familiar with navigation let me explain that the calculations that I and Capt. Collins have have been posting here regarding the distance from Daunt's Rock to the corner for Olympic's maiden voyage are in a sense both correct. Capt. Collins calculated a total distance of 1680.4 nautical miles, and I came up with 1677.6 nm. How can that be?

The difference is in the methods and assumptions being used.

What Capt. Collins did, using meridian parts calculations throughout, was to start from Daunt's Rock LV and go to a point south of the Old Head of Kinsale and then to a point 3 miles south of Fastnet Light. That gave him a distance of 56.1 nm. From there he took a rhumb line course (constant course angle) to the reported noon position for June 16, which by meridian parts calculation, is 372.3 nm. The total distance for the first day was given by adding these two distances together which gave 428.4 nm, which is close to the 428 nm written in the log card. The distance for the second day was given by taking a rhumb line from the noon position for June 16 to the noon position for June 17. That gave 535.7 nm by meridian parts calculation, compared to 534 nm that was written in the log. The next distance was given by taking a rhumb line from the noon position for June 17 to the noon position for June 18. This gave 542.7 nm by meridian parts calculation, compared to 542 nm written in the log. Finally, the rhumb line distance from the noon position for June 18 to the corner is 173.6 nm. Total distance adds up to 1680.4 nm.

What I did is add up the distances reported in the log for the first three days to the noon position for June 18, which was 428+534+542=1504. I then added to that the 173.6 nm from noon to the corner to get 1504 + 173.6 = 1677.6 nm. The difference between the two methods is 2.8 nm.

We can do the same using the data from Olympics 2nd and 3rd voyages. The results are 1680.4 Vs. 1674.6, a difference of 5.8 nm for voyage No. 2; and 1680.1 Vs. 1676.2, a difference of 3.9 nm for voyage No. 3. Using the distances written in the log cards for voyages 1, 2, and 3 westbound, we see distances to the corner that are about 3 to 6 miles shorter than if we take the sum of the rhumb line distances between the points listed.

So why doesn't these two methods come out the same? Why is the method I used give shorter distances than the method used by Capt. Collins? Part of the answer is that the daily runs were rounded to the nearest whole mile so few tenths may be lost. Part of the answer is in the way distances were calculated using a spherical earth model and mid latitude method, not meridian parts. And part of the answer may be in the way the ship was navigated while following the great circle route.

The Olympic did not follow a single rhumb line course from one noon position to the next while on the great circle track to the corner. From detailed data that I looked at from several 1931 Olympic crossings, the logbook shows that they changed true course headings mostly about every 6 hours. (Sometimes as little as 5 hours or as much as 7 hours, but most changes appeared to be about every 6 hours or thereabouts.) This means they were changing course about every 3 degrees in longitude more or less. The distances between two noon positions along the GC track would therefore be less than the single rhumb line distance between the two noon positions because they tried to follow the great circle track fairly closely, more so than what I expected they would do. I believe this is why the distances recorded on those three log cards consistently resulted in a somewhat shorter distance to the corner than what those straight rhumb line distances would give.
 
Mar 22, 2003
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Better than one of those New England/Canadian cruises is a cruise to St. John's Newfoundland and other ports where real icebergs may be seen.
I Agree. But the issue this year was the departure date, the overall cost, and the convenience of the port of departure for me. Maybe some other time I'll make it up there.
 
Jan 11, 2006
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I suggest Capt. Collins, you may indeed learn something about practical navigation from the minds of those professional navigators who really seem to understand the evidence presented.
Senator PERKINS.
When you were relieved on watch, Capt. Lightoller -
Mr. LIGHTOLLER.
I am not "captain."
Senator PERKINS.
You have a certificate as captain, have you not?
Mr. LIGHTOLLER.
Yes.
Senator PERKINS.
Then you are entitled to the honor.
Mr. LIGHTOLLER.
No; I do not claim the honor of the title "captain." I am plain "mister," as yet.

Even today, many merchant marine officers who hold a Master Certificate of Competency but have never had command of a ship, who sometimes work ashore as steamship inspectors, navigation instructors, etc., refer to themselves as ‘captain’.

I have had command of a ship, and I have had extensive experience in ship handling and navigating Arctic pack-ice. It is my opinion that the conclusions reached in the RMS Titanic: reappraisal of evidence relation to SS Californian have no merit. It is reminiscence of the testimony of Captain John Knapp, a United States Navy hydrographer, to the US Senate Titanic inquiry and the input of the nautical assessors to the British enquiry.

Excerpts:
1. INTRODUCTION
On 14 April 1912 at about 2340 hrs ship’s time the White Star liner TITANIC on her maiden voyage from Southampton towards New York struck an iceberg and was severely damaged.

The conclusions reached were that the Titanic was in the approximate position 41 47N, 49 55W when she struck the iceberg at 2345 hrs 14 April and that the Inspector considered that the Titanic was seen by the Californian, by her Masters and others. I think it is possible that she was seen, since abnormal refraction permitted sight beyond the extent that the horizon ordinarily would have been visible, but I think it is even more likely that she was not seen.
 
Jan 11, 2006
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Bill West:posted on Thursday, March 1, 2007 - 8:26 am:

Good Morning, Captain
[1] Those 1623/24 mile rhumb line routes are for a flattened sphere earth. Footnote 18 mentioned that [2] Sam used round sphere calculations, [3] they would be consistent with 1912 practice and testimony.
Bill

You are incorrect on all 3 points!

1) If by a flattened sphere earth you are referring to the formula using Mean Lat and converting D. Long. into Dep. by the parallel sailing formula.

Mean lat. is the arithmetical mean between two latitudes and assumes the earth to be a plane surface.which gives approximate results only.

Those 1623/24 mile rhumb line routes are mid-latitude calculations for a spherical earth, they would be consistent with 1912 practice

2)
Footnote 18 mentioned that Sam used round sphere calculations, they would be consistent with 1912 practice and testimony. a mid-latitude calculation
Sam used round sphere calculations, mid-latitude calculations ??

3) Middle latitude is the geographical mean between two latitudes and takes into account the convergency of the meridians on the surface of the earth. The middle latitude is the latitude in which the true departure lies. (Dep. = D.Long cos Mid. Lat.) It is found by applying to the mean latitude the middle latitude correction, which would be consistent with 1912 practice and testimony.

Collins
 

Bill West

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Dec 14, 2005
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LMC, your point numbers:

1 -For your query of the context of my point, the answer is that mid lat is not what I was referring to.

2 -You’re asking a confirmation of part of my point, the answer is yes.

3 -I didn’t make or challenge such a point.

Bill