Last Log of the Titanic


Steven Hall

Member
Aug 8, 2001
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This is one of the threads I receive via email — every time I check the mail I see; The Last Log Of the Titanic as the header.
David, seeing it appear that often motivated me too actually by it.
I know it is not by design — but what a great advertisement medium for your book. LOL.

Steve
 

Paul Rogers

Member
Jun 1, 2000
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Alicia,
quote:

It could be observed that you have taken a rather unilateral approach to your chiding.
Touché. You have a point. I did not - and do not - condone David's "there's a good girl" comment but I felt at the time that he had been baited into that particular response. It did not, after all simply appear out of the ether, did it?

Interesting fact about Nelson and Clerk, but I fail to see the relevance of it within the context of this particular thread. However, I haven't missed the point you were trying to make, so there's no need to clarify.

Continuing this conversation appears pointless as I do not want to be perceived as "defending" one person against another. That was not my intent. In addition, this must appear terribly boring to other readers, as well as being completely off-topic. We've both had our say, so let's just drop it.​
 
D

David Haisman

Guest
Parks,

Thank you for your reply and you've done your homework.
My enquiries were genuine as I have often wondered how she would have handled. We will never know of course as she had no history and was a ''green'' ship without any known track record in that department.
A year or two in service, along with a few North Atlantic ''blasts'' would have given all hands
some idea of her ''characteristics''.
After just 5 days at sea, it would have been fairly difficult to generalise her wheel carrying capabilities, especially in the good weather she had experienced from berth to collision.
One complete turn on most ships wheels registers 5 degrees on the rudder indicator generally speaking.
The 5 turns either way appears to be quite a lot but older vessels were a bit of a ''work up''and that could be right.

The ''wheel spin''I mentioned is important to a QM and is determined by the steering mechanism and positive displacement gear which can cause broken wrists, thumbs and knuckles.
In my experience rudder indicators can give a ''bum steer''although not too important when steering by compass but a bugger during pilotage.

However, I think you've answered my questions by what we know so far.



As everyone's favourite villain I won't respond to those other posts as I'm sure to end up in the ''sin bin''

All the best,

David
 
Oct 28, 2000
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Steve -- Oh that all this discussion were about my book. That would be publicity. What I see, however, is primarily people arguing over the civility of their argument. Pretty silly stuff that casts no additional light on either Titanic the ship or my book, "Last Log."

When arguments get personal, the root cause is usually a lack of understanding of the original topic. Apparently, personal attacks are easier than careful development of counterpoints crafted through research and reason.

None of the contentious discussion above has brought to light anything not hashed over in other threads and during other years. That's why the postings turned first to personal opinion and finally to personal attack. What else was left to do?

The answer, of course, is "do more research." Not all of the facts needed to understand the maneuvers of Titanic between 11:30 and 11:40 p.m. have been placed into this debate. And, the biggest problem is that no one here has made any attempt at putting everything into context. So, we have had a discussion among blind men about an elephant.

Forming conclusions without sufficient facts is not something unique to the ET forum. Last night, one of the cable TV channels replayed the "Answers From The Abyss" 2-part documentary. The show allowed some formidable scientists to study the wreck for the purpose of giving final answers to the question, "what happened?" The problem was that none of the scientists involved were historians. As a result, the conclusion of the scientists about how the ship broke apart (top down) meant that baker Joughin could not have survived. And, their conclusion that a portion of the keel connected bow and stern until both were several hundred feet under water meant the stern section could not have rotated as eyewitnesses described. Good science cannot reach valid conclusions unless it is based upon good history.

So, despite all the academic learning displayed by the TV scientists, and the money spent diving to the wreck, the results were not in context. Therefore, the concluions were historically invalid. The same has been true of the above arguments in this thread. An historically valid description of what happened at 11:40 p.m. must take into account not just the helm and engine orders. It has to fit the larger picture of how ships steer, the direction and speed of Titanic, the standing orders to the lookout, the other tasks being done by the officers, the so-called "delayed" turn at "The Corner," the nature of the accident, the location of the damage, and dozens of other aspects of the accident.

Oh yes, an historically valid description of the accident also has to take into account Newton's Laws, the Bernoulli effect, the density of ice, and the sounds icebergs make. It cannot ignore that while a classical "crash stop" was not performed, many people first thought something went wrong at the stern of the ship. And, an historically valid description must explain the difference between real motion and relative motion as it pertains to witnesses on the ship.

After all that's done, the historically valid description must have as a working assumption that all of the testimony was "true" in the minds of the witnesses. For instance, Boxhall's "astern full" must be reconciled with Olliver's "only stop." Or, Hichens' "hard a-starboard" must be brought into context with descriptions of two witnesses who saw the ship heading straight for the deadly berg until the last minute. And, with that done, it is necessary to explain in context the "hard a-port" command recalled by Olliver.

Does such an historically valid theory of what happened exist? Yes. It is contained within the new manuscript, "How They Sank Titanic." However, until this manuscript is published this elegantly simple answer remains the intellectual property of Captain Erik Wood. He was able to explain what happened in a couple of sentences during the Maine Maritime symposium. As it belongs to Erik, I cannot publish it here without his permission. However, what he says makes perfect sense, especially if you know the differences in the paths used by Boxhall and Olliver to get to the bridge. In other words, Erik put things in context.

So, I urge everyone to quit arguing and get on with the work. Erik may not have the only plausible scenario for how the accident took place. But, from the bickering above, it appears that few people on the ET forum have anything half as good to suggest and would rather argue than think.

-- David G. Brown
 
Mar 3, 1998
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quote:

The ''wheel spin''I mentioned is important to a QM and is determined by the steering mechanism and positive displacement gear which can cause broken wrists, thumbs and knuckles.

David,

I, too, have wondered how well Titanic's telemotor system helped the QMs out in this regard. We know how Titanic's system was designed to act, but as you point out, what is known in design and what was experienced in reality can be two entirely different things.

One related fact that may be of interest to you...the wheel on the aft docking bridge was a direct mechanical connection and didn't use the telemotor system.

Parks​
 
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David Haisman

Guest
Parks,

Yes, the emergency steering gear aft being directly connected would have certainly been an improvement in those days.
On some shipping company's during boat and fire drill day, many years after Titanic, the emergency steering gear aft would have to be connected up. This would entail ''marrying up'' to universal joints as part of the exercise to ensure the whole system was in working order.

Quite a slow procedure if I remember rightly and we hoped we would never have to use it.

David H
 
Mar 3, 1998
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David,

As you have pointed out, there are many devices aboard ship that have a purpose on paper, but would be damned difficult to work in real practice.

I'm still trying to figure out, for example, how some of the various anchors seen affixed to the deck on Titanic were meant to be deployed. Or how the collapsibles were meant to be lowered from the Officers' Quarters deckhouse. The awful truth may very well be that the designers were required by regulations to accommodate these devices, but included no practical means for the crew to use them.

Parks
 
Jun 11, 2000
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Well, I think this just about does it.

"None of the contentious discussion above has brought to light anything not hashed over in other threads and during other years. That's why the postings turned first to personal opinion and finally to personal attack. What else was left to do?"

This is remarkably accurate, but does not go far enough. Of course virtually everything there is to say about the Titanic has been said over the years here - it's been going for years. But that does not mean that you veterans of the Board should loftily dismiss more recent arrivals' comments, and merely instruct them to flog through years of contradictory stuff written by you. The fact that you are still arguing amongst yourselves suggests that you can't all possibly be right, for a start. You all bicker away and, when it suits you, complain that others are resorting to personal abuse. Personally, I don't mind that at all, as it makes the Board alive and interesting, but I have never read such self-congratulatory and reinforcing hypocrisy as the last four posts (Brown, Haisman, Stephenson). You gentlemen don't have to resort to a Board for this sort of thing - you could just email each other, and let everyone else get on with showing their interest in things which you believe are foregone conclusions through your experience or research. If you choose to do it on a Board, then you should respect other people's inexperience, interest, and - I might add - professional abilities, like being a good mathematician or engineer - no matter how young they are. And, I might add, the young tend to be impatient and forceful in their remarks, rightly or wrongly; something which, if you want to post in a public arena, you should take into account too without resorting to the personal remarks you say you deplore.
And this thread is NOT an advertisement for David Brown's book, no matter how much it may look like it. Nor should anyone say it's a good thing he has not had the time to peruse this thread since others are arguing ... and then spend ages replying at supportive length to cronies.

This Board is not going to survive with elder statesmen reiterating their views and patronising newcomers. Nor will it survive if argument is suppressed in newcomers but permitted amongst the elder statesmen. I have met some lovely people, and had a very good time posting here - mostly fairly ignorant and sometimes frivolous things I freely admit - but I might have contributed something. You never know. However, I think I will now have to leave it to the venerables and those Guest Thread posters who, as has recently been pointed out to me, ask innocent questions - often only to be directed to incomprehensible threads or Inquiries.

Some people merely drift away, you may have noticed, but I think an explanation is due. I may sometimes visit, say, the Gilded Age thread, but that is because it is populated by people actually convivially enjoying a common interest. You 'techies' might try it sometime..
 
D

David Haisman

Guest
Hi all,
Although not on topic, perhaps this is a good a time as any to just put one or two things into perspective in the light of what has been said in recent posts.
Everything I write is from my own experiences and memory. When at sea in the 60's, in the port of Southampton we had around 5000 to 6000 seamen a week passing through the port. Ships were always anchored in the Cowes Roads waitng for a berth.
With the ''Queen'' Liners arriving every week with crews of over a thousand, troopships, cruise liners, Royal Mail and various Cunarders, Union Castle liners and umpteen cargo ships and tankers, it's easy to see the wide choice of ships we had.
It must be hard for people these days to understand the wealth of experience connected to this life style we had on offer.
Some of us sailed on up to 6 different ships a year and as Able Seamen, were always in great demand. As young men, we changed our ships just for the hell of it or to chase the sun.
When writing my autobiography in Brisbane, ''Raised On The Titanic'' my publisher advised that I should not include too many ships as this would only appeal to a certain few and I would never get the thing out in the time frame I wanted.
Why am I telling you all of this?
Mainly because people today, probably under their fifties, would find it hard to believe and decide that so much experience can only be ''bull''
Not a bit of it. The only problem these days is how much I've forgotten!
However, you can take it or leave it but please, think carefully before knocking it.
For those that live purely by the written word, I feel sorry for them and their lives will certainly hold many surprises for their journeys through life.
My intentions have always been to ''liven'' this fascinating yet tragic story up and to run it as close as possible to it's original state.

I wont enter into any further debate on this but I only wish that some out there could have had just a fraction of what I've had.

Assuring you of my best intentions at all times,

Yours Sincerely,
David Haisman
 
Mar 3, 1998
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Monica.

Even though David Haisman and I have not exchanged the most civil words in the past, he asked an honest question earlier in the thread and since I had come across some of the answer he was looking for during the course of my research, I saw no reason not to share what I had. He, in turn, responded with some insight into how some of what one might find in books relates to real practice. I found the exchange beneficial and hope that he did, too. How you could find that exchange "self-congratulatory and reinforcing hypocrisy" is beyond me. Maybe if you would spend less time being offended and more time listening, you might learn a thing or two, and not just about Titanic. Or, if you don't need to learn anything, maybe you could provide answers to questions that I raised in my last post.

Parks
 
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David Haisman

Guest
Parks,

It's a worthy observation to note the extra equipment stowed on ship's decks, for instance the extra prop nearly always stowed on the poop deck. To my knowledge it's a BOT requirement and considered as an ''available spare'' when in foreign country's and prevents waiting for these huge items to be shipped out if required.
The collapsibles quite frankly, always appeared as an after thought to me and probably stowed to prevent cluttering up passenger deck space.
Ships as you know do on the occasion slip an anchor and again a spare is available and in some cases, also a kedge anchor aft.

David H
 

Paul Rogers

Member
Jun 1, 2000
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I have always enjoyed splashing around in the shallows of Titanic's story. Without any pretence of being a researcher myself, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading the work of those that have spent their time, energy and money on learning more about her story. I am indebted to those researchers (and those that have actually experienced seafaring) for their generosity in making their work and experiences available in the public domain, and they - and Phil Hind, of course - must take the credit for much that I have learned about Titanic and other ships over the years.

Even more than the above, I have enjoyed the social aspects of the Board, even the (sometimes heated) debates that have ensued. Let me be honest: I have found that they have added "spice" to the whole experience as long as they haven't turned to personal invective - which happens too frequently for my tastes.

Certainly all of my posts have indeed been: "Pretty silly stuff that casts no additional light on...Titanic..." and I am equally sure that nothing I have ever posted has: "brought to light anything not hashed over in other threads and during other years." I also have no personal desire to: "do more research" or "get on with the work" as I only joined the Board for recreation, and not for work.

It is, therefore well overdue that I stopped wasting bandwidth and left the Board free for the professional researchers to further uncover the mysteries of Titanic's story. I look forward to reading their work over the coming months and years.

With my very best regards to all,
Paul.
 
Mar 3, 1998
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David,

For the life of me, I don't see any means for deploying the kedge anchor. Would you have any insight on how Titanic's kedge would have been used, if needed? The only thing I can figure is that it was manhandled to where it needed to go. In my experience aboard more modern ships, there was always hoisting machinery available (either fixed or wheeled), but I see nothing of the like in Titanic.

Parks
 
Jul 9, 2000
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Supposedly, that crane way up forward was there for just deploying that big anchor up forward, but I don't see how it could have been handily used in a crisis...which I understand is what it was there for. Personally, I think it was there more to keep the lawmakers happy, not in any reasonable expectation that it could be used in a hurry if needed. What I'm wondering is if deploying that beast was even ever attempted. That small crane looks mighty flimsy to handle a 15 1/2 ton anchor. I wouldn't want to be anywhere near that thing when it was tried either!
 

Inger Sheil

Member
Feb 9, 1999
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Monica and Paul -

I would regard the loss or even limiting of your participation in any of the topic forums as a loss to all of us.

Monica, I have never thought of you (or anyone else, for that matter) in terms of being somehow a second-class citizen because you happened to come across this board at a later date than some of the earlier posters. I've read your posts with delight and interest, and have often had to pause and reassess my approach when you've explored an angle that hadn't been considered.

Paul, I don't know if this board has elder statesmen, but if it did you would be one of them. Not by virtue of longevity on ET, either - but through your personality, gentleness and insight into human beings.

I have had the great pleasure of having met Parks and David H. in person, and I regard them as fine thinkers and fine human beings - even when I don't agree with them. I think it the greatest pity that they can't sit down face to face in the same room and talk - I would dearly love to be a by-stander for any such meeting.

I haven't had the chance to meet Alicia in person, or even interact with her much as our areas of interest don't seem to coincide (although there is some overlap), but I have admired both her vigour and her methodology. I might not always agree with what she posts, but she strikes me as one of the folks who is contributing a tremendous amount to interpretation of the evidence in this field of popular history. I have sometimes thought that there might be a hint of hostility in some responses to her posts (not necessarily in this thread, but going back in the past) that might relate to perceptions of her as a newcomer encroaching on the fiercely guarded territories established in the technical field, but that's just my subjective interpretation and I could be quite wrong.

There are a good many people watching this thread who have not participated in it. It is terribly frustrating for us, as there are some excellent points being made that are in danger of being swamped in the murkiness of acrimony. Don't let that obscure your often excellent and thought-provoking posts.
 
Mar 3, 1998
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Michael,

I'm not sure that I understand what you are saying...are you suggesting that the forward anchor crane was to be used to hoist the forward kedge anchor? It's not close enough to be used for that purpose. And there's certainly no crane near the kedge anchor back on the poop. Or did you mention the forward crane as a completely separate example of something installed, but not planned for practical use? In that case, I know that Olympic deployed her centre anchor on at least one occasion.

Parks
 
Mar 3, 1998
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As I have stated so often in the past, I have no quarrel with anyone who has an idea, no matter what their background or experience might be. I will debate unproven theory or matters of individual interpretation with anyone, assuming that the debate remains civil. In disputes over matters of fact, I will provide my facts and require proof of fact for opposing points of view. I always strive to respond in kind...if someone shows me respect or civility, I will return it. If someone resorts to insult or denigration, then I may respond in kind.

My entire line of research into Titanic is based on one fundamental premise -- that none of us can know exactly what happened the night the ship foundered. That means that there are no true Titanic "experts," just different people with different ideas on how we can best put together the puzzle with the few pieces that we do have. Some hold very important pieces of the puzzle, some don't, but even those who don't might have a fresh perspective on how to place a given piece.

There are others who will take greater pains than me to rise to deliberate baiting (Inger's seemingly endless patience never fails to amaze me). Other than that, I don't see any better way to involve myself in this forum. I am, however, always open to suggestions offered without insult.

Parks
 
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David Haisman

Guest
Just to clarify some of those questions as I see them. The small crane on Titanic's fo'cstle would be used for a number of tasks relating to cable locker and general anchor work but doubtful for lifting the anchor.
The Titanic had a small ''jumbo'' (large derrick) on her foremast and when ''tabled round'' and swung out with the aid of purchase gear would be able to lift the anchor from the fo'cstle deck and load it onto a barge for connection to the anchor cable from the housing recess at the bottom of the hawespipe.
Alternatively, this would be done at the dockside by floating or shore crane.

Kedge anchors are fitted anchors aft and are for use on ships that trade within river ports generally.
When at anchor in a river and swinging with the tide could endanger her stern ending up on the bank, a kedge is used.
The Ascania, Saxonia, Ivernia, Franconia, Scythia, Samaria and all other Cunarders on the St. Lawrence voyages up to Quebec and Montreal, all had kedge anchors.

Hope this helps,

All the best,

David H
 
Jul 9, 2000
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>>Or did you mention the forward crane as a completely separate example of something installed, but not planned for practical use? In that case, I know that Olympic deployed her centre anchor on at least one occasion. <<

The latter. Sorry if I got things confused. I guess I should have turned into my rack a little earlier then I did. I know it was used once, (I don't remember where I read about it.) but I would still be wary about the thing. The whole arrangement just looks clumsy, and if that article Steve posted a link to is any indication, it probably was.
 

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