Mystery Ship the Samson


Erik Wood

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I have just read the Samson was a seal pouching ship with it's running lights off about two miles away from Titanic. When Titanic started firing flares the Samson assumed that it was a british frigate attempting to capture the pouched seals. So she left her running lights off and got up steam and left. Not till her arrival in Boston did she realize her mistake. This ship was moored in Cleveland, OH for the fair of the 1930's and was later a coal ship that burned in Nova Scotia or off of it. What does anybody know of this. I have read very little but the more I ask other sailors the more they seem to know about it. Especially the old timers. I am very interested if any of you have any further information.

Erik
 

Erik Wood

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It was but had steam power. I thought I read she was steam powered. Do you know anything further. Is this just a theory or a fact.
 
T

Tracey McIntire

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Hi!
The Sampson was a sailing ship. Port records in Iceland prove that she could not have been in the area of the sinking as she was in port only a few days afterward and it was impossible for her to travel that quickly. For a very detailed look at the Sampson see Leslie Reade's book "The Ship That Stood Still." This totally debunks the myth that the Sampson was the mystery ship.
Sincerely,
Tracey McIntire
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Erik, if you have a copy of Titanic, Triumph and Tragedy, you can find a photo of the Samson on page 175. She was a three masted sailing vessel and not a steamer. If you don't have the book, you can get it from Amazon.com. Well worth the money if only for the extensive photograhic record and the ships plans which come complete with cabin numbers.

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 

Dave Gittins

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Samson had both power and sail, but that's about where the truth of the story ends. Leslie Reade took the trouble to document her whereabouts at the time of the sinking from Icelandic port records, but he need not have bothered, as the story was obvious equine excreta from day 1.

For one thing, the original version of the tale, published in Norway, put Samson off Cape Hatteras. Secondly, there was nothing illegal about seal hunting on the high seas (and probably not many seals to hunt).

It's just another of the many stories from people with big mouths that clutter the tale. It ranks with Luis Klein, the bloke who found Titanic's lookout asleep in the crow's nest.
 

Erik Wood

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I did look the Sampson up in the registary and she is registered as a sail/steam ship. She was at some fair in Cleveland, OH. She could have made that trip from Titanic's location to where ever it is she moored. It was only three or four days away.

Erik
 

George Behe

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Eric Wood wrote:

>I did look the Sampson up in the registary and >she is registered as a
>sail/steam ship. She was at some fair in >Cleveland, OH. She could have
>made that trip from Titanic's location to where >ever it is she moored.
>It was only three or four days away.

Hi, Eric!

Leslie Read discovered that the Samson was capable of steaming at 6 knots (a speed which might have increased slightly if she used her auxiliary sails.) According to Walter Lord, even the Mauretania (at 26 knots) couldn't have steamed from the disaster site to the Icelandic port of Isafjorthur in the short length of time that Samson was alleged to have done so.

Despite the fact that occasional authors still trot out the tired old Samson story in an attempt to 'clear' the Californian, the Samson was not the 'mystery ship' seen by the Titanic.

All my best,

George
 

Erik Wood

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I was told she moored in Boston or Baltimore not Iceland. I will look that one up too! You may be right though. You know how sailors and there stories are.

Erik
 

Erik Wood

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I tend to think that the Samson is a old wives tale. But still rather interesting. Why would someone want to say they where there and could have helped but didn't. And there for be a down cast. In some respects people may have placed the death tole on the crew of the Samsons head.

Erik
 

Erik Wood

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That very well could be but I can't help but wonder if I would have done the same in Lords shoes. Would I have turned the wireless on? I don't know. Everybody who knows what happened is dead so I guess we will never know.

Erik
 

Erik Wood

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Michael,

Thanks for the vote of confidence but in the middle of the night a cold night at that one does never know. I still think there must or might be more to the Samson story then we all know. Somewhat like why Hichens disappeared after Titanic met her fate. I also think I am going to write a book on Titanic more on her people on board and era which explains a lot of what happened on Titanic.

Erik
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Hi Erik, I think both Dave and George cut to the quick regarding the Samson, but since you want to do a book, you may find it worthwhile to research the Icelandic port records for yourself. In fact, it will probably be essential for you to do just that if you even think of commenting on the Californian Incident. The problem I have with the Samson story is that there doesn't seem to be a primary source for it other then the one Dave mentioned and that one places the Samson off Cape Hattaras at the timew the Titanic went down.

I hope you go into a lot of engineering details in your book. General technical stuff has been covered, but detailed engineering descriptions, layouts, arrangements and data seems to be lacking. I'd like to see that.

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 
May 9, 2001
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Michael and Erik,

I am wondering about what happens to large ships when they are left to drift. Specifically, will they tend to turn parallel to the current?
As with a rudder or weathervane in a breeze.
Or do they just sit still.

Yuri
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Yuri, a lot would depend on the conditions. If all your playing with is a current, the ship will drift with it. The only time I've seen a ship weathervane bow on into a current is when she's anchored. If you have winds and waves, the ship will turn broadside into same...and eventually would do the same in a current alone.

I'm sure Erik knows more then I do on this and can better explain it, and I may have my facts mixed up too, so I'll defer to him.

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 

Erik Wood

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Good Afternoon Michael, and others,

It really depends on the size of the ship. If the current is strong enough it can take you and kind of drag you and eventually turn you around depending. Speaking from expeirance the main of ship can act like a sail but 30 knots of wind is equal to 1 knot of current. Meaning, that 1 knot of current is more potent. The titanic would have been dragged in more south west direction because of the labrador current and the Califonian would have been the same. In a current situation with out power your rudder is useless. Just because the wind blows one way doesn't mean that that is the way you will go. You will go with the current. The wind may slow you down somewhat but the current will take you. I have slammed many a pier becaue I under estimated the strength of current. I hope that you understand what I said and I didn't mumbo jumbo it.

Erik
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Not to worry, Erik,I've seen what currents can do and why, in that they are backed up by the moving mass of the entire ocean...or river if you're on an inland waterway. I watched a tanker make a turn on the Mississippi River in New Orleans and I noticed that they started their turn befor they even reached the bend. Even then, the current nearly slammed the ship into the river bank.

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 

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