No Iceberg


Dave Gittins

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Mar 16, 2000
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If you think Pellegrino is potty and Gardiner is a goose, you ain't seen nothing yet! Here is part of an e-mail I received today.

The Titanic puzzle:
An ice pilot's theory on how the RMS Titanic sunk
By CAPT. LEWIS M. COLLINS
Special to The Telegram
http://www.thetelegr am.com/
This article is under the Top Stories-Features section in the St. John's
newspaper.

The 'article' is a letter from the author of a new book. His 'theory' has been on the Internet for several years.

What is it about Titanic that sends normally sane people off with the fairies?
 

Steve Santini

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Nov 22, 2000
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Hi Dave and all,
I read the link you posted. I think the gentleman is forgetting about the ice that fell off of the berg and made it into the forward well deck of Titanic. I cannot imagine these fragments coming from pack ice or growlers as these types of ice have no height to speak of. I saw other problems with his theory but I thought I would just point out this one for now. Kind regards, Steve Santini
 
Oct 28, 2000
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I have corresponded with Captain Collins on-and-off for several years. He knows that I do not "buy" his theory about the damage.. I remain convinced of the iceberg. We have agreed to disagree.

However, I have found his knowledge of ice and most particularly of "seeing" conditions around ice to be most helpful. The man is experienced with the type of conditions faced by Titanic on the night of April 14. That's something that few of us on the board can claim. His experience alone gives him the right to a fair judgement of his work. I am looking forward to reading his book.

I must also remind everyone that getting published requires many things -- among them a "hook" that makes your book different and new. Captain Collins theory on how the ship was damaged is just such a "hook." Do not confuse the necessities of the publishing world for the message of the total work.

In the end, he may not convince us. But, let's read the book first.

--David G. Brown
 
Oct 13, 2000
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Collins' article is quite interesting. I am doubtful of his conclusions, but am impressed with the author's credentials, so I will certainly be reading this book with an open mind. his initial article can still be viewed on-line:

http://ourworld.comp userve.com/homepages /DionCollins/

getting his book is more of a conundrum. it was originally supposed to be released last Xmas season, but some copyright issues delayed publication. the last I heard was that the book was going to be out for the 90th anniversary, but as far as I know it is still not available.

unfortunately, the publisher, Breakwater Books has a deplorable customer relations department. I last called them in February to inquire about how the book is coming along, and they never even bothered to return my call.

if anyone has confirmation that the book is actually available, I would love to hear about it.
best, Michael (TheManInBlack) T
 
Jul 9, 2000
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Easley South Carolina
So would I Mike. While I don't buy into the idea that there was no iceberg...let's face it...too many witnesses actually saw the bloody thing, Collin's insights on ice conditions and navigation should be most useful.

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 
Sep 20, 2000
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My own thoughts concur with most of yours already expressed. I too have a hard time envisioning a "NO iceberg" scenario. (Steve's sensible counter about the ice on deck certainly rings true for me.) But beyond that, the pack ice notion doesn't seem very far removed at all from the "submerged base" OR grounding perspectives, as far as I can yet tell.

I definitely see this book as a potentially valuable addition to the literature, based on the man's own substantial level of experience in ice navigation, as David Brown aptly pointed out. That alone is an insight I don't want to miss out on.

The book is indeed now finally available -- just released on the 14th of April -- directly from Breakwater:

The Sinking of the Titanic: An Ice Pilot’s Perspective
Author: Captain L. Marmaduke Collins
Price: $18.95
Trade Paperback / 220 pages
Publisher: Breakwater Books Ltd. ( www.breakwater.nf.net )
Toll-free: 1-800-563-3333

(Naturally, that would be $18.95 Canadian.)

Cheers,
John
 
Sep 12, 2000
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Dear Dave Brown,

The silly post got us thinking. And Captain Collins may have had a hook in his writing, but the only person who posted it here for the others to know about was Dave Gittins. You and Tennaro knew, but never gave us a heads up.

But one thing that also sells books is word of mouth. You may have a hook the size of Titanic's anchor, but word of mouth advertizing will sell more of anything, including books, than anything else I know of.

"I must also remind everyone that getting published requires many things -- among them a 'hook' that makes your book different and new. Captain Collins theory on how the ship was damaged is just such a 'hook'. Do not confuse the necessities of the publishing world for the message of the total work."

So, your ice shelf is just a way-out there in the outer universe type of publishing necessity to get me to purchase two of your last log books, but was merely done to sell the book?

Hmmmmm, ....and to think I respected you. hehehehe

Wait, does this mean that if I come to the Toledo thingy next year that I'm shark bait.....hmmmm.

Bought two of your book, may do the same with this one.

Maureen.
 
Oct 28, 2000
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Maureen -- While I knew Captain Collins was writing a book, I had not knowledge of when it would be published. The only "heads up" that I received came from this forum.

My posting was to remind everyone that ideas are sacred...right or wrong. I was rather badly mistreated last June when I presented the grounding White Paper that Parks and I produced. I shall not forget that event. One way in which I plan to "get even" is to remind everyone of the necessity to give ideas a fair and unfettered chance. Many of us will be surprised if Captain Collins proves correct, but he has the right to present his views and we have the duty to weigh them impartially.

Regarding journalistic "hooks"...the funny thing is that the grounding idea was not a major part of my book. It turned out that way, but only after publication. My "hook" was simply to look at the events through the eyes of a mariner instead of through the viewpoint of the passengers.

Nobody can be "shark bait" in Toledo. We have no sharks. Pity.

Two books--one for each eye?

-- David G. Brown
 
Oct 13, 2000
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Maureen, we weren't holding out on you. as I mentioned, this book has been promised to "be available soon", only to be delayed more than once. I don't post a notice that a book is out until I know for a fact that it is indeed available for sale.
 
G

Gavin Murphy

Guest
FYI, this theory is not new. He originally pitched it months ago, but the book maybe new.

G
 
Sep 12, 2000
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Michael Tennaro is a very special person here who helps us a lot to get notice on books and I also recognize that Dave Brown would honor a confidence of a book if he did know ahead of time. Release dates do get changed a lot. I am sorry, I was merely trying to point out that while the above post may come across as saying the book is not worthy of review...at least it made us aware. And word of mouth is the best advertisement. Saying that you had not told us was unnecessary roughness and I am sorry.

Also, Dave, I really thought the white paper was a well written paper and posted my professional opinion as a person who does do a lot of writing. I have no way of knowing what happened in June as I am not privy to that part of the board. And mine was the only post and it was in July.

Reviews of anything are hard to do and hard to take. Research Feasibility Studies and Proposals are really hard to do and they take a different skill. But reviewing someone else's White Paper is not something that the average person knows how to deal with from a review process. But I do this a lot in my job.

So, when folks ask me to review their stuff, I am extremely brutal. In person edits or in writing like email, I present my comments in 4 sections: edits/corrections, content, flow/logic, and does it meet its intended goal or purpose...stuff like that normally. But I never, ever do it with malice. With people I like, love or even with people I do not like, I can read and stay objective. I have to. But anyone who is brutal in their critique is only trying to be the author's friend.

I own some of Pelligrino's books and some others that some criticize here, and yes, every idea or thought should be heard out. I believe that as well.

In regards to the two book comment. I did buy two of your books. One for my own library and one for someone else. I normally buy at least two books, one for my library and one for an unnamed person. The unnamed person books are then sent to people who for whatever reason could not obtain Titanic books.

For example, I purchased, received and boxed up from ABEBOOKs about 6 books to someone in Europe a while back and I have done it for others. I have purchased books from Gavin Murphy and David Haisman with 2 or 3 copies being sent out. And I bought your book for myself and another on this board. I do not do it for money or anything else. The people have never asked me to do it. I just did it. I am receiving 2 Bowditch in the near future.

Once while researching, I went somewhere and found some interesting information on another ship while I was looking for something else and simply sent photocopies of the data to two people I knew were interested in it. I even had a Franklin Mint Rose doll dinner dress that I sent to someone.

So, I will no doubt purchase two of the books and hopefully whoever gets the 2nd copy will appreciate it. Maybe they sell them on eBay. I hope that I never know that.

But I may have to buy more as the two eye thing sounds like it may work better for me. hehehehehe

I am just teasing about the ice shelf. I had no clue that it was sensitive for you and I am sorry.

Maureen.
 
Mar 18, 2000
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I see the book is also listed as available at Amazon.com, but with 6 to 8 weeks delivery.

I sure would be interested in hearing from anyone who gets ahold of a copy.
 
Oct 28, 2000
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Maureen -- buying two copies of every book -- you are a true "author's angel."

Regarding criticisms of a published work -- fair game provided that you have read the work in its entirety and have sufficient personal knowledge of the subject matter to make valid judgements. I object only to jumping to conclusions without having read the material.

Jumping to conclusions is dangerous. One fellow thought he was late for his ferry. He saw it about ten feet from the dock, so made a daring leap and sprawled on deck. His pants were split, his knees bloody and the contents of his briefcase were blowing in the wind. "I made it," he said proudly to the deckhand who helped him to his feet. "Yes," the deckhand replied. "But why didn't you wait until we docked. We weren't pulling out...we were coming in."

--David G. Brown
 
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Oct 13, 2000
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Maureen, think nothing of it.

anyone who is interested in having a solid review of their writing won't go wrong by asking Maureen for her opinion. she looked at a piece I did a while back, and was immeasurably helpful to me. her advice was so useful that I keep that email close to hand and reread it quite often to keep the proper focus of what I am trying to write.

Gavin, you are correct that this information was originally an on-line article which Collins did quite a while back. I posted a link to the article, see above. the book, however, is new, and (I assume) muchly expanded from the article.

best, Michael (TheManInBlack) T
 
Oct 13, 2000
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Hi all,
I had the opportunity to read Captain Collins' book over the weekend, and found it to be very intriquing, even though I did find myself remaining skeptical about some of his conclusions. before I go into this further though I would like to amend a statement I made on April 17th, wherein I called the customer relations department at Breakwater deplorable. at that time I was reacting to a frustrating experience wherein over a several month period I was having a difficult time getting anyone with Breakwater to return my calls about the availability of this book.

now that the book is available, however, my experience has been only positive. my order was processed quickly, shipped promptly and arrived so fast I almost thought someone flew it down from Newfoundland to Tampa personally. a small glitch with the order was ironed out by Breakwater very smoothly.

my review of Captain Collins' book will follow shortly.
 
May 8, 2001
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Glad you have been able to read this book. I have a few questions I have been meaning to ask RE: Captain Smith and his training before I bought this book and sat down to read it. I will be anxious to hear the review!
Colleen (Coaleen) :)
 
Oct 13, 2000
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The Sinking of the Titanic, An Ice Pilot's Perspective. A Review.

The primary purpose of this book is to propose a radical new theory about the Titanic collision, that the ship smashed not into a berg, but rather into low lying pack ice. In actuality though, only about half the book is devoted to this subject. There are additional chapters on several wide-ranging topics, including a look at Captain Smith's navigation, the case of the Californian, and fourth officer Boxhall's famous wreck position coordinates.

The first subject, that the ship never hit an iceberg at all, but rather pack ice, is a daring theory. Before you scoff too much, take a look at the author's credentials. Collins is one of the very few authors to write on this subject who has had personal experience dealing with icebergs. He is a retired master mariner, with over four decades of experience navigating vessels on the North Atlantic, which included many years of work as an ice pilot in the Newfoundland and Labrador Harbour, Coastal and Ice Pilotage Service.

In roughly 20 pages Collins develops the arguments for this theory. The writing style is straight forward, and the information is related in a logical progression. One clever touch is an interesting analogy of how a ship handles by comparing it to attempting to steer a bus in reverse. Some of the author's evidence is tempting, such as lookout Frederick Fleet's initial descriptions of what lie ahead, comparing what he saw to two tables pushed together. Other parts I had more of a problem with, such as asking me to believe that quartermaster Rowe mistook a six foot high ice field for an 100 foot tall berg at close proximity while it drifted past the starboard side of the ship.

Following that chapter is an additional 65 pages of supportive testimony culled from the American and British inquiries as well as passenger eyewitness accounts. This testimony is annotated by the author, but only sporadically. I would have liked to see the author jump in more often with his thoughts and insights. You will have to judge for yourself whether the author succeeds in making his case. I remain skeptical. The theory makes for intriguing reading, yet I felt it was not developed enough.

The next chapter contains a brief look at Captain Smith's navigation during the maiden voyage. It has always seemed illogical to me that Smith was as nonchalant in his attitude to the dangers of ice ahead of the ship as history seems to want us to believe. Collins does a very credible job of explaining that, quite the opposite, Smith reacted with sound judgment to the information that was at his disposal to navigate the ship in a safe and responsible manner.

The next substantial section of the book looks at the case of the Californian, and whether this vessel was the infamous mystery ship that watched the disaster unfold, but never came to help. The author's experience really comes to the fore in this section, and he explains in a very clear and concise manner why the Californian could not have been close enough to be seen by those on Titanic. His own research has unearthed a brand new possibility for the identity of the mystery vessel. There follows another chapter that again includes excerpts of testimony from the inquiries on this subject.

Finally there is something of a bombshell theory wrapping up this volume. The author believes that fourth officer Boxhall's CQD position was not, I repeat, not wrong. The fact that the wreck was found some 13 miles east of Boxhall's coordinates and somewhat south of them requires a powerful argument indeed to be taken seriously. Collins proposes that after Titanic sank (intact by the way) it possibly turned turtle, capturing air in some compartments which kept it buoyant, slowly settling towards the bottom and drifting east at the same time. I am obviously simplifying Collins' explanations, but that is the gist of the argument.

He then suggests that years after impacting on the bottom, the well documented undersea earthquake of 1929 shoved the wreck even further east, breaking it in two in the process. Collins' supporting arguments, unfortunately, are weaker here than in any other part of the book. The evidence given does not in any way support such a radical theory.

As a whole, the author certainly has developed some fascinating concepts. I would have liked to see his arguments more fully developed, particularly in the pack ice and Boxhall CQD position chapters. Still, the theories are intriguing enough to make this book worth your time.
 
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