Port List


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Aaron_2016

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It is interesting that survivors felt a strong list to port and others did not, and some felt the downward tilt and yet others said it was barely noticeable. The timing of these accounts overlapped yet they had different opinions of the tilt and list. I live on a hill which overlooks a harbour and slipway. I noticed that when I wear different footwear (shoes, boots, or trainers) and stand on the hill and the harbour slip way and face different positions I get a completely different opinion of the tilt downwards or the list sideways (depending on which the way I am facing). It made me wonder, if the survivors' footwear had some part to play in their estimations of the starboard list, and the port list, and the downward tilt. Is it possible that their footwear affected their estimations?


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Oct 28, 2000
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Footwear would have played a part in how people perceived the list and/or tilt of the deck. Fashionably high heels are an obvious possibility as would be slippery new leather soles. Of course it would all be personal opinion with the fears of the individual (or lack thereof) greatly coloring perception. Hard to quantify the impact of footwear, however, beyond saying it would have had some influenced on perceptions.

-- David G. Brown
 

Arun Vajpey

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I doubt very much of footwear would have played a major part in people's feel of the list. With most people, they get used to their sense of balance with the shoes they usually wear and so unless a man was wearing a woman's high heels to pretend to be one and get a lifeboat place this is highly unlikely.

On the other hand, individual perception of a tilt (such as a ship's list) depend on several variable factors. Experienced sailors and seasoned travellers would have developed their "sea legs" and so would be less affected by the list; they would quantify it accordingly. But more importantly, there are variations with age, state of health, alcohol in the system etc all of which can affect the labyrinthine function and therefore perception of the list. There are also individual variations which cannot be explained - some people simply have a better sense of balance than others and so what is a significant list to one would be barely noticeable to another.
 
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Arun -- I agree we get used to the shoes we wear. However most people never walk on a sloping surface except for short ramps, etc. That's why I said I didn't think it would be hard to quantify the effect of footwear. You mentioned the way people perceive a list/heel. Having commanded passenger sailing vessels, all I can say is "Amen!" Some people get terrified at a 10 degree heel while others seem to enjoy the experience. Different long splices for different ships.

-- David G. Brown
 

Arun Vajpey

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Also, in the same person something as simple as a common cold can affect their labyrinthine function and hence the sense of balance. That person would then "feel" the list more than he/she would otherwise have.

It might also depend upon the situation when a person noticed the list. Being thrown off balance while descending a flight of stairs is likely to make a greater impression on the mind rather than the gradual increase in list while standing on a flat deck. Under the latter condition, the body does compensate a bit.

Furthermore, I think we all agree that the way people quantify ("not much", "a lot" etc) something like a ship's list depends on their personality and expressiveness. Some do not like to advertise what they feel while others might exaggerate.
 
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Aaron_2016

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Some survivors just put on their slippers and a dressing gown, while others returned to their cabins and dressed formally, and I think others simply dressed in a hurry and slipped on a pair of shoes without putting their socks on and went out on deck. I'm guessing the sensation of wearing just slippers (Ismay) or shoes without socks (gentlemen's garters) would have affected their sense of balance and estimation of the ship's position. Lawrence Beesley hurriedly put on his shoes and a dressing gown and went out. He quickly noticed a very noticeable list to starboard, yet others felt nothing unusual. Without socks, would his bare toes push forward against his shoes and amplify in his mind a stronger sensation of a list or downward tilt? Other survivors I believe put on 'several' pairs of socks because it was cold outside. I wonder if this masked their perception of the list? Charles Joughin was drinking alcohol just before the ship broke in two and he said the downward tilt was barely noticeable, yet Boxhall around that same time saw her propellers in the air and believed he may have rowed underneath them as he made his way towards the open gangway door.

Ismay wore slippers and was quite vocal about the list to port. Feeling the slanted deck under his slippers must have been alarming. He said:

"We had considerable difficulty in getting our boat down at all. The ship had quite a list to port. Consequently this canvas boat, this collapsible boat, was getting hung up on the outside of the ship, and she had to rub right along her, and we had to try to shove her out, and we had to get the women to help to shove to get her clear of the ship. The ship had listed over that way."


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Harland Duzen

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While Titanic's collision with the infamous and elusive iceberg has been analysed and detailed numerous times, I realised such as in film and TV deceptions of the collision have missed a vital detail: Titanic's Port List.

Following the coal bunker fire having begun at Southampton, the crew had no choice but to empty the Starboard forward coal bunker in Boiler Room 5 by feeding the flaming coal into the boilers. by Saturday Afternoon on April 13th, the coal fire was finally emptied. However imbalance of weight caused Titanic to develop a 2.5 degree list to Port as recorded by Lawrence Beesley and others.

The following picture below shows a simulation by Kyle Hudak, Ken Marschall and Parks Stephenson:
heel.jpg


Given this is how Titanic would have appeared to sail on the night of April 14th, is it possible this list had any effect on the collision such as making the hull damage more / less severe or caused Titanic to literally graze the berg. Since we know now the Port list also caused the ship to nearly capsize during the later stages of the sinking, could this have also affected the collision?
 
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Following the coal bunker fire having begun at Southampton, the crew had no choice but to empty the Starboard forward coal bunker in Boiler Room 5 by feeding the flaming coal into the boilers.

It is more likely he coal was shifted over to the starboard coal bunker. It is mentioned at last by two sources while there is no mentioned that it was put directly into the boilers.

Given this is how Titanic would have appeared to sail on the night of April 14th, is it possible this list had any effect on the collision such as making the hull damage more / less severe or caused Titanic to literally graze the berg. Since we know now the Port list also caused the ship to nearly capsize during the later stages of the sinking, could this have also affected the collision?

I do not see how this would have affected the collision.
 
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Aaron_2016

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I spoke to a retired sailor in my home town about the port list. He believed that it would cause the ship to slowly turn right as the starboard one would be higher and closer to the surface making it less efficient and giving the port propeller more of a push. I believe it may have played a role in the collision because if Hichens was ordered to turn the ship left, the ship would resist slightly as it was pulling towards the right, so she would turn left slower than expected as she wasn't on a level keel. The port list may also have raised the starboard propeller closer to the iceberg and broke off one of the blades. As survivors heard a strong vibration after the initial collision this could have been the after effects of a dropped blade. Mr. Chambers told the US Inquiry - "The ship had a list to port nearly all afternoon". I wonder if the Titanic had not collided with the iceberg, would this port list have increased as she continued on her way to New York.

Leading fireman Fred Barrett was questioned about the starboard coal bunker. He said -

"The chief engineer, Mr. Bell, gave me orders: “Builder’s men wanted to inspect that bulkhead.”

This tells us that Mr. Andrews and Mr. Bell likely had some conversation about the possible damage inside the bunker and their concern for this greatly exceeded their desire to stabilize the ship and stop the port list.

Quartermaster Hichens may have held the wheel firmly to port to counter the turn to starboard. He was asked:
Q - Was she a good steering ship?
A - Fairly well, yes.
Q - Up to the time of the collision did she vary from her course at all?
A - Not that I am aware of, not more than a degree on either side.

The sea was flat calm like a sea of glass. Was it normal for ships to veer a degree off course with a flat calm? He described the steering as "fairly well". This was the British Inquiry. Surprised he did not give her steering a better rating than "fairly well". Perhaps the port list was causing the ship to turn and he would correct her course when the uneven propellers made her veer off a degree. The effects could have been greater, but maybe he corrected her course before she moved away too much.


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Harland Duzen

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It is more likely he coal was shifted over to the starboard coal bunker. It is mentioned at last by two sources while there is no mentioned that it was put directly into the boilers.

But the coal was on fire! Why move the coal into another coal bunker when it's at risk of then setting that coal bunker fire thereby making the problem worse?
 
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But the coal was on fire! Why move the coal into another coal bunker when it's at risk of then setting that coal bunker fire thereby making the problem worse?

The coal was not on fire. Aside that not all the coal was burning the hose was running all the time (as Barrett) said or do you really believe they were handling with burning coals?
 

Harland Duzen

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While Naturally they would have been trying to put it out, A fire clearly happened since the bulkhead ended up being slightly warped or damaged and while flammable gases did start the fire, the coal obviously kept it burning.
 
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It was not a real fire (with a lot of flames) it was a smouldering.

Maybe this might be of interest.
Titanic: Fire and Ice
 

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Harland Duzen

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I have read this paper before after the ''Senan Molony'' Conterversy surrounding his exaggerated claims. But there must have been some sort of fire since the bulkhead was found to be damaged beyond examination.

A spark from a boiler / flammable gases from the coal being shoved into Titanic's coal bunker alighted the gas and coal causing a fire which would have smouldered and damaged the bunker.

I feel we going off track on this topic. I talking more about the ship's position and the list's effects on her rather than the cause of the list.
 
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A spark from a boiler / flammable gases from the coal being shoved into Titanic's coal bunker alighted the gas and coal causing a fire which would have smoldered and damaged the bunker.
Spontaneous combustion was the cause of the bunker fire. That was not an unusual occurrence in coal fired steamers. The smoldering fire was hot enough to cause a slight warping of the bulkhead.
However imbalance of weight caused Titanic to develop a 2.5 degree list to Port as recorded by Lawrence Beesley and others.
Was the list to port noticed by Beesley caused by an emptied starboard-side coal bunker, or could it have been caused by some other reason that Sunday afternoon? A list due to the shifting of coal or any other moveable weight could have been corrected by shifting some water in the side ballast tanks in the double bottom. See Titanic's Hidden Deck. Sunday afternoon the wind was reported moderate to fresh (about 16-17 knots) out of the north. The ship was headed about 240°T at 22 knots. The relative wind, caused by the vector sum of the forward motion of the vessel and the true wind, would have appeared about 4 points on the starboard bow about 19 to 20 knots to someone standing on deck. With the large sail area presented by the ship's superstructure, a slight average list to port would have been observed as the ship rolled from side to side in a slightly following sea.
Perhaps the port list was causing the ship to turn and he would correct her course when the uneven propellers made her veer off a degree. The effects could have been greater, but maybe he corrected her course before she moved away too much.
A ship rarely steers a fixed heading under the best of circumstances. If Hichens was able to keep her to within 1 degree, then he must have been an excellent helmsman at the wheel.
Below is a graph taken from the course recorder of Andrea Doria the night she collided with Stockholm. As you can see, the course steered is not a perfectly straight line but varies about plus/minus 2° to either side of the line. (The change of course at 9:40 and back at 10:20 was to give the Nantucket lightship a wide berth.
Course recoder segment.jpg

I spoke to a retired sailor in my home town about the port list. He believed that it would cause the ship to slowly turn right as the starboard one would be higher and closer to the surface making it less efficient and giving the port propeller more of a push. I believe it may have played a role in the collision because if Hichens was ordered to turn the ship left, the ship would resist slightly as it was pulling towards the right, so she would turn left slower than expected as she wasn't on a level keel.
If the ship had a tendency to turn left for whatever reason the helmsman would keep a slight amount of right rudder to compensate. On a sailing vessel there is always some amount of turning tendency depending how the vessel points relative to the wind. This always is compensated for by applying opposite rudder to keep the vessel on its desired heading. This is especially true heading into the wind.
By the way, if Titanic was carrying a slight list to port while heading straight, she would have heeled less to starboard when turning away from the berg going to port.
 

Harland Duzen

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...By the way, if Titanic was carrying a slight list to port while heading straight, she would have heeled less to starboard when turning away from the berg going to port.

So the list (whatever caused it) actually helped Titanic avoid the iceberg, with the term ''Avoid'' in this case meaning to soften the severity of the damage cause to the hull perhaps by making the tears smaller than it might have been if there was no list.

heel 2.jpg
 
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If there was a list to port to begin with. If what Beesley saw was a slight heel to port caused by wind acting on the superstructure, then that would have disappeared by evening after the wind died down.
What I'd like to know is where did this estimate of 2.5° come from?
 

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