Reversing Engines, Unfair Criticism of Officer Murdoch


Jim Currie

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Hi Jim -

I think your summary of events is very plausible. We will never know what really happened, but your guess is well presented and logical.

I realize that others might disagree with you and present their version of what they think might have happened that night. Both sides can be equally correct; it's a guessing game (played by experienced and intelligent people), but a game in which the final, absolute answer can never be known. To use a word that you have frequently accused others of doing, we (that means you) are all just "speculating". Yours is well done.

George
Thank you George.

You will note that in the post you refer to, I was not speculating, but simply arranging the evidence that everyone accepts in a logical sequence. When I do "speculate" as when considering the actions of Captain Smith from the moment he entered the bridge until he had restored some semblence of order and his ship was stopped. Or the reasons why Murdoch would order the engines astern, I do so, from a solid base of knowledge and experience and back my speculation with technical and practical reasons. I hope that is well understood and appreciated.
 
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Rancor

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Ship
Engine Type
Port Engines Started Backing
(Min: Sec)
Starboard Engines Started backing
(Min:Sec)
Port Engine Backing Hard (Min:Sec)
Starboard Engines Backing Hard
(Min:Sec.)
Delaware​
Reciprocating​
0:10​
0:22​
0:60​
0:55​
North Dakota​
Turbine​
2:14​
1:08​
3:25​
9:35​



US Battleship Maine



From
To
Time (Seconds)
Port Engine
Time (Seconds) Starboard Engine
Full Speed Ahead​
Stop​
9​
9​
Stop​
Astern​
6​
5​
Stop​
Full Speed Astern​
55​
60​
Full Speed Astern​
Ahead​
5​
5​




The Birmingham


Speed
Time Required To Reverse Engines
(Seconds)
Time Engines Were Backing
(Min:Sec)
Time Till Ship Stopped
(Min: Sec)
Distance Head Reached In Ship's Length (423ft)
10​
4​
1:06.3​
1:10.3​
1.5​
16​
4.67​
1:16.53​
1:21.2​
2.6​
22​
6.5​
56.5​
1:03​
3​
24​
7​
1:02​
1:09​
3.2​


Sea trails of New Hope:


Order​
Starboard (Seconds)​
Port (Seconds)​
Steam Gear​
Full Ahead to Stop​
10​
8​
Stop to Full Astern​
45​
45​
Full Astern to Full Ahead​
35​
42​
Hand Gear​
Full Ahead to Stop​
32​
34​
Stop to Full Astern​
53​
1 in 35*​
Full Astern to Full Ahead​
46​
1 in .05*​

* As written. I'm guessing its 1 min and 35 sec and 1 min .05 secs.
Interesting figures B-rad, thanks for posting. Any thoughts on why on the Maine it takes 55 seconds to go from stop to full astern but 5 seconds to go from full astern to ahead? Or is that a typo?
 
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B-rad

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Interesting figures B-rad, thanks for posting. Any thoughts on why on the Maine it takes 55 seconds to go from stop to full astern but 5 seconds to go from full astern to ahead? Or is that a typo?
I checked the source, it is the amount of time that it took to change the gears over, and not the time that it took the engines to start going (which it does not supply a time for). :)

maine.png
 
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Arun Vajpey

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Nice, but as Scotch whiskies go, IMO Loch Lomond Royal Portrush edges the above. I think that Murdoch would have agreed.
But my personal favourite whiskey is not even a Scotch - Bushmills Single Malt Irish Whiskey.

Sorry Mark, back to the topic.
 
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Cam Houseman

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Nice, but as Scotch whiskies go, IMO Loch Lomond Royal Portrush edges the above. I think that Murdoch would have agreed.
But my personal favourite whiskey is not even a Scotch - Bushmills Single Malt Irish Whiskey.

Sorry Mark, back to the topic.
How did Murdoch see the Iceberg as/before the lookout's did? Because of this haze Fleet mentioned, preventing him from seeing far out? Isn't that why Lookout's are far above?

I know how it is when its cold and the wind is blowing, it interferes with your vision, but still.
 
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Arun Vajpey

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The picture you posted above shows Titanic heading straight for the Highland Park bottle with the ice cubes passing well off the starboard beam.
That can't be right, can it? If the ice cubes were that far off the starboard beam, how did some of them get onto the forward well deck?:confused:
 
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Jim Currie

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How did Murdoch see the Iceberg as/before the lookout's did? Because of this haze Fleet mentioned, preventing him from seeing far out? Isn't that why Lookout's are far above?

I know how it is when its cold and the wind is blowing, it interferes with your vision, but still.
Never mind, Cam, I'll answer your question. The kids need a little light relief. It's a Covid thing!;)

The sighting of the iceberg had nothing to do with how high the obeserver was. Height only means you see farther, not better. Wind from whatever source would not have effected the vision of Murdoch or the lookouts. (Unless it was painful:mad: ) Seriously, though, it would have been defelected over their heads.
Murdoch would, like most officers, have stationed himself out on the bridge wing, He would have his binoculars hanging on their straps around his neck. The normal practice was to pace back and forward along the wing while sweeping the horizon from side to side and ahead, mainly looking for lights - not icebergs. However, on that night, he would also have frequently scanned the horizon down to the ship with his binoculars because, as you know, they were on the lookout for "small ice" and small ice has no profile above the horizon.
That is why he was able to see the ice when the lookouts did. In fact, with his binoculars, he probably saw it a second or two earlier.

Incidentally, there was no haze, you seldom if ever see haze at night or in mid ocean. at any distance.
In mid-ocean you see mist, or condensation of moisture laden warm air on a cold suface...much like your breath on a freezing winter's day. At night, when at sea, normally the first indications of it is when it reflects the masthead lights as you enter it. The other time is when it reflects light from another source, like the moon or intense starlight.
That night, there was no moon. no flow of moisture-laden air...no wind at all. it was flat calm and crystal-clear right down to the horizon. So clear that they could see the stars setting. I believe that the "mist" in this case, was conjured up as an excuse driven by a natural guilty concience that somehow, they should have seen the berg earlier. On the other hand, it may simply have been the star lit illumination of the ice barrier which lay across Titanic's path. If so, it woud have been seen about 2 points (22.5 degrees) on either side of the bow.
A Highland Park bottle, despite it's world prominence would not have been visible at that range.;):D:D:D:D
 
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Cam Houseman

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Never mind, Cam, I'll answer your question. The kids need a little light relief. It's a Covid thing!;)

The sighting of the iceberg had nothing to do with how high the obeserver was. Height only means you see farther, not better. Wind from whatever source would not have effected the vision of Murdoch or the lookouts. (Unless it was painful:mad: ) Seriously, though, it would have been defelected over their heads.
Murdoch would, like most officers, have stationed himself out on the bridge wing, He would have his binoculars hanging on their straps around his neck. The normal practice was to pace back and forward along the wing while sweeping the horizon from side to side and ahead, mainly looking for lights - not icebergs. However, on that night, he would also have frequently scanned the horizon down to the ship with his binoculars because, as you know, they were on the lookout for "small ice" and small ice has no profile above the horizon.
That is why he was able to see the ice when the lookouts did. In fact, with his binoculars, he probably saw it a second or two earlier.

Incidentally, there was no haze, you seldom if ever see haze at night or in mid ocean. at any distance.
In mid-ocean you see mist, or condensation of moisture laden warm air on a cold suface...much like your breath on a freezing winter's day. At night, when at sea, normally the first indications of it is when it reflects the masthead lights as you enter it. The other time is when it reflects light from another source, like the moon or intense starlight.
That night, there was no moon. no flow of moisture-laden air...no wind at all. it was flat calm and crystal-clear right down to the horizon. So clear that they could see the stars setting. I believe that the "mist" in this case, was conjured up as an excuse driven by a natural guilty concience that somehow, they should have seen the berg earlier. On the other hand, it may simply have been the star lit illumination of the ice barrier which lay across Titanic's path. If so, it woud have been seen about 2 points (22.5 degrees) on either side of the bow.
Thank you for that fine Analysis, Mr. Currie ;)

As for the Bottles...LOL
 
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A Highland Park bottle, despite it's world prominence would not have been visible at that range.
Except, of course, if one were sipping a little while on duty.:oops:

Seriously, I agree with Jim's post. (I know its rare, but when it is, it is,)
The highest part of the berg would be at or below the horizon. It would be seen against the black background of the sea. It is also why the so called mirage theory, which suggests the berg may have been masked or camouflaged by a false horizon, cannot have happened even if such a condition existed in the first place. Plain and simple, the berg was below the line of the horizon when those bells were struck in the nest.

By the way, as an aside, from the height of eye in the nest the horizon would be about 11 nautical miles away. From the navigation bridge, it would be almost 9.5-10 miles away. Not much difference.
 
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