RMS Olympics's fastest crossing 1921


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According to an article I have from the 'Sea Breezes' magazine, February 1956 by J. Isherwood, Olympic crossed in 5 days 13 hours 10 minutes from Ambrose to Cherbourg at 22.53 knots in mid-1920, after her return to service and conversion to oil-firing. But this was not her fastest crossing.

If I recall, her fastest crossing was in 5 days 12 hours 39 minutes; was this Eastbound, Westbound or what? Where was it to?

Assuming this was the same as the 5 day 13 hour 10 minute crossing in terms of mileage, this would be about 22.6 or 22.7 knots, which seems a little low, as I understood that the ship's maximum speed was about 23 knots or more, especially with oil-firing.

Any help about the mileage and average speed of her best crossing would be much appreciated.

Mark
 
Jan 5, 2001
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Sorry, the first part of my message is missing. The first part reads as follows:

Recently I have been doing much continued research into the ‘Olympic’ class sisters, I may possible get my work about them published, but I wonder if somebody can help me with the problem below. (Unfortunately, I am unable to get the ship’s log for 1921.)

Mark.
 
Nov 5, 2000
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Hi Mark, nice to find you busy with the same problems. There are some fragments of a not yet finished discussion in the thread:
Collision / Sinking Theories, Speed and Coal etc.

About Olympics fastest crossing i found in Simon Mills "Olympic, The Old reliable": But although Captain Hayes was transferring to a larger and more modern ship the Olympic was still a potent competitor on the North Atlantic and to emphasise the point on the eastbound crossing during his last year in command the Olympic's new oil fired apparatus helped her to make her fastest ever crossing in only 5 days, 12 hours and 39 minutes.
There was still life in the old girl yet.
--
My problem with this information is that the date of that journey is not fixed. I don't know whether Olympic travelled on the northern route or on the southerly route, which makes a difference of some more than 100 miles (of about 2900 total). So i can't calculate the speed. (I am not happy before i can calculate something).

It's just a bit of input, I wished I could give you some more.

Markus
 

George Behe

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Dec 11, 1999
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Hi, Markus and Mark!

In case you might find some extra info of interest, I have an Olympic log abstract in my collection which shows that, on Olympic's second westward crossing, she achieved an average speed of 21.72 knots and arrived in New York at 10:08 pm on Tuesday night after a passage of 5 days, 13 hours and 6 minutes. (Bruce Ismay claimed that Olympic had achieved a Tuesday night arrival on only one crossing before April of 1912 -- and that it occurred on the shorter Northern steamer track to boot. As you can see, that wasn't so.)

Hope this will be of interest.

All my best,

George
 
Jan 5, 2001
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Hi George and Markus,

Thanks for the input.

One thing I've just realised that isn't mentioned is that the 5 day 12 hour 39 minute time may be the fastest time, but not the actual fastest speed; i.e. the ship may have taken longer for a longer crossing, but have averaged a higher speed.

The table below may help in a small sense; I have worked it out over some time and all figures are approximate. Although Ismay said the Olympic class ships' reciprocating engines worked up to 80 r.p.m., 81 r.p.m. was achieved on Olympic's maiden crossing briefly. (But only briefly, as there were never more than the 24 main boilers lit.) I would think 82 r.p.m. was a realistic 'absolute maximum.' That is, with all the 29 boilers lit and with maximum steam pressure. Note the 'plus' after the higher speeds, which are uncertain, especially after the oil-firing.

R.P.M. Knots
70 20.50
71 20.75
72 21.00
73 21.25
74 21.50
75 22.08
76 22.25
77 22.55
78 22.68
79 22.82
80 22.96
81 23.2+
82 23.35+

Now I know the fastest crossing was Eastbound, assuming this was the approximate same mileage as Olympic's Eastbound 22.48 knot crossing in 1911 of 5 days 14 hours 32 minutes from New York to Plymouth, the 5 day 12 hour 39 minute fastest crossing would be at a speed of 22.82 knots, which does sound more believable, certainly. It ties in with an approximate average of the 79 r.p.m. figure in the table above.

I know I think 82 r.p.m. would be the realistic ‘absolute maximum,’ but we have to ask ourselves, was Olympic’s fastest crossing really an attempt to push the ship as fast as possible? Certainly, the ship was incapable of the Blue Ribband, and although respectable crossings would still be required of an express prestigious ship like Olympic, I do not think that maximum steam pressure would realistically be maintained on all boilers for the whole crossing, even with oil-feed, as was the case after mid-1920. It would put strain on the engines, etc., to maintain this for an excessive time.

So perhaps the 22.82 knot figure is reasonable, if unconfirmed?
Any other input?

Best regards,
It’s a pleasure to discuss this.

Mark.
 
Nov 5, 2000
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Hi Mark,
i posted something as response to your revolution figures, but maybe its hidden. You can find it in the new thread Olympic's Speed.
Markus
 
Jan 5, 2001
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Sorry, this thing repeated; I left the computer for a while.

I've had a bit of trouble with this.

Perhaps the new thread has gone. I've looked three times but can't see it. Perhaps I've just missed it, embarassingly!

Mark.
 
Jan 5, 2001
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Hi Markus!

It has been one-and-a-half years since I started this thread, but I have news for you on the average speeds. Olympic’s famous eastbound crossing in November 1921 was her quickest in terms of the time she took, but it was Not the fastest average speed that she made.

Olympic covered 3,000 miles in five days twelve hours and thirty-nine minutes at 22.62 knots eastbound; on the westbound trip of this round trip she crossed in exactly the same time, but covered slightly less miles. So it’s her quickest crossing in days and hours and fastest average speed round trip, but it is not the fastest ever crossing she made. I believe her fastest day’s run was some 24 knots.

I know that in 1922, 1924 and 1926 for example she was making faster eastbound passages and in 1928 she made an even faster westbound record, matching that again three consecutive times in 1933.

I am sure that this will be of interest.

Best regards,

Mark.
 
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