Ships Carpenter


Dec 4, 2000
3,241
486
213
Maureen -- I was making a feeble attempt at humor when I commented about it being "too deep to wade home."

While the ship was on the ice...sounding the depth would have yielded "zero" below the bottom, but about 33 feet below the surface. The difference being the ship's draft. There would have been no need to sound the depth over the shelf, however, because it was obvious from the noise of the ship crunching across the ice.

This all sounds perfectly obvious to me, but I can understand why someone who has not "swung a lead" might be confused.

There is an art to measuring depth with a lead line. The lead part must be swung like a pendulum to build up momentum. Then, it is "heaved" or "cast" by sending it as far forward as possible before it splashes into the water. The lead is allowed to sink to the bottom. If everything has been done correctly, the leadsman will be able to pull the line taught as the ship passes and read the exact depth. The trick of getting the right swing to the lead takes practice. It is also necessary to learn how to coil the line so it will pay out without hockles.

There is a sea story out of New England (Maine, probably) about an old-time fisherman who could sail home in a "pea souper" fog. The lead has a hollow recess that can be filled with tallow to collect a sample of the bottom. This ol' skipper would heave the lead to pick up a sample, then taste it with his tongue. When the bottom tasted to his satisfaction, he would turn up the reach leading to his harbor.

-- David G. Brown
 
Dec 2, 2000
1,513
1
168
David G. Brown Captain extraordinnaire. I actually caught the feeble attempt at humor Dave and I am not upset.

Your humor came across like I had not made clear why I was asking the questions and it appeared silly to you about what I was asking of you. So that is why I explained.

I've actually heard the expression pea soup fog and my grandfather served as a crew member on sailing ships that crossed the North Atlantic.

I spent my summers growing up in Norfolk and toured the Enterprise once at the age of 15.

I was born in Milwaukee and know of the lakes and what tragedies have taken place there.

But none of that makes me knowledgeable of many of the things that you and other seaman here know and I just hope to learn. That is why I ask. The mathematics in me and logic makes me ask the questions and dig.

"While the ship was on the ice...sounding the depth would have yielded 'zero' below the bottom, but about 33 feet below the surface. The difference being the ship's draft."

I understand that part.

"There would have been no need to sound the depth over the shelf, however, because it was obvious from the noise of the ship crunching across the ice."

If an ice shelf was so obvious, then why is it not mentioned in any of the evidence?

I guess why I was asking was not to question whether there was an ice shelf, but to ask why it was not determined through sounding that it existed for certain.

"This all sounds perfectly obvious to me, but I can understand why someone who has not "swung a lead" might be confused." I've taken a lead, but never swung one. hehehehehehehe

"There is an art to measuring depth with a lead line." this was very interesting.

"If everything has been done correctly, the leadsman will be able to pull the line taught as the ship passes and read the exact depth." Helps me to understand more thanks.

"The trick of getting the right swing to the lead takes practice. It is also necessary to learn how to coil the line so it will pay out without hockles."

See, you think I do not know what this is. It is like fly fisherman, casting is everything. If you get a crimp in the line and it like loops up and tangles it is a mess.

"There is a sea story out of New England (Maine, probably) about an old-time fisherman who could sail home in a 'pea souper' fog. The lead has a hollow recess that can be filled with tallow to collect a sample of the bottom. This ol' skipper would heave the lead to pick up a sample, then taste it with his tongue. When the bottom tasted to his satisfaction, he would turn up the reach leading to his harbor"

pea souper fog is a dense fog. The man had a hollow place at the end of his "lead" where he placed some fat that was dragged on the bottom and he tasted it until he knew he was home...now that last part he can keep. I refuse to drag a lead down the potomac and taste anything. hehehehe

Thanks for trying to teach me and for teasing me. I learn that way.

Maureen.
 
Dec 4, 2000
3,241
486
213
Maureen--not to correct, but to point out--there are places where the underwater ice shelf becomes evident in the testimony. One is the consistent use of the word "strike" regarding the meeting of ship and ice. This word has one and only one true nautical meaning...to bring the bottom of the ship into contact with the ground beneath the water...or, in this case, the ice.

There is other evidence, such as Seaman Buley's rebuke of the questioner who did not understand where the ship was damaged.

Nate Robison reminded me of answers given by Edward Wilding in his London testimony. Take a look at questions 20050 and 20051. They explain why the catastrophic flooding damage ended where the ship's true double bottom began.

And, also thanks to Nate, I have found numerous quotes from military and civilian naval experts regarding the accident. While Parks and I appear to have invented the grounding theory, in fact it was the common explanation among seafarers 90 years ago. One U.S. Navy officer said that although there were many incidents of ships sinking after tearing their bottoms open, he could find no Navy ship that sank from tearing its side open. The side "gash" apprarently did not become the accepted story until after the BOT published its report.

Captain Erik and I just tonight discussed the nature of the maneuvers of Titanic around and on the ice. The BOT side impact theory simply does not produce damage in the right places when you factor in the way ships really operate.

Captain Smith, of course, predicted Titanic's accident almost down to the rivet. And, the current edition of "Bowditch, American Practical Navigator" warns mariners of exactly what happened to Titanic. Icebergs never change.

-- David G. Brown
 
Dec 2, 2000
58,590
381
283
Easley South Carolina
I've been trying to find the Bowditch. Does anybody know who carries it? I tried Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and they don't have it save for the small craft version. I'd like to have the title for my reference library.

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 
Dec 4, 2000
3,241
486
213
Michael -- You should find the new Bowditch at either a Boat/US store or a West Marine store. If they don't have a copy in stock, they will order it. The current version is written for the products of outcome based education. The book is huge because they used such big type. Better to get the older 2-volume set in the green binding. You may have to look in used bookstores.

-- David G. Brown
 

Erik Wood

Member
Apr 10, 2001
3,519
4
168
I know that at work I have a few spare copies of Bowdwitch. Mainly because it is company policy for all ships to carry one. Every once and a while some Captain spills his coffee on it or usese to wack moronic Junior Officers (which I was when I was a JO). If you can't find it I may be able to "reallocate" where it needs to go.

As for what else has been discussed here previous to that you would be amazed at how much jumps out in the testimony. Sailors where talking like sailors. As such sailors need to be the ones to translate it. As captain Dave pointed out, common use of the word "strike", as well as the way they described the accident leads one to believe that there was no side swipe.

Erik
 
Dec 2, 2000
58,590
381
283
Easley South Carolina
Thanks Dave....and Erik, I may have to take you up on that "offer" of some coffee marked copies as neither of the stores Dave mentioned seem to exist where I live.

David said; "The current version is written for the products of outcome based education. "

ARRRRGGGGG! Oh isn't that just luverly! Maybe I should start my seppuku ceremony now and get it over with! Outcome based "education". What an oxymoron!

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 
Dec 2, 2000
1,513
1
168
David, my dear kind sir, I am not questioning you, Parks or anybody on anything navigational or having anything remotely to do with boats, boating or things Titanic or any of your research.

The topic of sounding the ship came up as a part of a list of duties assigned to the "ships carpenter" when someone asked about why a carpenter was sent to check on the drinking water.

I merely wanted to know what sounding the ship meant. When tasked to sound the ship what was it that the ships carpenter did?

But after asking the question I certainly have been tempted to throw out my lead line in the poea soup fog and find my way back. But was that part of the carpenter's duties....

Both on the board and privately, I seem to be getting very different answers to my question. And you have this wonderful ability with issuing countermeaures when you see that you may need them and that is just a tad bit confusing.

I am laughing as I write this. I am not angry or mad with you about this. I simply see that there is a hodge podge here of completely different things and it would seem to me to be a fairly straight forward easy question. But apparently not.

1) You David Brown have spoken of sounding and off sounding and the depth to the bottom and you stated above that , "There is an art to measuring depth with a lead line. The lead part must be swung like a pendulum to build up momentum. Then, it is "heaved" or "cast" by sending it as far forward as possible before it splashes into the water. The lead is allowed to sink to the bottom. If everything has been done correctly, the leadsman will be able to pull the line taught as the ship passes and read the exact depth. The trick of getting the right swing to the lead takes practice. It is also necessary to learn how to coil the line so it will pay out without hockles."

2)Erik said "When Smith wanted the Carpenter to sound the ship, he wanted to know by how many feet the ship was down by the head. By determing this Smith can then do some pretty basic computations and get a rough estimate of how much water has entered the ship in a certain amount of time which in the end will tell him how the long the ship will last."

3) A person that I had asked the same question of has answered along the same lines as Erik, and added that there was a shaft where a line was dropped to figure the depth of the water to make these computations.

I brought up the motorboat experience here only because some folks refer to that as sounding and even you desribed the depth finding as sounding and off-sounding. And this was confusing as it seemed that there were different uses of the same word.

Just as you and Erik have pointed out, there are common words used within the seagoing world that have separate meanings. But all I am trying to say is that when one is trying to communicate with folks who are not "in" on the jargon it is helpful (and would have been useful if the crews had used "User friendly" terms) to speak in the common language of the wee folk rather than using counter measures. I do not think it that difficult to try defining the terms in laymen's terms. But I must be wrong.

Thanks. I'll read up on it.
Maureen.
PS- thanks for pointing out the evidence regarding the ice shelf. I am sure that will be most useful as I research the meaning of carpenter. (SMILE)
 

Erik Wood

Member
Apr 10, 2001
3,519
4
168
Sometimes being able to understand what somebody was saying 90 years ago can be quite different. Helm commands are a perfect example. For the most part a carpenter did the same thing as a bosun does today.

Erik
 

Inger Sheil

Member
Dec 3, 2000
5,342
34
208
I admit that in the pantheon of Antarctic explorers I have a soft spot for Worsley - he's one of the more engaging figures of Shackleton's trans-Antarctic attempt, and his lively, amusing and sometimes whimsical observations have a charm all their own. But while he was an outstanding navigator, he wasn't exactly made of leadership material (as Shackleton and Wild found out when they joined the Endurance in Buenos Aires). It's indicative of Shackleton's own extraordinary leadership ability that he was able to see the skills that were Worsley's strengths, and make use of them in the most effective way possible.

'For scientific leadership give me Scott; for swift and efficient travel, Amundsen; but when you are in a hopeless situation, when there seems no way out, get down on your knees and pray for Shackleton'
 
Dec 4, 2000
3,241
486
213
Maureen-- there are two too many to's in the English language. Homonyms can make communications impossible. I was writing about sounding the ocean depths with a lead line. Inside the ship, it is possible to use something very similar to a lead line to "sound" a tank. Both are essentially the same operation, only thelocation of the liquid changes liquid changes. When it comes to "sounding" the bilges, however, the carpenter may have simply calibrated his eye. He may have simply looked into a compartment through a hatch or other opening and noted some familiar object that was just submerging. If, for instance, a he knew a certain piece of iron structure was at his eye height off the deck, and water was just to that iron, he would know the depth with reasonable accuracy. As Captain Erik says, knowing the depth of water allows calculation of its weight. That, in turn, is the key to determining how far the ship is down by the head.

Somehow, I can't escape the image of sounding the ship while listening to the sounds of Wallace Hartley and his musicians. That might not have been sound practice, depending upon the soundness of the ship. Or, something like that...

--David G. Brown
 
Dec 2, 2000
1,513
1
168
Michael Standart,

You have asked this information about Bowditch before and I had mentioned privately that I had seen it somewhere but could not remember.

The American Practical Navigator originally by Nathaniel Bowditch 1995 Defense Mapping Agency No.9 873 pages is $25.00 on www.pilothousecharts.com

Look under Basic Nautical Books to get information and then go to order form to order. I have not gotten it yet, but hope to.

I apologize for taking so long to get back with you. Good luck.

Maureen Zottoli
 
Dec 2, 2000
1,513
1
168
My dear David Brown, at last sound advice! hehehehehehehehe

Glad to see your humor and also that you could see my dilema.

As for musical sounding of the ship.........

just kidding ....really.

Thanks.
Maureen.
 
Dec 2, 2000
1,513
1
168
Mike Standart,

Oh did not know if you were also interested Mike, but a site called www.starpath.com has a CD version of the 1851 (I think that is the year) of Bowditch for sale. It is priced in the 30's, but I think the mid to high end if I recall.

It is listed under their elibra section.
Maureen.
 
Dec 2, 2000
1,513
1
168
Cheez Michael, where's your sense of adventure? I think that you should call the people right now and get right it this. 3AM...good grief....seaman...get 'em on land and they need sleep!

hehehehehehehehehehe
Maureen.
 
Dec 2, 2000
58,590
381
283
Easley South Carolina
And when sailors look for sleep, we look anywhere we can get it. (Who else would be able to sleep soundly near the flight deck of a carrier when jets are taking off and landing?)

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 
May 9, 2001
741
2
146
Quartermaster Olliver testifies that he was sent to find the Carpenter and get him to sound the ship. He states that he found the carpenter on E-deck in the working hallway. The carpenter was busy sounding the ship when Olliver came upon him.

My question is, specifically how was the carpenter 'sounding' the ship from E-deck? Did he open the hatch on the side of the ship and drop a lead line from there, or were there tubes running down into the watertight compartments from E-deck that were designed for sounding measurements?

And were was the overflow pipe that came out of the forepeak tank? The one that was heard making noise as air whistled out of it. What deck was it on?

Yuri
 

Similar threads