Something to whet the appetite?

Jim Currie

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While working on an article about the Carpathia,several things occurred to me.

As many know, I do not subscribe to the idea of a south setting current during the Titanic disaster. While trying to make a plot of Carpathia's movements, I found myself once more embroiled in the movements of the other players - Mount Temple and Californian This required me to dig deep into the evidence given by the three captains involved.
Although the evidence of when Californian passed Mount Temple fits time-wise, the evidence of Captain Moore as to where he was when he sighted Carpathia and Californian did not fit.
So, I decided to make a plot of the scene from when Carpathia first encountered Boxhall on the morning of April 15, 1912 until Californian turned ENE toward Carpathia as she was in the act of recovering the last survivors and Titanic's boats. Instead of using the ship times given by the players, I converted all time (Except Californian's final 2 times) to GMT. The result is enlightening, particularly as to the position of Mount Temple. See what you think.
Plots 1 Carpathia + Californian et al.jpg

Jim C.

Plots 1 Carpathia + Californian et al.jpg


Plots 1 Carpathia + Californian et al.jpg
 
Dec 4, 2000
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Jim --

Most curious plot. Much to consider. Could you add a couple of details? I would like to see both sets of Titanic's CQD coordinates and the location of the wreck on the bottom.

-- Dave
 

Jim Currie

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Jim --

Most curious plot. Much to consider. Could you add a couple of details? I would like to see both sets of Titanic's CQD coordinates and the location of the wreck on the bottom.

-- Dave
No sooner said than done Dave.
Plots 1 Carpathia + Californian et al.jpg
I made a few assumptions based on what was said. I reckon that Boxhall rowed briefly on a converging course for Carpathia and that Carpathia stopped south of the wreck site because of her need to avoid ice. The position of the wreck site relative to the CQD position was found by use of Plain Sailing formula rather than by Traverse Tables so it is fairly accurate but you can check if you feel like a bit of math. i.e D. Long/DMP = tan Course. D. Lat x sec course = distance.

Not sure what you mean by 'both' sets of CQD coordinates. Do you mean those calculated by Captain Brown? I've put them in in any case. I do not think that Titanic drifted much off course on her way to the bottom. But I've put the good captain's effort in for good measure. I've added the data direct to the paint picture so excuse small irregularities.

Jim C.

Plots 1 Carpathia + Californian et al.jpg
 
Dec 4, 2000
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Jim --

Thanks for quick update.

The two sets of CQD coordinates are the ones sent by Titanic. The first set, given to R/O Phillips by Captain Smith was recorded by Ypiranga and Caronia. This first set was 41.44 N, 50.24 W.

The second set of CQD coordinates is more famous and the only one generally used by historians. It was the "corrected" set done by Boxhall and given to Phillips about six minutes later. This set of coordinates is the familiar 41.46 N, 50.14 W.

I've not had time enough to study your plot in detail. Work is the curse of the working class. So I'm not going to say much more at this point other than the general speculation that you seem in line with what I know.

--- Dave
 

Jim Currie

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That's the ones I've plotted in the up-date Dave.

Just to give you something to think about: The popular belief is of a south-south-west setting current moving at about 1 knot. Add that to the wind drift setting in roughly the same direction and see where the debris would have been found. (Oh! And while you're at it; think about how a ship with a bow like Titanic would swing it against a 1 knot current while loosing forward momentum and dragging three ginormous propellers at her bum.

Jim C.

PS Unfortnately, i'm not young enough to work (so they tell me) so I have all the time in the world to think about this stuff and annoy everyone.:D
 
Mar 22, 2003
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>> Unfortnately, i'm not young enough to work (so they tell me) so I have all the time in the world to think about this stuff and annoy everyone.<<

Who's annoyed?

>> The result is enlightening ....<<

Oh, yes. I hope you find it as enlightening as I did. It does pay (not necessarily in monetary currency) to sometimes to check your work before posting it on-line.

I agree with the position you put down for SOS relative to the wreck site. They're almost 13 miles part, as we all know. However, with the wreck site latitude up in 41° 44' N, the distance down to 41° 33' N is only 11 nautical miles. Your diagram shows the 41° 33' line about 18 miles south. But that should be easily corrected. On the other hand, if you take Californian's position for 0940 GMT (6:30am Californian's time) and move it back the 3 miles across the ice field along the line shown near the top of your diagram, you will find that at 6:00am, the time they started to cross the ice heading westward, Californian would be only about 14 miles from the the wreck site. I measured it on your diagram. And as we we both agree, Californian did not move all night. At 14 miles, Titanic's sidelights would have been visible from Californian's bridge, and vice versa. So much for being 22 miles away all night.

The other problem I have with what you put together is that the distance traveled by Californian after coming through the ice at 0940 GMT to where you show she meets Mount Temple at 1040 GMT measures about 7 to 7.5 miles, suggesting that she averaged only about that amount in knots. The distance you shown from that encounter point down to where Californian turned to cross the pack ice toward Carpathia measures about 8 miles, or thereabouts, on your diagram. This is just 30 minutes after leaving the Mount Temple encounter point, suggesting a speed of about 16 knots for Californian when she reached that turning point. As you know, that was not possible. You may recall that Capt. Lord claimed that they went at 13 knots after coming out of the ice, and then cut through the ice at full speed to reach Carpathia after turning for her.

Also, your turning point for Californian measures about 6 miles from Carpathia at 1110 GMT (8:00am Californian time). By the way, as you may recall, Capt. Rostron claimed that when he first saw Californian about 8am (your 1110 GMT), she was seen coming through the ice about 8 miles away heading ENE true towards Carpathia. The pack ice was claimed by both Capt.s Moore and Lord to be about 5 to 6 miles across down there, not the 3 miles you tend to show.

Oh, one more thing. You said,
>>think about how a ship with a bow like Titanic would swing it against a 1 knot current while loosing forward momentum and dragging three ginormous propellers at her bum.<<

What's to think? Relative to the water, the ship was being dragged to a stop in whatever direction she was headed.
 

Jim Currie

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[QUOTE=Samuel Halpern;372726]>> Unfortnately, i'm not young enough to work (so they tell me) so I have all the time in the world to think about this stuff and annoy everyone.<<

Who's annoyed?

>> The result is enlightening ....<<

Oh, yes. I hope you find it as enlightening as I did. It does pay (not necessarily in monetary currency) to sometimes to check your work before posting it on-line.


No Sam. I left that up to you. Some one recently wrote that the site was quiet. I thought I'd liven it up a bit. :D


... with the wreck site latitude up in 41° 44' N, the distance down to 41° 33' N is only 11 nautical miles. Your diagram shows the 41° 33' line about 18 miles south.


Yes it does Sam and it does so for a reason. If you look at the sketch (which it really is by the way) you will note that I have dotted debris to the north of the 41-33' line. I did that deliberately because I think Lord may have used his departure wreckage time as the time he exited the pack ice. I have always been curious about the difference between his story and that of his 3rd Officer Groves regarding when they called off the search for more survivors. I remind you:
"8368. Did you [Groves in Californian]search longer?..- Yes, we searched longer.
8369. Till about 10.40?..- - Ten-forty exactly. That is when we resumed our course.

Compare that with Lord's version:

"7264. How long did you [Lord] remain on the spot where the wreckage was?.. - We arrived at half-past eight - 11.15.

Ir seems that Lord differed from Groves by a 35 minutes.
You may or may not know that Groves would be the Officer of the Watch at the time they finished their search. Lord would be in charge of the bridge and the former would have the responsibility of noting all significant times in the Scrap Log. That would also include the time when Californian officially left off searching. Lord's time for completing the search would be the time he resumed course for his original destination. That would be when he cleared the western side of the ice.

"if you take Californian's position for 0940 GMT (6:30am Californian's time) and move it back the 3 miles across the ice field along the line shown near the top of your diagram, you will find that at 6:00am, the time they started to cross the ice heading westward, Californian would be only about 14 miles from the the wreck site."

Yes Sam, but you must also remember the evidence and not take my modest offering too literally. I remind you once more what Lord told Senator Smith:

"Mr. LORD.
From the position we stopped in to the position at which the Titanic is supposed to have hit the iceberg, 19 1/2 to 19 3/4 miles; south 16 west, sir, was the course.


Let's look at a proper sketch of the available evidence. .

Californian's engines were started at 5-15 am on April 15 and she went ahead at slow toward the pack ice. The ship continued pushing her way through the ice following lines of least resistance until just before 6 am when the plight of Titanic was known. Thereafter, at 6 am, Californian continued through the ice, but this time with the aim of maintaining a course toward Titanic's CQD position... South 16 West.
At 6 30 am, 3/4 of an hour after her engines had been started, Californian cleared the west side of the pack ice. During that entire time, her course had been influenced by a north wind blowing at between 14 and 16 knots. From 6-30 am onward, Californian would built speed.(Remember Lord described seeing the ice turning over as he went). She would also be helped by the following wind.
In my first sketch, I simply showed Californian as Moore described her.. crossing directly from east to west. I was more concerned with the positions of Carpathia. However, at the distance in question, Moore would have had no idea what course Californian was following. In fact, she would have followed a somewhat erratic course.. even heading southward at times as she pushed her way through the pack. Here's an update to further stimulate your thought process:

untitled.jpg

The above shows clearly that practical application of Lord's evidence shows that he was being truthful regarding his overnight position. It follows that your observation
" I measured it on your diagram. And as we we both agree, Californian did not move all night. At 14 miles, Titanic's sidelights would have been visible from Californian's bridge, and vice-versa. So much for being 22 miles away all night.
is redundant.

>>think about how a ship with a bow like Titanic would swing it against a 1 knot current while loosing forward momentum and dragging three ginormous propellers at her bum.<<

What's to think? Relative to the water, the ship was being dragged to a stop in whatever direction she was headed.[/QUOTE]


I asked David to think about Titanic's bow swinging to the right against such a current while her engines were stopped or stopping and she was rapidly slowing down and under a right rudder action. You have an interest in ship hydro-dynamics. Perhaps you might explain how a ship might defy physics and turn under right rudder action when the flow over her rudder was interrupted, her speed was reducing rapidly and at the same time, there was a massive force acting on her starboard bow?

As for the presence of the south setting current.. there is separate evidence that it did not exist. It came from Titanic's helmsman, QM Hichens...

"942. Was she a good steering ship? - Fairly well, yes.
943. Up to the time of the collision did she vary from her course at all?
- Not that I am aware of, not more than a degree on either side.


The highlighted part tells anyone who has ever steered a big ship that there was no external force effecting the steering of Titanic. If indeed there had been a current acting on her bow or side, she would have carried extra compensating helm and the QM would have been very much aware of it.

Over to you.

Jim C.

PS.(Keep warm!)

untitled.jpg
 
Mar 22, 2003
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>>No Sam. I left that up to you. <<

How much are you willing to pay me for having to proof your work? :)

>>Perhaps you might explain how a ship might defy physics and turn under right rudder action when the flow over her rudder was interrupted, her speed was reducing rapidly and at the same time, there was a massive force acting on her starboard bow?<<

The engines did not stop prior to the iceberg strike. From all reports they ran on for some time after the ship struck. One person's estimate:
3720. Was anything done to the engines? Did they stop or did they go on? - They stopped.
3721. Was that immediately after you felt the shock or some little time after? - About a minute and a half.

>>The highlighted part tells anyone who has ever steered a big ship that there was no external force effecting the steering of Titanic. If indeed there had been a current acting on her bow or side, she would have carried extra compensating helm and the QM would have been very much aware of it.<<

A uniform current of about 1 knot acting over a large area in deep water would have essentially no effect on steering. In fact there would no force acting on the ship which is being carried by the current in the direction of current flow in addition to its cutting through the water in the direction that it is headed in. The course made good is the vector sum of the current drift and her velocity vector along her course heading. Not really different from a plane flying against a constant cross wind.
What would affect steering is the sea state which was a flat calm at the time of the accident. (I don't understand how you could assume a current that acted only on her bow or side? It would act across the entire hull form of the vessel. There would be no differential.
 

Jim Currie

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>>

How much are you willing to pay me for having to proof your work? :)

Your input is priceless , Sam

The engines did not stop prior to the iceberg strike. From all reports they ran on for some time after the ship struck. One person's estimate:
3720. Was anything done to the engines? Did they stop or did they go on? - They stopped.
3721. Was that immediately after you felt the shock or some little time after? - About a minute and a half.


Nice try Sam but way off. We all know that the engine and helm orders came at the same time. That meant that during the first initial hard-left turn, the engineers would have immediately stopped all engines. They would all three rapidly slow down and stop turning. As proof, I quote from your excellent paper Titanic’s Prime Mover — An Examination of Propulsion and Power "In an extreme emergency, it was possible to reverse the engines from full ahead to full astern. However, this was not an instantaneous process. In general, and with the engineers ready at the controls, it would typically take from 10 to 20 seconds from the time the order was received in the engine room for the engines to first come to a stop" I think we could safely say there was an emergency. However, we know that there were Greasers at the control platform. They wouldn't actually operate the stop valves but are you seriously suggesting that it took the Watch Engineers 1 minute 10 seconds to get to the controls and shut of the steam? I suggest more like 10-20 seconds; meaning that Titanics engines stopped turning about 30-40 seconds after impact.

During that 40 seconds, the flow of water over the rudder plate would be extremely turbulent and the helm would very quickly become non-responsive. Also by the end of that time, the iceberg would have been almost 560 feet astern of Titanic. After that, it would require an ahead movement to make the rudder function at all and a Full Ahead movement to turn Titanic's bow quickly in any direction. In other words, it would require constant positive pressure on the rudder plate to carry our the hard-a- port manoeuvre you have proposed in the past.

A uniform current of about 1 knot acting over a large area in deep water would have essentially no effect on steering. In fact there would no force acting on the ship which is being carried by the current in the direction of current flow in addition to its cutting through the water in the direction that it is headed in. The course made good is the vector sum of the current drift and her velocity vector along her course heading. Not really different from a plane flying against a constant cross wind.
What would affect steering is the sea state which was a flat calm at the time of the accident. (I don't understand how you could assume a current that acted only on her bow or side? It would act across the entire hull form of the vessel. There would be no differential.


First of all Sam, there is no such 'beast' as a uniform current at sea. That response reminds me of part of the Rhyme of the Ancient Marine.."As idle as a painted ship Upon a painted ocean". Or perhaps "A paper ship upon a paper ocean"?

Sam, your observation would be correct if all things were equal, but they're not so at sea.
A ship will respond to a cross current in much the same way as she responds to the force of the wind.
If Titanic had been travelling at right angles to a force acting on her underwater side; her underwater side was vertical and rectangular in shape and the force was constant and of equal pressure for the entire length of the side then your statement would be correct. However, we know for certain: that her underwater shape was irregular .... that the pressure on her side was variable and increased by 64lbs / square foot of depth below the surface .... that the pivot point was not at exactly midway between the ends and that if there had been a south setting current, it would not have been acting at right angles to the line of progress.
The QM said "No more than degree on either side". That's remarkable Sam, even in flat calm conditions.

I reality; as a ship progresses in flat calm conditions in the open sea, she will 'wander' off her course if the helm is not applied with or without a current. When helm is applied, the bow reacts and a good helmsman has to anticipate. This can cause see-saw effect. There was no current or wind that night, yet Hichens had to apply a very small amount of corrective helm. If there had been a current, he would have had to apply more corrective helm. Are you suggesting that Titanic would have happily maintained 265 True in a current acting abaft her starboard beam if Hichens had stood back and folded his arms? In fact, unless Hichens was talking about the time he was on Watch that night, I think he was swinging the lantern as they say. Titanic had a bow wind and sea and later abaft the beam earlier on the 14. Such directions make steering hard-going on any ship, particularly the latter.

You still haven't told me how she turned into such a current while loosing power and rudder effectiveness.

Jim C.

See the temperature in your part of the world has risen a little. We got blown out of our beds last night.
 
Mar 22, 2003
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Here are a few more estimates of how long it was before the engines stopped:

13743. Just tell us what you did, in order? - [Lightoller] I lay there for a few moments, it might have been a few minutes, and then feeling the engines had stopped I got up.

Senator SMITH. How long after the impact was it before the engines were stopped?
Mr. STENGEL. A very few minutes.
Senator SMITH. Give the number of minutes, if you can. You are accustomed to machinery and matters of this kind.
Mr. STENGEL. I should say two or three minutes, and then they started again just slightly; just started to move again. I do not know why; whether they were backing off, or not. I do not know. I hardly thought they were backing off, because there was not much vibration of the ship.

And then there was Dillon's:
3721. Was that immediately after you felt the shock or some little time after? - About a minute and a half.

These are the only quantitative estimates that I was able to find from those that were there at the time.

Engineers were not expecting anything. In that quote from my work let me point out the important caveat: "with the engineers ready at the controls", and those stopping numbers came from tests conducted on a warship, the USS Delaware as offered in evidence at the AI.

And of course there was Scarrott who said he saw the ship turning to starboard as the berg was seen falling off the starboard quarter.
 

Jim Currie

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here are a few more estimates of how long it was before the engines stopped:
I have to give you 10 out of 10 for persistence Sam. I remind you that we are discussing the availability of power to turn the ship efficiently.

Let's go back to basics and use your work but first, the evidence of Lightoller.

When he got out of his bunk, he went over to the ship's side, looked over and guessed the ship was making between 4 and 6 knots. How long was that after impact? Here again is his evidence:

" I lay there for a few moments, it might have been a few minutes, and then feeling the engines had stopped I got up...... I, first of all, looked forward to the bridge and everything seemed quiet there. I could see the first Officer standing on the footbridge keeping the look out. I then walked across to the side, and I saw the ship had slowed down, that is to say, was proceeding slowly through the water......She was proceeding slowly, a matter of perhaps six knots or something like that.....four to six knots. I did not stay there long."

We know from Dillon, the only survivor who was in the engine room at the time of impact that the engines stopped turning about 92 seconds after impact. We also know from Leading Fireman Barratt that the order to shut dampers must have come at the moment of impact. A reminder:

"The bell rang, the red light showed. We sang out shut the doors (indicating the ash doors to the furnaces) and there was a crash just as we sung out."

If we compare the foregoing with what Patrick Dillon, the only survivor from the main engine room said, we can get a very good idea how long it was after the impact that the shutting-down of engines procedure started. This from Dillon:

"Did you feel the shock when the ship struck? - Slightly.
3716. And shortly before that had the telegraph rung? - Yes.
3717. Can you say at all how long before she struck that was? - Two seconds."


From the foregoing, it seems that the Greasers who answered the emergency engine order from the bridge also passed-on the shut dampers (Stop) signal to the boiler rooms. If they started closing all of the boiler rooms at that moment, then the only boiler room which did not completely shut off draft to the boilers would have been number 6. This means the production of steam began falling off rapidly almost immediately after the telegraph order from the bridge.

Dillon also said that the main engines stopped turning about 1 minute 32 seconds after impact. If Lightoller had looked over the side at about that time and the ship's speed had dropped to between 4 and 6 knots, then she was slowing down very rapidly indeed. If, as Dillon said, the engines started turning astern about 30 seconds after that and ran for another 2 minutes, then Titanic was dead in the water about 4 minutes after impact. Do you agree?

Now apply the foregoing to pages 23 to 26 of your article "Two Points in 37 Seconds".

In these pages, you have calculated the path and lapsed time of Titanic from the time the hard-a-starboard (hard left)helm order is applied until the moment Titanic responds to the application of the helm turned in the opposite way.. hard-a-port(hard right). The result shows a swing to port of 22 degrees in a time of 47.5 seconds
Correct me if I misinterpret your work (I'm sure you will); but surely, if it took 47.5 seconds to swing 22 degrees to the left; discounting any other influences; it would take another 47.5 second for Titanic to return to pointing in the direction she was pointing before the first helm order was applied?

If that's so, then your work shows that it took a total of 95 seconds ... (1 minute 35 seconds at 22.5 knots) ...for Titanic to swing left 22 degrees then swing right 22 degrees and return her to her original heading.
Something's wrong there Sam. The evidence shows that the engines were completely stopped about 92 seconds ... 1 minute 32 seconds after the first helm order and that at that time, Titanic was making between 4 and 6 knots. Also that available steam pressure had been falling from almost the very first helm order.

If, as Dillon stated, the engines were set astern about 2 minutes after impact and were stopped again 2 minutes after that; Titanic must have been dead in the water at 11-44pm (if impact took place at 11-40 pm). You'll recall that Boxhall chose a time of 11-45 pm for his time of impact. I always wondered why. Might he have been remembering the time he used when calculating his CQD?

If the foregoing is anywhere near the truth then there's no way Titanic,even with a hard-a-port helm application, could have returned to her former course let alone end-up pointing in a northerly direction without the engines. Worse still; if there had been, as you claim, a south-setting current, then it is highly unlikely that Titanic could have turned to the right at all after the main engines had come to rest for the first time.
While you consider this, keep in mind that for the first four minutes after impact, there was organised chaos in the engine and boiler rooms. The crews therein were compartmentalised behind wt doors. All boiler furnace fires were being shut down and the ship's heart was beating slower and slower as the seconds ticked by.

I note in your article that you did not factor-in a south setting current. How might that have affected the outcome?

Over to you.

Jim C.
 
Mar 22, 2003
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>>If the foregoing is anywhere near the truth then there's no way Titanic,even with a hard-a-port helm application, could have returned to her former course let alone end-up pointing in a northerly direction without the engines.<<

Jim,

If you are going to use my work to support your asscertions, then don't just selectively take what you want and ignore the rest. If you look at page 15 of that article (http://titanic-model.com/articles/Two_Points_in_Thirty_Seven_Seconds/Two Points in Thirty-Seven Seconds.pdf) you will see a graph of heading Vs. time showing results for shifting the rudder over to the opposite direction for three different times. For each case, it took about 17 to 18 seconds to check the swing of the ship to port once the order to shift the helm was received. Thereafter, the ship started a turn to starboard as shown. Notice that in the turn for t2 = 27.5 sec (green curve), the time the rudder order to shift the helm to port was received after the initial hard-astarboard order at t=0, the ship reached a maximum heading angle of 23° (about 2 points) to port at about t = 44 sec before it started to swing back in the opposite direction. Also notice that at t = 90, the ship was pointing to about -12° on the relative scale that was used. That would correspond to 277°T, and still turning to starboard at a rate of about 0.9° per sec.

I also believe what Dillon heard seconds before impact was the telegraph reply bells, not the initial telegraph orders from the bridge. As you know Hichens, Fleet and Lee all said that the ship's head turned to port before the impact occurred. Fleet thought it turned from 1 to 2 points. Hichens saw a turn of 2 points on the compass, which I believe was the maximum swing of the ship, not the amount before impact. It's all addressed in the article.

Lastly, as far as shutting the dampers, if steam pressure had started to reduce immediately as a result of that action, then the safety valves would never have opened, which we know they did some time later. For that to happen, the head of steam had to continue to INCREASE despite the dampers being closed after the ship came to a stop.

Lastly, as far as Lightoller's observation looking over the side of the ship, that could very well have been after the engines were reversed or while they were being reverse. He said that he got up after he noticed that engines came to stop which, he said, could have been "a few minutes" after the collision. As you pointed out, Dillon recalled the engines reversing about 30 seconds after they came to a stop, and did so for about 2 minutes.
 
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A few random thoughts to spice the discussion...

First, I seriously question the accuracy of any human estimate of the passage of time. Much of my life has been spent in broadcasting where time is money. I have known announcers who could speak for 30 seconds, plus or minus one; and for a minute plus or minus 2 or three seconds. They could do that by a sense of the syalables and not by time. And, even those people couldn't estimate 1:30 or 2 minutes. People just don't have built-in clocks. So estimates of the passage of time are worth just about what you pay for them, possibly less.

My experience with currents is that as Jim points out they are hardly uniform. Even so, I'm not sold that a current alone would have caused Titanic to rotate that night as eyewitnesses described. If current played a role in the position of the wreck, I rather suspect it was a depth and not close to the surface. Just supposin'.

As to the safety valves opening, maybe they did. However, I think the overall context does not favor that interpretation. The steam started venting at just about midnight, which was also when boiler room #6 was being abandoned. A prudent engineer would have pulled the steam dump at that time just to prevent any unexpected steam buildup. (Yes, it's happened. A French crew famously abandoned ship only to have it run their lifeboat down a few hours later. Lots of mistakes in that cluster!)

As to the helm orders I have my own thoughts which are subject to debate. One thing is certain, however. Titanic was headed straight at the iceberg according to both lookouts Fleet and Lee. And, the ship was still heading straight at doom when Fleet made his phone call. Otherwise, Fleet would not have said, “Iceberg right ahead.” (Even more to the point, if the ship had been turning away from the berg at the time of the phone call there would have been no reason for Fleet to have called the bridge in the first place.) Anyway, there just doesn't seem to be enough time between that phone call and impact for the maneuvers claimed in the conventional wisdom.

As to engine orders...it's somewhat incomprehensible to me that everyone assumes Titanic was handled in the manner of a single-screw ship. From a maneuvering standpoint it was a twin-screw vessel with all the maneuvering advantages of that configuration. Sam has stated previousl that the ship was, in fact, maneuvered on screws during departure from Southampton. Why wouldn't Murdoch have done so when he found himself “in extremis” with an iceberg that night? It's been my experience that men fall back on their experience in such situations.

-- David G. Brown
 
Mar 22, 2003
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David, I quite agree with you about the accuracy of people's estimates regarding the passage of time. Add to that people's estimates of distances, bearings, and even the sequence of various events, especially those that take place in rapid succession. That is why any single person's view of something that is subjective in nature must be used with caution.
 

Jim Currie

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Hello Sam.

>

If you are going to use my work to support your asscertions, then don't just selectively take what you want and ignore the rest. If you look at page 15 of that article (http://titanic-model.com/articles/Two_Points_in_Thirty_Seven_Seconds/Two Points in Thirty-Seven Seconds.pdf) you will see a graph of heading Vs. time showing results for shifting the rudder over to the opposite direction for three different times.
I am familiar with that bit of the work and the rest of your paper. I did read it Sam and must say, it is an extremely scholarly bit of work. As you point out is states:

It took about 17 to 18 seconds to check the swing of the ship to port once the order to shift the helm was received. Thereafter, the ship started a turn to starboard as shown. Notice that in the turn for t2 = 27.5 sec (green curve), the time the rudder order to shift the helm to port was received after the initial hard-a starboard order at t=0, the ship reached a maximum heading angle of 23° (about 2 points) to port at about t = 44 sec before it started to swing back in the opposite direction. Also notice that at t = 90, the ship was pointing to about -12° on the relative scale that was used. That would correspond to 277°T, and still turning to starboard at a rate of about 0.9° per sec.

However, we are not comparing like for like. In your work, you use a tripple screw vessel with engines turning at a constant rate and making 22.5 knots. Titanic was the vessel of your calculations and page 15 of your article right up until three things happened:

(1). The engines order was received and subsequently obeyed.
(2). The engines began to slow down and the center propeller ceased to rotate.
(3). the vessels' forward progress was effected by striking a realtively solid object with her starboard bow

I quote from the same work:

"To get the ships location and heading after the order to turn is given, we need to be able to
specify the ship’s speed
, her heading angle, and her drift angle for any value of time. Knowing
how these three parameters change from one time interval to another, we can find the next
incremental location and heading of the ship from the previous values."


These qualifications could not be met when calculating Titanic's path after the first helm order was given. Do you agree?


I also believe what Dillon heard seconds before impact was the telegraph reply bells, not the initial telegraph orders from the bridge.

How can you believe that Sam?
I can assure you without fear of informed contradiction that if Dillon heard the reply telegraph bells ringing when the greasers acknowledged Murdoch's order then he could not have failed to hear the first ring-down from the bridge. Not unless he was somewhere far removed from the main engine room. If the Greasers who answered the telegraph were close to the Control Platform then the rings would be almost sequential.
Additionally: If Murdoch had not received an almost instantaneous acknowledgement. he would have had Moody on the ER phone PDQ.

As you know Hichens, Fleet and Lee all said that the ship's head turned to port before the impact occurred. Fleet thought it turned from 1 to 2 points. Hichens saw a turn of 2 points on the compass, which I believe was the maximum swing of the ship, not the amount before impact. It's all addressed in the article.


If Murdoch was doing his job properly, then I would have expected him to be scanning ahead of the ship the minute he heard the three bell warning. I would also have expected him to give the helm order as soon as he was sure of the direction in which clear water lay. Obviously he saw it between the three bells ringing and the last word uttered by Moody. Equally obviously, clear water was to his left.

There is only one way that Fleet or Lee could have known that the bow was swinging in any direction and that was by referencing the forestay with a fixed object directly ahead.. a star for instance. Using the berg for reference would be dodgy since it was slightly to starboard already and the ship was in the act of passing it.

As for Hichens's 2 points; when Titanic hit that iceberg; I agree with you. She would yaw to the left at the moment of contact. It happens all the time when a ship contacts the quay with her bow. The magnetic unlike a gyro compass, swings violently.

A little bit of extra information Sam.

Because the starboard bow contact was almost continuous (The sound of the scraping suggest this), Her bow would first have yawed (" little under 2 degrees) left then returned back to starboard. It would then 'crab' to the right and the her stern would momentarily swing away from the ice before coming back toward it. After that she would turn to port until she was stopped from doing so. It is a phenomenon experienced when the bow of a ship heavily contacts a free standing mooring dolphin. It happen at Sullem Voe Alpha Single Point Mooring at the Oil Terminal back in 1977. I know, because I did the damage survey of the 360 degree bearing and the associated accident report. It might still be on record somewhere.

Lastly, as far as shutting the dampers, if steam pressure had started to reduce immediately as a result of that action, then the safety valves would never have opened, which we know they did some time later. For that to happen, the head of steam had to continue to INCREASE despite the dampers being closed after the ship came to a stop.

Sam, you know as well as I do that as soon as the engineers got to the control platform they would divert pressure to the condensers and vent excess steam to keep the lid on the boilers. Boiler Room 6 was immediately redundant. "To prevent explosion, fires had to be raked out of the furnaces and steam pressure had to be reduced rapidly; this was done by manually lifting the safety valves using the easing gear fitted to valves for that purpose. It was the operation of the easing gear which resulted in the roar of steam from the vent pipes together with the natural release from boilers generating steam no longer required by the engines." You will recall that a witness noticed that there was no water in one of the boilers.
You've obviously never seen a steam vessel come quickly to a halt. I suggest a trip on one of your stern wheelers or perhaps a trip on the SS Waverley, the last ocean-going side paddle steamer.
I don't know if your old enough, but back in the days of steam locomotives, venting to atmosphere was a common practice.
I also suggest to you that they were venting excess steam when the wireless operators asked Smith to do something about it and that's what was on the note QM Olliver carried down to Chief Engineer Bell.

Lastly, as far as Lightoller's observation looking over the side of the ship, that could very well have been after the engines were reversed or while they were being reverse. He said that he got up after he noticed that engines came to stop which, he said, could have been "a few minutes" after the collision. As you pointed out, Dillon recalled the engines reversing about 30 seconds after they came to a stop, and did so for about 2 minutes.


It could very well have been Sam, but it was not. The reason I know that is because when Lightoller did his dash to look over the side, he also saw Murdoch on the port side of the bridge wing and Captain Smith on the starboard wing. Both men were staring ahead. The only reason these gents would be where that were and doing what they were doing was to ensure that the ship was not heading into more dangers as she was coming to a halt.
I suggest to you that the following was taking place at that moment.
The engines were stopped, the engineers were in the act of engaging the reverse gear and soon the engines would start moving astern. The moment that happened, Murdoch would continue to look ahead and Smith would watch the propeller wash. As the ship came to a halt, the wash would spread in a circle round and out from the stern. The revolutions would keep building. As soon as the wash was abeam of the stern post, Smith would ring down STOP and Titanic would be as near as possible, dead in the water. If Lightollers' observation over the side was correct, there would be no need for Titanic's engines to be powered-up to Full Astern. Not unless the bridge people saw another iceberg ahead. Keep in mind that at that time, their ability to avoid anything ahead would be severely restricted.

You accuse me of being selective. Perhaps I learn from you? I quote from your work once again:

"He [Murdoch]then ordered the helm hard aport after the berg had passed aft of the bridge in an apparent attempt to minimize contact with the berg along the ship’s starboard side. It was not a collision avoidance maneuver, but a maneuver to minimize contact damage. "

That's an opinion Sam which has no basis in fact. It is in reality a loose interpretation of the evidence of the only witness to the application of right rudder ... QM Oliver. I say 'loose interpretation'. How else could your definitive statement come from:
"I know the orders I heard when I was on the bridge was after we had struck the iceberg. I heard hard aport, and there was the man at the wheel and the officer. The officer was seeing it was carried out right.
Senator BURTON: Where was the iceberg, do you think, when the helm was shifted?
Mr. OLLIVER: The iceberg was away up stern."

The only facts that can be gleaned from this evidence are:

1. Olliver was on the bridge when he heard the order hard-a-port.
2. Olliver heard it after the impact but we do not know how long after.
3. The order was given when the iceberg had passed 'way up stern"? (Not a recognisable nautical term).
4: Olliver was off and on the bridge at numerous times from the time of impact until he sent away for good. It follows that he, Olliver, could have heard that order at any time when he visited the bridge after impact.


Jim C.
 

Jim Currie

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Hello David.

[QUOTE=David G. Brown;372746]A few random thoughts to spice the discussion...

First, I seriously question the accuracy of any human estimate of the passage of time.


Totally agree! Although age plays funny tricks. I forget what I had for tea yesterday but can tell you what I was eating way back in 1945. lol

However there seems to have been bit of corroboration regarding that 1 minute 30 seconds interval we're discussing.

My experience with currents is that as Jim points out they are hardly uniform. Even so, I'm not sold that a current alone would have caused Titanic to rotate that night as eyewitnesses described.

Not sure what you mean here David. However I am sure that you and Sam will agree that if Titanic was trying to turn north into a south-setting current and she did not have full engine power then she could not have done so. I am convinced that there is overwhelming evidence to show that she did not have the where-with-all to perform that turn and consequently end up pointing to the northward of her original course. However, I am perfectly willing to consider a fully supported alternative argument.

If current played a role in the position of the wreck, I rather suspect it was a depth and not close to the surface. Just supposin'.

I totally agree. I read somewhere that there is evidence of bottom-scour in the vicinity of the wreck. The debris field doesn't support that though. Having said that, The Western Boundary Current.. Gulf Stream is known to extend to a very great depth in places. The fast bit is at the top.

As to the safety valves opening, maybe they did. However, I think the overall context does not favor that interpretation. The steam started venting at just about midnight, which was also when boiler room #6 was being abandoned. A prudent engineer would have pulled the steam dump at that time just to prevent any unexpected steam buildup.

Actually the manual venting would have started no more than 10 minutes after impact.

Titanic's safety valves were fitted with a manual over-ride. As soon as they started raking fires, they would manually relieve the pressure in the boilers they were working on. Cold water and boilers full of HP steam do not mix well. According to Fireman Beauchamp who was in Boiler Room 6: "after the order was given to shut up, an order was given to draw fires. I could not say how many minutes, but the order was given to draw fires."
That order must have been given by Engineer Shepherd since he was left behind the WT door after Leading Fireman Barratt and Engineer Hesketh escaped before the WR door was fully closed. So we know the venting process came quickly after that or at the same time. Certainly no more than 10 minutes after impact.

(Even more to the point, if the ship had been turning away from the berg at the time of the phone call there would have been no reason for Fleet to have called the bridge in the first place.) Anyway, there just doesn't seem to be enough time between that phone call and impact for the maneuvers claimed in the conventional wisdom.


Fleet said the bow began to swing... was not swinging....while he was at the phone.

When The three bells were heard, Murdoch would scan the sea directly ahead of his ship. He would immediately see what Fleet and Lee were seeing. In a flash of time he would decide his actions and take them. We are talking seconds here, David.
The Lookout scenario was probably a " Stare ahead...... what the......Ding-ding-ding.....Stare ahead for a few moments more- Oh shit! Panic. Call to the boss" In Fleets own words: " As soon as the reply came back "Thank you," the helm must have been put either hard-a-starboard or very close to it, because she veered to port, and it seemed almost as if she might clear it, but I suppose there was ice under water."


As to engine orders...it's somewhat incomprehensible to me that everyone assumes Titanic was handled in the manner of a single-screw ship. From a maneuvering standpoint it was a twin-screw vessel with all the maneuvering advantages of that configuration.


In fact, she was a tripple screw ship David. Sam was probably referring to the tight turn at the bottom of the channel at the north end of The Solent. At that position the bend is acute. You can't negotiate it at speed in a ship of any length. Otherwise you would end up on the bank. Titanic would not have her turbine running at that time. She would possibly be at half or even slow speed so her rudder would be sluggish. The Pilot would order had-a starboard, mid-ship. Full ahead Starboard and stop port engine.
Such twin screw manoeuvres are commonplace in tight spaces. I've done it in the past when leaving the locks and turning in the basin.

Certainly sweeping the cobwebs with this one. Eh?

Jim C.
 
Mar 22, 2003
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>>That's an opinion Sam which has no basis in fact. It is in reality a loose interpretation of the evidence of the only witness to the application of right rudder ... QM Oliver.<<

Yes, an opinion based on the evidence presented at the inquiries and also based on statements made by QM Hichens to Howard Chapin on board Carpathia.

>>Sam was probably referring to the tight turn at the bottom of the channel at the north end of The Solent. At that position the bend is acute. You can't negotiate it at speed in a ship of any length. Otherwise you would end up on the bank. Titanic would not have her turbine running at that time. She would possibly be at half or even slow speed so her rudder would be sluggish. The Pilot would order had-a starboard, mid-ship. Full ahead Starboard and stop port engine.<<

Not exactly the way Olympic was actually handled while turning the W Bramble buoy. How you would have handled her is not the way she was actually handled. But we're talking about the way Murdoch handled Titanic during the encounter with an iceberg. I've already pointed out the the stopping of the engines came minutes after the ship struck ice, not seconds. You can add to the three I already referred to the estimate of greaser Ranger when he saw the chageover valves lifted on the turbine following the accident. There was plenty of time for the ship to swing back to starboard before the engines came to a stop. The movement of the ocean has nothing to do with any of this as we are talking about the ship's movement on a homogenous body of water.
 

Jim Currie

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>

Yes, an opinion based on the evidence presented at the inquiries and also based on statements made by QM Hichens to Howard Chapin on board Carpathia.


Mmmm. I seem to remember you chastising for not sticking to facts Sam. Your opinion regarding Titanic's turning maneouvre is not based on facts but on your interpretation of the facts I outlined to you in my last post.

Not exactly the way Olympic was actually handled while turning the W Bramble buoy. How you would have handled her is not the way she was actually handled.

I did not suggest that she was Sam. I remind you:

Sam was probably referring to the tight turn at the bottom of the channel at the north end of The Solent.

I have no idea what transpired between you and David. I was simply quoting from memory of the place. Perhaps I should have used the word "possibly" then you could have saved some time?

But we're talking about the way Murdoch handled Titanic during the encounter with an iceberg. I've already pointed out the the stopping of the engines came minutes after the ship struck ice, not seconds.

Yes Sam! We're talking about how Murdoch handled Titanic, but we're also talking about whether in fact it was physically possible to handle her in the way you say he handled her. I say he did not and I have given you reasons why I think so.
Among the reason I give are quotes from your own work which tell us that a ship like Titanic attempting a double turn with helm hard over both ways at an unchanging propeller revolution speed will change from one heading to another then back to the original heading in a time of 1 minute 35 seconds.
In the same article you write "It was about two minutes after the collision that the valves that fed exhaust steam from the reciprocating engines to the turbine engine were seen to have lifted thereby bypassing the turbine engine. And it was about then that people first noticed that the engines had come to a stop.
Not all people noticed that Sam. The man who was actually looking at the engines when they stopped said they did so in a minute and a half. All of which tells me that the central propeller was locked or free-wheeling about a minute after impact. Now what do you think that would do to the steering?
Not only that but crucially, he said that 30 seconds after the main engines stopped, they started turning astern. That would have been 2 minutes after impact. They ran astern for a further 2 minutes then stopped again.
That tells us that 4 minutes after impact, Titanic was dead in the water.

Your article suggest Titanic could turn at steady 1 point in about 20 seconds at 75 rpm. That means it would have taken her 4 minutes from when hard-a-port was fully applied to end-up heading NW. But all forward movement had stopped by that time and that big central prop had been dragging like a sea anchor for the previous 3 minutes. In a totally flat calm still ocean; even with a hard-a-port helm; there was no way she would have ended-up heading Northward of her original course Sam.

As for when the valve was lifted to bypass the turbine.. that was not 2 minutes after impact, it was when the men in the electrical workshop turned round and noticed it was stopped; not necessary the moment it stopped. Ranger said it was about 2 minutes after impact yet in his evidence he said:
"Did you take any notice of it [the sensation of impact] as regards your work, or did you go on with your work? - No,[we did not go on with our work] we turned round and saw the turbine engine was stopped. We turned round and looked into the engine room and saw the turbine engine was stopped."

Reminds me of "The Road to Morocco"... Slowly I turned.....:D

There was plenty of time for the ship to swing back to starboard before the engines came to a stop. The movement of the ocean has nothing to do with any of this as we are talking about the ship's movement on a homogenous body of water.

Yes there was time for her to swing back to starboard but as I point out, your own work shows that it would have taken 1 minute 25 seconds for her with engines running continuously at 75 rpm to do so. I assume your remark abut homogenious ocean is your way of stating that a south setting current would have no effect on the turning ability? Really?
Sam, I'm sure that you know that when a ship is stopped in a current, she will adopt a cross-current attitude until she goes ahead again. The moment she does so, her bow acts a little like a rudder ... there is greater pressure on the side the current is impinging on. With the result, the helmsman has to apply enough counter- rudder to keep the ship going straight. The second Titanic started slowing down.. and for reasons (drag) shown in your article ... that would begin the second hard left rudder was applied. As the speed dropped, the rudder efficiency would be slightly reduced. As her speed continued to drop, the rudder efficiency would continue to drop. By the time she was making 4 knots, her bow would start to feel any current effect and she would become sluggish. Very soon after that, the helmsman would loose control.

You can push the minutes as much as you like Sam but there is no way that ship did an effective zig-zag given the available evidence and your own turning speed calculations.

Personally, I find it inconceivable that a man of Murdoch's experience and maturity would have even contemplated the Zig Zag, given the timing and apparent sequence of events. It's as though he had forgotten all the principals of ship-handling that he had ever learned and knew absolutely nothing about the characteristics and handling properties of an Olympic class vessel.
I suggest to you and others that instead of this mystery and intrigue, it was a very simple Oh s..t! moment.
When Murdoch first saw that iceberg it was very near to the front of the ship. He decided to go to port round it, i.e. go left then resume his course on the far side. However it was too close and the moment she struck, he thought Rudder &Propellers! The rudder could not be moved but he immediately rang a Stop on the props in the hope that ice would not be sucked into the blades and strike one off. The astern movement would have been very quickly added to stop the ship. He would assume that since a heavy contact had been made, she had sustained bottom damage. He would act accordingly until advised of the contrary. That would be the prudent action of any seaman.

Jim C.
 
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I'm sure Dillon used a stop watch to time his observations. How else could you be so certain of when the engines actually came to a stop? We of course can dismiss Stengel's "two or three" minutes because he was only guessing at the time interval or Lightoller's "a few" minutes because he didn't define how many "a few" really are. And we can also dismiss Ranger's two minutes before looking around to see the that the turbine had stopped because it doesn't take that long to turn around and have a look, even though Ranger explained that they did go on with their work after the impact and only turned around about 2 minutes later. Hmm? Could it have been the stopping of the engines at that time that made him decide to have look into the engine room? I guess not, because Dillon said they stopped at 90 seconds after impact, so if was the the engines stopping that caused him to turn around, then it took him 30 seconds to do so, a precise number taken from a stop watch of course.

According to your timeline the ship was dead in the water 4 minutes after impact, and that was with the engines running SLOW ASTERN [Dillon again] for precisely 2 minutes after first caming to a stop 90 seconds after impact and then first starting to reverse 30 seconds after that. That is quite an accomplishment, dead in the water in 4 minutes, given that it's been documented that it takes 3 1/4 minutes to completely take the way off of a vessel like Titanic from the time an order is given to put the engines at FULL ASTERN starting from a speed of only 18 knots (about 60 rpm).

According to you, there was no way Titanic could have ended up heading northward of her original courseline. I guess QM Rowe's observation that the ship was pointing northward while distress signals were being sent up must also be dismissed, as was Lowe's observation as to where that steamer's light was seen 2 points on the port bow, or Beesley's deduction based on his observation of the northern lights from the lifeboat.

But enough of this from you and I. Recall that you started this thread with a diagram that was faulty.