Hello Georges,The Iceberg Season was well known to all officers.
Ice messages provided vital information of the utmost importance. These messages shall be ordered by the Master to be treated in priority over passenger’s traffic just as per the Marconi Rules.
Pilot Books and Pilot Charts clearly indicate the position of the Labrador Current. The drop in temperature was a good indicator of its presence.
Sea of oil, without waves or swell prevents the sea from breaking against an ice field edge or at the base of a growler or iceberg. It so deprives an observer of perceiving the sea breaker photoluminescence during nighttime.
A moonless night significantly lowers the luminous flux and its refraction on the ice. Visibility is reduced by darkness.
One can expect to encounter an ice field in the region of the Labrador Current when there is a significant drop in air temperature subsequent to sea water cooling.
No real additional activity was conducted that would have suggested the seriousness of approaching suspected ice infested waters. Just a routine navigational watch.
Ensuring that the crow’s nest was outfitted with glasses would have motivated the lookouts to pay more attention to the situation.
Fatigue trigger by night shift decreases alertness and concentration.
Chill contributes to eyes water leading to impair vision. Fighting cold causes shivering, fatigue, loss of concentration and space-time consciousness to the extent of mental confusion.
A 21½kts pace was considerable for the time, compared to the average speed of say a dozen knots. At 21½kts, the reaction time is greatly reduced but a flotsam will still not be more visible than at 12 kts.
The fact was known that the lifeboats capacity was insufficient
Instead of being on Bridge, the Master was on the Settee!
You can skate as much as you like Jim but the fact is that the vessel collided against an iceberg at 22½kts, during a dead calm moonless night, while being well informed of the proximity of icefields and icebergs, on board a brand new passenger vessel carrying insufficient lifeboats capacity, that finally lead to disastrous human, financial and reputation consequences.
Other than stating ice was at 42 North on April 12, 2 days earlier, what vital information regarding ice in that message did Smith ignore?
A drop in air or sea temperature, Georges? The average surface temperature of the Labrador Current right down to The Tail at this moment in time is about 37F. Sea surface temperature taken in the way it was taken in 1912 was no indicator of anything, other than in the case of Californian, a ship is stopped in a pool of fresh ice melt.
As I pointed out to Sam, the idea of a 1+ knot current running south at that point is nonsense. Heavens! If that were true, it was running faster than the North Atlantic Current extension of the Gulf Stream and would have set Carpathia to the south-west [not northeast] of her target - Titanic's CQD position. As a result, Rostron would never have found Boxhall.
As I also pointed out to Sam: if you plot the ice reports for the entire month of April, you will discover that the ice was moving eastward to the south of the tail of the Grand Bank, immediately south of the 42nd parallel. Take particular note of the difference between the tracks followed by the Mesaba during April 14 and the tracks followed by the Prinz Adalbert on April 16.
Lookouts were warned to look out for small ice from 9 pm onward. Smith had the luxury of 2 lookouts and three deck officers on his bridge. That's ten young eyes to his two old ones.
Don't you think that Smith knew all these facts about the ability to see ice under varying conditions? Of course he did! He was probably better at it than you or me.
Your remark about binoculars tells me that your experience with lookouts is modern and that you have not spent many hours up in the nest or at the stem head... exhausted or otherwise.
The evidence tells us that Smith was not in the least "well informed" about the immediate situation. It tells us that if he applied his experience to the information he did have, he would have concluded that the danger from ice would be well away to the northeastward from where it was located 2 days earlier.
The capacity of the lifeboats has absolutely nothing to do with Smith's actions.
In my day, all masters lay down in the day-bed (or settee) fully clothed during a time where there might be even the smallest risk to their ship. The presence of the Master on the bridge outside normal times indicated several things:
1. Lack of confidence in those to whom he delegated authority.
2. Lack of ability to delegate.
3. Lack of belief in personal ability.
4, An affection for the Officer of the Watch.
Can't see Smith and lightoller or Murdoch as an item...can you?