The listing sequence


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Arun Vajpey

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Soon after the impact with the iceberg, the Titanic started to list to starboard, right? But at some point later, the uneven flooding caused the ship to right herself and then eventually list to port, which remained until just before the final plunge began.

Is there a link - or can someone explain in detail - the sequence involved? The EXTENT of the listing each way, the specific FACTORS of the flooding in relation to the Titanic's anatomy that led to this pattern of listing and the TIMELINE involved for the entire sequence?

The eyewitness accounts and the particular difficulties experienced by the various lifeboats as they were launched would have a direct relationship to the listing sequence, I imagine.
 

Tad G. Fitch

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Arun,
I saw your post directing us here on the other thread. In regards to the general listing sequence, it was reported by eyewitnesses as summarized below:
-An initial 5 degree list to starboard 5 minutes after the collision.
-By the time #6 lowered away, the starboard list was still present, but had lessened. It caused #6 to rest against the port hull as it lowered, but Pitman didn't notice a significant list when he was at #5.
-During the lowering of #16, #14, and #12 on the aft port side, as well as during the loading of the aft starboard boats, there were either reports of a slight list to port, or no list reported.
-During the loading of #10, the port list had increased significantly, with a gap of around 2 1/2 feet or more between the port side of the ship and the lifeboat. This caused some significant problems with loading, including a woman falling in between the boat and ship, and passengers having to be "chucked" across the gap.
-Reports of a list of at least this big or greater are present, particularly regarding #4, Collapsible C and D. C rubbed up against the hull and they had difficulty lowering it as a result, while D hung away from the ship by approximately 5 feet. Boat #4 didn't hang that far away, because Lightoller had tied it to the coaling wire on the hull earlier in the night, and this prevented it from swinging away from the hull like some of the other boats did.

If you go to our lifeboat launch sequence article on Bill Wormstedt's page and go to the section "Preliminaries Which Affect the Overall Launch Sequence and Timings", item #4 deals with the accounts of the listing of the ship in depth, and might answer some of your questions further than what I did here:

http://home.comcast.net/%7Ebwormst/titanic/lifeboats/lifeboats.htm

I am sure some of the more technically-oriented researchers here might have some interesting points and more specifics regarding the structure of the ship, and why the list shifted from starboard to port when the eyewitnesses said it did.

Kind regards,
Tad
 
Oct 28, 2000
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Titanic took a list to starboard within minutes of impact. It retained this list for most, but not all of the sinking. Toward the end it lost the starboard list and began rolling to port. The difference between a list and a roll is critical. The list was a relatively constant "lean" to one side. But, once Titanic began laying over to port, it continued doing so at a continuously greater angle until it sank. Quite obviously, the factors involved in the original starboard list were quite different from those that produced the final port roll.

The traditional view is that the firemen's tunnel through holds #2 and #1 acted as a coffer dam, confining flooding to the starboard side. This resulted in the starboard list. Undoubtedly, this theory is at least partially true. However, I believe there must have been more factors in play than just the tunnel because of the rapid flooding of hold #3 and the persistence of the starboard list.

As to the port roll, all bets are off. There is too little knowledge to cover all the possibilities. Naval architect Wilding suggested it was caused by water moving up Scotland Road on E deck. Again, a possibility, but one that does not seem to account for both correcting the starboard list and causing a continuing roll to port.

From a sailor's perspective, however, the unexpected and rather rapid change from starboard list to port roll was a clear sign the end was near. It indicated the ship was developing stability problems normally associated with a ship that is in the final stage of foundering.

-- David G. Brown
 
Jul 9, 2000
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Arun, you may find it useful to check out some of Edward Wilding's testimony before the Mersey Wreck Commission since he speaks to some of the questions you've raised.

See http://www.titanicinquiry.org/BOTInq/BOTInq18Wilding01.php

http://www.titanicinquiry.org/BOTInq/BOTInq19Wilding01.php

http://www.titanicinquiry.org/BOTInq/BOTInq20Wilding01.php

and

http://www.titanicinquiry.org/BOTInq/BOTInq27Wilding01.php

Regarding timelines, there really aren't any contemporary to the time because nobody was keeping an ongoing record. Everything we know about what the survivors witnessed comes from their own often imprecise and contradictory testimony.
 

Arun Vajpey

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Thanks for that Tad, David & Michael. Tad, this is from your post:


>>>>>>>>>During the loading of #10, the port list had increased significantly, with a gap of around 2 1/2 feet or more between the port side of the ship and the lifeboat. This caused some significant problems with loading, including a woman falling in between the boat and ship, and passengers having to be "chucked" across the gap. <<<<<<<<

Even though Bill Wormstedt's excellent article (I have saved that link. I hope that is OK) suggests that Lifeboat #10 was probably launched later than originally supposed - maybe even the last aft boat on the port side - the question remains how long before its launching was that port list "significant"? The diagram in Bill's page showing #10 and #C on either side is very telling but the time given (01:50am) can cut both ways. From what you and Bill have said, that port list was probably already significant by 1:30am and so the list alone cannot be used as evidence that Collapsible C (which bumped and scraped against the Titanic's starboard side as it was lowered) could not have been launched somewhere between 1:40am & 1:45am as some others argue.



>>>>>>> As to the port roll, all bets are off. There is too little knowledge to cover all the possibilities. Naval architect Wilding suggested it was caused by water moving up Scotland Road on E deck. Again, a possibility, but one that does not seem to account for both correcting the starboard list and causing a continuing roll to port. <<<<<<<

I have read accounts that one of the reasons for this was that there were more open spaces on the port side (was the Turkish Bath one of them?) and once these started to fill-up around 1am, water found its natural way to the part side and so contributed to the list (or roll
happy.gif
). Also, I think Walter Lord mentions in THE NIGHT LIVES ON that undetected damage to the double bottom also might have contributed to the eventual port list. Could that have been the case?
 

Tad G. Fitch

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Hi Arun, how are you?

You wrote:
"Lifeboat #10 was probably launched later than originally supposed - maybe even the last aft boat on the port side - the question remains how long before its launching was that port list "significant"?"

As far as pinpointing the exact timing down to the minute, that is somewhat difficult. What can be stated is that during the loading of #16, #14, #12, as well as all the aft starboard boats, the descriptions range from either no list, to a slight port list. We can further say that the port list grew much more significant sometime in the timeframe between the loading of #12 and when loading began on #10.

You wrote:
"The diagram in Bill's page showing #10 and #C on either side is very telling but the time given (01:50am) can cut both ways."

It is important to clarify that the 1:50 time on the diagram represents when #10 began lowering away, and Collapsible C was loading.

You wrote:
"so the list alone cannot be used as evidence that Collapsible C (which bumped and scraped against the Titanic's starboard side as it was lowered) could not have been launched somewhere between 1:40am & 1:45am as some others argue."

That is the reason we haven't argued that the port list proves Collapsible C left at 2:00. Evidence regarding the list is helpful, in conjunction with other evidence, of when certain boats left. It is very helpful with the aft boats, since the accounts show a list at #10 that wasn't present at the other aft boats, but which was present during the loading/launch of #4, C, and D.

As far as Collapsible C, one has to take all of the eyewitness statements into account to determine an accurate time for when this boat left. Proponents of the 1:40 a.m. time will almost always ignore Rowe's statement that this boat left 20 minutes before Titanic sank, Ismay's estimate of 10 minutes, Carter's of less than 1/2 hour, etc.

Other "forensic" evidence that is useful, besides the degree of the list, are the physical aspects of the ship. Take for example the correlation between the accounts of Quartermasters Rowe and Bright. As you know, proponents of the 1:40 time for Collapsible C argue that Collapsible D left 25 minutes later at 2:05, despite the statements of Woolner, Steffansson, Boxhall, Hemming, and others that contradict this large of a gap between the boats.

Sam Halpern, who has a great knowledge of the physical aspects of the ship, noted the following from Rowe and Bright's testimony that further supports that C and D left within 5 minutes of each other, in other words, the former left at 2:00:

-Rowe says that the forward Well Deck was "awash" when Collapsible C began lowering. Due to the port list, it took 5 minutes to lower this boat down due to it catching on the rivets, etc. By the time C reached the water, the Well Deck was "submerged". In order for the Well Deck to be submerged and not just awash, the forecastle head had to have gone under water. So, sometime in the 5 minutes between Collapsible C starting to lower, and touching down in the water, the forecastle head went under.
-Looking at Quartermaster Bright's testimony, we see that he specifically describes that as Collapsible D started lowering, the forecastle head was just going under water.

Looking at these two accounts, we see that these observations support a launch time of C and D within 5 minutes of each other, and not 25 minutes. This sort of evidence is something that is often overlooked, but all of this needs to be taken into account for an accurate picture of what happened to emerge.

Kind regards,
Tad
 
Mar 22, 2003
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What was remarkable about the Titanic was that it was relatively stable for over 2 hours, trimming down by the head slowly and listing such a small amount that it did not affect the launching of most of the lifeboats until the very end. We know from several eyewitness accounts that the ship took on an early 5 degree list to starboard soon after the collision with the iceberg. The degree of the list was measured on the ship's clinometer located in the wheelhouse within the first 10 minutes (Hichens). The cause of the initial list was asymmetrical flooding. The watertight firemen's tunnel obviously played a part in this for short while in the areas of holds No. 2 and 3. The firemen's tunnel was only about 10 feet high, so once the water rose above, it would start to flood space on the port side as well, eventually allowing the list to self correct.

During the launching of the forward starboard boats the list had started to lessen somewhat. A little over an hour after the collision, about 12:45-12:50 (according to Wheat), the ship was still listing to starboard enough to cause floodwater flowing aft along E deck (above the level of the transverse watertight bulkheads) to reach the first class staircase between the 1st and 2nd funnels coming along the starboard side corridor. The water had also reached the ship's centerline since was seen flowing down those stairs onto F deck by steward Wheat. However, the working alley on the port side at that time was still dry.

Soon after seeing boat #7, the first boat to be launched, pull away from the ship, steward Ray went down to get his coat from his room room on E deck and then went forward to the door going into the 1st class staircase. By then water was in both corridors, port and starboard, next to those stairs indicating that the list had straightened out somewhat. Ray could not have been there much more than 5 minutes after Wheat was.

When boat #6 was being lowered, they had to keep it away from the ship's side a little bit before it reached the water, indicating that the ship was still carrying a slight list to starboard. When boat #1 was being lowered, it was noted that the list was in their favor as the boat never touched the side. During the loading of the last three port boats aft either no list or a slight list to port was reported. The last three starboard boats aft were all loaded from A deck, something they would not have done if the ship was still carrying a list to starboard by that time. By time they started to load boat #10 the list had definitely shifted well over to port. A gap of about 2 1/2 ft was observed between the ship's rail on the boat deck and the side of the boat. Knowing the dimensions of the lifeboat, the davits and how far they swung out, plus the estimated size of the observed gap, the list of the ship can be shown to have been about 10 degrees. By time boats C and D left the ship, near 2 a.m., it can be shown that D had about 10 feet to be lowered while C had to be lowered about 26 ft to reach the sea when taking into account both trim and list by that time.

There is no indication that the ship was ever unstable before the breakup began. If it were, it would have capsized. As more and more water entered the ship, the ship would seek new states of equilibrium causing both trim and list to change over time. Apparently, after the initial list to starboard, the ship started a very slow roll back toward port, first straightening out by about 1:15, or thereabouts, when no list would be observed, and then with increasing speed, rolling into a list to port which continued to the end.

The change in list was anything but linear. We have better feel for the change in trim over time. I may add some more to this later if I have more time.
 
Oct 28, 2000
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Sam has done an excellent job of laying out the sequence of events affected by the starboard list. And he has shown what evidence we have available of the change to a port roll.

I have a quibble (not a disagreement, just a semantic thing) with his conclusion that the ship was never unstable before the breakup began. To me, a ship that has corrected a list, then gone on to list to the other side, and is continuing to roll onto that second side is -- by definition -- not stable.

However, I agree with what I think was Sam's intention -- to show the remarkable ability of Titanic to take on enormous amounts of floodwater and still remain a useful platform for launching lifeboats.

Despite my quibble, Sam's post is one to be printed out and filed with other information regarding the stability and launching of lifeboats.

-- David G. Brown
 
Aug 10, 2002
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Ships like the Titanic list for one of two reasons. Either the Center of Gravity (G) is above the Metacenter (M) giving the ship a -GM. Or the Center of Gravity (G) has moved off the centerline of the ship.
In the first case the ship can not remain upright, but must list to one side or the other. The amount of the list will be determined by the amount of -GM. The direction of the list will be determined by external force applied to the ship such as a strong wind or a tugboat pulling. A vessel with a negative GM will have a long slow roll and hang at the end of the roll. It would be a very frightening experience.
In the second case the vessel will list towards the heavy side. The amount of the list will be determined by the amount that the Center of Gravity is off the centerline. The vessel with an off center G can have a large positive GM therefore a very quick roll or a small positive GM therefore a rather long slow roll,but will roll about the angle of list.
In Titanic's case the only thing I can think of that would cause a -GM would be the virtual rise of G due to the Free Surface in the flooded compartments. As a matter of fact I have done some research on this, using Hackett & Bedford's material. It would seem to indicate that in the final stages of sinking, condition C-6 the Titanic had only about .5' of Righting Arm (GZ) at 45 deg. inclination. A reason she maintained as much stability as she did, was added weight low in the hull due to flood water.
Her initial list to Starboard, I have no doubt was due to off center G due to unsymmetrical flooding due to the Fireman's tunnel in holds #2 & #3.
I hope this is helpful to readers.
Regards,
Charlie Weeks
 
Mar 22, 2003
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Hello David.

I'd like to explain why I said what I did. We are quibbling over a technicality here.

A ship does not have to be on an even keel to be stable. A ship with a list can be very stable. Stability has to do with the ability of a ship to go back to the condition it was in after being disturbed slightly by some influence such as a wave or a shifted or added weight that is then removed. Once the disturbance is taken away, a stable ship with positive stability will return to the same condition it was in prior to the disturbance.

The degree of stability is another matter, and most people confuse that with the term stability itself. If there is a strong tendency for a ship to return to its undisturbed condition, we say it is highly stable. If there is a weak tendency for a ship to return to its undisturbed condition, we might say it's stability is weak, or marginally stable. If a small disturbance causes the ship to assume a radically different condition, it is then said to be unstable. An example of this is when a ship capsizes.

Titanic was becoming less stable in the longitudinal (fore/aft) direction very fast soon after collapsible boats C and D were launched. If the ship hadn't broken in two, it would have up ended before it sank. At the same time it was losing stability in the longitudinal direction, it was becoming less stable in the transverse direction. Essentially, it was rolling over sideways while up ending. The stresses imposed started to far exceed its design strength causing the ship to break.
 

Steven Hall

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"The stresses imposed started to far exceed its design strength causing the ship to break."

Looking at the data you provided (article) I agree absolutely with you.
 

Jim Currie

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Hello lads!

I suppose the simplest way to describe to lay persons what went on is by likening a ship to a pendulum. or plumb-bob. The plumb bob would be the hull and the arm or plum-bob cord, the mast. it is then easier (with a little imagination) to visualize what goes on when a ship is subject to certain influences such as adding or removing weights or being pushed over by the sea. Taking the analogy a little further - if it were possible to move a weight up or down the mast - stopping it at intervals - ask yourself the questions: what effect might that have on the hull? Would the ship always return to the upright? At what point would it just 'hang there'. At what point might it capsize?
The moveable weight would represent the combined effects of weights added or subtracted ABOVE the ship's original centre of gravity. I know that's simplistic and I really do know how to do the 'techy' b its.

Talking about 'techy bits' - I see reference to added weights during the sinking process - no weights were added during that time - buoyancy was lost. The underwater shape was constantly changing. Since the centre of buoyancy is the geometric centre of the submerged portion of the ship; it's position would change correspondingly. However, since weight was neither added or subtracted; the position of the ship's centre of gravity would not change.
As Charlie says - it would change if there was free surface effect - in fact, a virtual rise in the position of G. Given the right circumstances, there would be a certain amount of free surface effect due to the slight though ever-present motion of the ship. However, free surface, as you know, does not depend on depth of flood water but rather, as the term implies, the area of the surface. To compensate for it, modern vessels have the areas of compartments divided by bulkheads and in certain cases; deep floors. Was there any areas in Titanic big enough to have produced meaningful FS effect?
 
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Sam -- I really quite agree with your assessment of what happened. It's really just a difference in the way we use the words by which we humans so imprecisely communicate.

"Stability" does include both side-to-side (transverse) and bow-to-stern (longitudinal) components. However, the word is traditionally used with regard only to side-to-side; while "trim" is reserved for fore-and-aft.

My point was that using the traditional stability definition of side-to-side Titanic was quite stable from a practical standpoint for some time after the iceberg even though it listed to starboard. It may have been illusory, but this condition was a factor in getting all the regular lifeboats launched without major incident despite the flooding.

But, once Titanic lost its starboard list there was not even the illusion of stability. It began a slow but continuous roll to port -- indicating a loss of side-to-side (transverse) stability.

The thought just now occurs that perhaps the ship's ability to resist flooding -- its compartmentalization -- may be the real underlying cause of the breakup. Had the ship's subdivision been less effective, flooding would filled the hull more evenly. The stern would not have lifted as it did. Titanic would have rolled on beam ends sooner, had massive downflooding and sank. The strains that we know broke the hull might well never have occurred.

But, I'm breaking my own rule against supposin'...

-- David G. Brown
 

Steven Hall

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Nothing wrong with keeping an open mind' (supposin') Dave.
Somewhere in the middle of all the research done is the actual reason why and how.
 
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>>I know that's simplistic and I really do know how to do the 'techy' b its.<<

Simplistic or not, it's something that mathamatically challanged people...such as myself...can readily understand. More to the point, it's something they can actually test using nothing more then a crude model and either their bathtub of their swimming pool.

>>Was there any areas in Titanic big enough to have produced meaningful FS effect?<<

The largest of the cargo holds could have done that as could the boiler rooms. About the only barrier to an unchecked free surface effect I can think of would be the boilers as well as the cargo which would tend to act a bit like baffles.

I suppose the huge dining saloon could also be consided a possibilty. The catch being that by the time the water has got that high, you're already in so much trouble that you no longer care about such details. You're looking for a way off!
 
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Hello lads:
I used Steve Beveridge's plans, a pair of dividers and a 1" = 350" scale to calculate virtual rise in G for each compartment. My results weren't that far off Wilding's, considering the resources he had, that isn't bad. Someday when I finish the project I'll post it. The breadth of the flooding is the most important dimension, that is why it is cubed in the formula.
Regards,
Charlie Weeks
 

Jim Currie

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Michael,

I agree the largest of the cargo holds would have sufficient area to produce a virtual rise in the position of the Center of Gravity but that would only take place if the holds were empty. Similarly; the boiler room total deck area was big enough but it too was broken-up by boiler stools (supports) etc.
Again; the dining room also had a big enough area to do the trick. The depth of water under it would have no effect since that water was in another compartment.
It is the unrestricted surface area rather than the depth of water in a compartment which creates the problem of free surface

Again; perhaps the concept of 'free surface effect is difficult for laypeople to understand.
I know it's a little more complicated and the physics are not exactly the same; but you can get the idea of what happens by experiment as follows, using a couple of kitchen 'bits'.
You need a large drip-tray - say from the oven and an ordinary saucepan.
First fill the saucepan with enough water that would completely cover the base of the drip tray -the depth in the tray is not too important
- just make sure the water covers the complete base of the tray when it's resting on a table.

First lift the pot full of water - easy! not problem.
Next, transfer the water in the saucepan to the drip tray lying on the table.
Having done this; lift the tray- not so easy this time!
When you lift the tray containing the same amount of water, the tray will seem to 'wobble' although the saucepan was quite steady when you lifted it with exactly the same amount of water.

Now the 'techy' bit.

Morning Charlie,

The problem I have with the virtual rise of G due to FS effect is that as far as I can remember;
virtual rise in G will only take place when an enclosed compartment of the ship is involved.
The amount of liquid in a compartment has little effect on the position of the virtual C.of G. unless it changes the shape of the surface of the liquid in that compartment. The weight of the liquid does, of course, effect the final position of the ships actual centre of Gravity for two reasons:
1: The ship's G would move toward or away from any added or subtracted weight.
2: The added or subtracted weight would change the volume of displacement thus causing a slight rise in the position of G due to free surface.

Theoretically; 1 inch of water in say, a double bottom tank would cause a virtual rise of G much higher than say 1 foot of water. This would hold good when the ship was upright but free surface would be reduced to zero when the ship listed ot either side, as the water would pile-up at the side and the surface would be reduced considerably.

I have a problem with this listing theory. I do not believe that the initial C. of G. ever changed. However, the C. of B. most certainly change and continued to change throughout the sinking process. It's position would change both transversely and longitudinally. Thus the forces acting upward through B would have different effects as the intact, underwater shape of the ship changed. Note the use of the word 'intact'. For this read that part of the ship still contributing to displacement.
The formula for rise in G due to FS is, as you know GG1 = i/V. Where 'i' is the moment of inertia of the free surface area and 'V' is the volume of displacement.
Since displacement is a function of free surface effect then compartments open to the sea are no longer part of the ship unless they contain solid material which will continue to displace sea water. Titanic's 'V' was steadily reducing as the hull became more and more inundated.

I prefer the following listing sequence:

1: Port side , forward bilge area becomes open to the sea. Buoyancy is immediately and thereafter continuously lost.
Centre of Buoyancy moves forward and to the left of the fore and aft line. Consequently, the ship lists to starboard. At this point, the buoyancy of the port side forward keeps the ship at her original trim.

2: Sea water continues to flood the forward part of the vessel until a maximum 5 degree starboard list is reached. at this point, sea water starts to flood transversely and the vessel begins to come upright again. However now, she begins to loose buoyancy port and starboard and the ship starts to trim by the head (bow).

3: The water reaches 'Scotland Road' and now has a clear passage toward the stern. The vessel starts to take-on a port list. This list is held and increases until the compartments outboard and at the same deck level as Scotland road become inundated.

4: The port list remains because the water flooding the hull thereafter is almost still - there was no outside influence to cause it to move back to starboard. It had found it's level. The ship would become more sluggish and 'dead' in the water as she sank lower. However she was also rapidly loosing buoyancy forward of the tipping point and started to sink or should I say 'tip' by the head.

5: The ship continues to 'tip' by the head and consequently the stern rises out of the water.
At some point, the weight of the unsupported stern section sets-up a bending or hogging stress. This excessive stress finds the weakest part of the ship's structure, resulting in failure and subsequent vertical failure of the hull.

Major Puechen offered a very good indication of where this failure took place when, at the US Enquiry, he described seeing the barber's pole floating amongst the wreckage. How did it get out of the sinking ship and arrive at the surface? The Barber Shop was on C deck at the top of the Aft Grand Staircase
 
Mar 22, 2003
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I see that Jim likes to talk about lost buoyancy for a ship in a damaged condition, and mentioned that no weights are added. But it really depends on how you want to look at, and treat the problem. Both methods, lost buoyancy Vs. added weight, yield the same righting moment, and trim and list condition, for a given flooded situation. The lost buoyancy method has some advantages when doing the calculations, like no free surface or free communication corrections to deal with, no change in CG, etc., which is why it is preferred when dealing with damage conditions.

For those who may not know this, Capt. Charles Weeks has taught courses in ship structure, stability, and cargo stowage at the Maine Maritime Academy for many years. He also taught an elective course on Titanic which I believe is now offered as part of a virtual classroom to MMA students.
 
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>>a virtual rise in the position of the Center of Gravity but that would only take place if the holds were empty. <<

To which point I spoke to, as I'm sure you noticed. In fact, all of the largest such spaces has such issues: Filled with cargo, filled with boilers, "filled" with engines, all of which would have same mechanical effect of anti-surge baffles.

The dining saloon has the area, but it's only one deck high. However, take a look at it's location on the ship. By the time you see the floodwaters ingressing there, do you really much care about the finer points of hydrodynamics, or are you looking for a boat?

I know what I'm doing and it's not crunching the numbers!
wink.gif


By the way, I like your saucepan to tray experiment. Perhaps to test what it takes to inhibit free surface effect, one could put some utensils such as very large tongs in the middle which would act as a sort of a baffle. That or some assorted dishes.
 
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