The Olympic v the Titanic

Jan 5, 2001
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Stuart wrote: The Titanic left Southampton with hardly any fuss at all as compared to Olympic's maiden voyage in June 1911 which left with a great deal of publicity and full complement of passengers.

I said: Slight correction to Olympic's 'full complement' of passengers. According to the list there were somewhere around 1,300, which I have thought was respectable considering the times.

There were 1,313 passengers - 489 first, 263 second and 561 third, from memory.

Returning, there were 2,301 passengers: nearly full. So you could say 'Olympic was fully booked on her return maiden trip.' Sorry for the confusion.

Best regards,

Mark.
 

Adam Leet

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May 18, 2001
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As far as length, yes. Width? She was two feet wider than her sisters (someone with more knowledge can answer why.) As far as tonnage, though, she was the heaviest of the three, with over 48,000 tons. This was because of the added changes, such as double skin, extra w/t bulkheads, shade deck on the stern, enclosed well deck, gantry davits, etc.


Adam
 

Mark Baber

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Dec 29, 2000
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As far as tonnage, though, she was the heaviest of the three, with over 48,000 tons.

As used to measure merchant ships, tonnage doesn't refer to weight, it refers to volume, with one ton equaling 100 cubic feet. Britannic's 48,000 tons means that her volume was 4,800,000 cubic feet, it says nothing about her weight. The weight of a ship, the measure most commonly used for naval vessels, is called "displacement".
 
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Britannic's displacement at a draft of 34 feet 7 inches was given as 'over 53,000 tons' rather than the roughly 52,000 tons of Olympic or Titanic.

Her projected gross tonnage was 50,000 gross tons, but her final tonnage was 48,157.9 gross tons. It has been speculated that the projected gross tonnage might have been met had she been properly completed, as there were apparently some features of the ship regarding the deckhouses that were not essential, but would have been added had the ship entered passenger service. Myself and Remco Hillen and Michail Michailakis had a debate about this a long time ago.

Out of interest, Britannic's net tonnage was 24,592 tons. So by net tonnage she was the largest of the 'Olympic' class, by gross tonnage she was the largest and by her normal displacement she was the heaviest.

As to Britannic's width, her hull's extreme width as I understand it (from memory) was 94 feet. Britannic's metacentric height needed to be checked, because of additional weight in her superstructure; her width had been decided in 1911, to make sure the ship was as steady as Olympic. Titanic's metacentric height was a little less.

Best regards,

Mark.
 

ADeblois

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Mar 18, 2012
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Her projected gross tonnage was 50,000 gross tons, but her final tonnage was 48,157.9 gross tons
According to a very reliable source (Britannic's actual registry document) her gross tonnage was not 48,157.9 gross tons but actually 48,197.9 tons, so nearly 48,200 tons. If you have a copy of Mark Chirnside's book The "Olympic" Class Ships: Olympic, Titanic, Britannic, the registry document for Britannic is in the color section.

Here is a picture of the registry document itself from the book (I will upload a close up of the registered gross tonnage figure soon)

Britannic's Registry Document.jpg

Here is what the registry document shows: all measurements in tons

Under tonnage deck = 18,176.35
Space or spaces between decks
- upper = 6,866.08
- middle = 5,619.34
- lower = 5,145.35
Forecastle = 218.86
Bridge space = 3,679.67
Upper deck = 3,480.29
Promenade deck = 2,664.48
Poop = 333.46
Deck Houses = 799.21
Spaces for machinery, and light, and air, under Section 78 (2) of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1894 = 1,214.78

Adding all the tonnage figures above gives you the gross tonnage figure below:
Britannic's Gross Tonnage = 48,197.90

Britannic's Registry Document.jpg
 
Jan 5, 2001
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According to a very reliable source (Britannic's actual registry document) her gross tonnage was not 48,157.9 gross tons but actually 48,197.9 tons, so nearly 48,200 tons. If you have a copy of Mark Chirnside's book The "Olympic" Class Ships: Olympic, Titanic, Britannic, the registry document for Britannic is in the color section.
Thanks for the reference - much appreciated. The extract shown in the book was chosen because it is the page with the interesting notation in red ink that Britannic's registry was now closed because she had foundered. You'll see the dark red stamp 'For Change of Tonnage see next page'. On the next page (not reproduced in the book), the deck house figure has been amended to 759.21 tons, not 799.21 tons. So the final GRT came in at 48,157.9. The final registered tonnage or NRT also came in at 24,592.24 rather than the original 24,632.24.

Best wishes,

Mark.
 

ADeblois

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Mar 18, 2012
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Thanks, Mark. I absolutely LOVE your book on the "Olympic" class ships. I love pouring over it for technical data on the Olympic, Titanic, or Britannic (the latter which is my favorite of the three sisters). I am currently working on a scale-up Britannic, the Regalic. She will be over 50,000 GRT, and over 900 feet long. She will incorporate the best features of Britannic as well as some pointers from Cunard's Aquitania (Ship Beautiful). Oh...by the way...would you happen to know Britannic's under deck tonnage figure (just the hull)...I read on Norway Heritage's website that Olympic's and Titanic's was 35,043 tons, but I haven't been able to find Britannic's.
 
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Thanks for your kind comments. As regards her under deck tonnage, I am rather exhausted from a tiring day at work and the gym. However, a quick calculation later and I made it 35,807.15 tons. That includes the 'under tonnage deck', 'space or spaces between decks', 'turret or trunk' (specified as 'upper, middle and lower' decks in Britannic's case); and excludes the forecastle, bridge space, promenade deck, poop and deckhouses. I may be mistaken in my adding up - I would have assumed it would be a bit higher than that vs Olympic. But even 800 tons or so makes up a significant chunk of the 1,800 GRT or so difference between Olympic (1913) and Britannic (as completed).

Best wishes,

Mark.

Thanks, Mark. I absolutely LOVE your book on the "Olympic" class ships. I love pouring over it for technical data on the Olympic, Titanic, or Britannic (the latter which is my favorite of the three sisters). I am currently working on a scale-up Britannic, the Regalic. She will be over 50,000 GRT, and over 900 feet long. She will incorporate the best features of Britannic as well as some pointers from Cunard's Aquitania (Ship Beautiful). Oh...by the way...would you happen to know Britannic's under deck tonnage figure (just the hull)...I read on Norway Heritage's website that Olympic's and Titanic's was 35,043 tons, but I haven't been able to find Britannic's.