Tim Maltin. “A very deceiving night”. Book Review.

M

Mila

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In this review, I will point some problems with Maltin's book as I see them. Maltin appears to be a nice person, but even nice persons could write unworthy books. I will make a few posts to make them more readable and to let an opportunity to respond if somebody wishes to. So let's start.

In his book “A very deceiving night”, Maltin alleges that both the collision with the iceberg and the failed communications between Titanic and Californian were caused by a superior mirage. A mirage theory that was first introduced in 1992 by Captain James de Coverly, Deputy Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents, is definitely worth exploring. Maltin, however, does not appear to be interested in exploring. Instead, he declares that his book provides “the closure”,“perhaps” provides “the peace of mind” to “the descendents of those who died on, or survived” in the Titanic’s disaster. “This book proves the presence of abnormal refraction – or mirage – at Titanic’s crash site and reveals its previously unseen but crucial role, shedding new light on the tragedy”, he writes. No, this book proves no such thing.

Arctic High

In his book Maltin claims that Titanic sank “in the centre of a 1035mb Arctic High”. The presence or the absence of Arctic High is important in proving or disproving the presence of a mirage because thermal inversion (that might result in a mirage) needs some conditions to form and Arctic High could provide such conditions. Maltin writes:


However, examination of the weather records for Titanic’s wreck site on the night of the sinking reveals that she sank in the centre of a 1035mb Arctic High. This was the highest pressure in the northern hemisphere at that time and is a most unusually high pressure to be experienced on the North Atlantic in April.


To support this allegation Maltin provides weather chart for 1300 GMT on April 15 (a few hours after Titanic sank). identical to the one below.


apr151912%2Bsyno%2Bmap.jpg




As you see this weather chart is for 1300 GMT of April 15 (a few hours after the Titanic sank). If Arctic High were present at the time of the collision and the sinking, and still was there a few hours later at 1300 GMT as the chart shows then there would not have been early morning breeze described by many survivors. No wind could develop in the middle of Arctic High. The breeze described by the survivors is a good indication that the Arctic High moved in the area in the morning, a few hours after the Titanic sank. In addition, I did create some weather maps (using NOAA-CIRES Reanalysis project) and they too clearly show that the centre of Arctic High was nowhere close to the disaster site at the time of the collision and the sinking. Therefore, Arctic High could be safely excluded as a mechanism that created thermal inversion. This mistake with the Arctic High is probably an honest mistake, but it is a serious mistake nevertheless.The absence of the Arctic High alone might exclude the presence of super refraction.

To be continued
 
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M

Mila

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Misreprenting of the evidence by providing incomplete evidence that suits his goal

Mirages might only affect the visibility of the objects that are located close to the horizon. Therefore, it was important for Maltin to demonstrate that the only reason the iceberg was spotted late was that it was located relatively close to the horizon, where a mirage made it invisible. In order to do this Maltin presented only a part of the testimony of Sir Shackleton (probably the best specialist on the visibility of the icebergs) to British Wreck Commissioner's inquiry, in which Shackleton says that the visibility of the icebergs is “about five miles on a clear night”. However, Maltin has never mentioned that in the very same testimony Shackleton clarified that he was talking about an observer located on waterline, and not about an observer located in a crow nest as Titanic’s lookouts were, and not about the situation with dead calm sea, as was the case during the collision:

25040. How far would you see one of these dark bergs on a clear night, assuming it to be 60 to 80 feet high?
It might be only three miles, depending on the night and depending almost entirely on the condition of the sea at the time. With a dead calm sea there is no sign at all to give you any indication that there is anything there. If you first see the breaking sea at all, then you look for the rest and you generally see it. That is on the waterline. I do not say very high, because from a height it is not so easily seen; it blends with the ocean if you are looking down at an angle like that. If you are on the sea level it may loom up.
To be continued
 
M

Mila

Guest
Providing dishonest evidence


In his book, Maltin tries to demonstrate that other vessels that were located in the area noted the presence of refraction (a precondition for a mirage to form) in their logs. For example, he writes about steamer Marengo: “On the night of the collision and sinking of the Titanic on the 14/15th April 1912 she was in the same longitude as the Titanic and only one degree south, and her log records both the clear, starlit night and the great refraction on the horizon”. However, in reality on the night of the collision and sinking Marengo was located around 200 miles away from the wreck site (the image below). In addition, there are no evidence of refraction at the time, when some 12 hours after the sinking (between 2 pm. and 3 pm. on April 15) Marengo made her closest approach to the wreck site, because on this date “refraction” was logged for 8 am. and 4 pm. but not logged for 12 noon.
marengo plot.jpg


Moreover, as Jim explained here Superior mirage and the Californian and here Superior mirage and the Californian that Marengo's "much refraction" means nothing for establishing the presence of super refraction. Besides, I did ask John Lang the author of the book "Titanic: A Fresh Look at the Evidence by a Former Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents" and he told me he was aware of the log but because it was unclear what it meant it should not be used as evidence.

To be continued

 
M

Mila

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Mesaba and "miraging field ice"

In quite a few places Maltin offeres his own interpretation of evidence without even bothering to use words "maybe" or "possible". A good example of this is his interpretation or should I say misrepresentation, of the log of a steamer Mesaba. Here's Mesaba's log:
At 2pm on April 14 1912 in latitude 42° north, longitude 50° west we passed another field of pack ice, with numerous bergs, intermixed, and extended from four points on the starboard bow [NW] to abeam on the port side. Had to steer about 20 miles south to clear it. Ice seemed to be one solid wall of ice at least 16 feet high, as far as could be seen. In latitude 41° 35’ north, longitude 50° 30’ west, we came to the end of it, and at 4 p.m. - April 14 - we were able to again steer to the westward.
Maltin’s misinterprets the above log record is as follows: “When Mesaba says: “Ice seemed to be one solid wall of ice at least 16 feet high, as far as could be seen”, she is in fact describing miraging field ice [should have been ice field].” There are a few problems with such interpretation. As we discussed earlier mirages occur at the horizons. Therefore by alleging that Mesaba’s officers described a mirage we have to believe that steering south for 20 miles they were looking for a break in the pack that was located 10 or so miles away on the horizon, not to say that the longitude 50° 30’ west provided in their log indicates they were navigating alongside the pack. IMO to assume something like that is absurd. In addition, we have to assume that for some unexplained reason Mesaba’s officers described the height of a mirage without ever stating they observed a mirage. Moreover, a miraged ice field (or any superior mirage for that matter) does not usually look as a permanent, “ solid wall”. Here is how Sir Ernest Shackleton describes miraged pack ice:
The distant pack is thrown up into towering barrier-like cliffs, which are reflected in blue lakes and lanes of water at their base. Great white and golden cities of Oriental appearance at close intervals along these cliff-tops indicate distant bergs, some not previously known to us. Floating above these are wavering violet and creamy lines of still more remote bergs and pack. The lines rise and fall, tremble, dissipate, and reappear in an endless transformation scene. The southern pack and bergs, catching the sun's rays, are golden, but to the north the ice-masses are purple. Here the bergs assume changing forms, first a castle, then a balloon just clear of the horizon, that changes swiftly into an immense mushroom, a mosque, or a cathedral. The principal characteristic is the vertical lengthening of the object, a small pressure-ridge being given the appearance of a line of battlements or towering cliffs. The mirage is produced by refraction and is intensified by the columns of comparatively warm air rising from several cracks and leads that have opened eight to twenty miles away north and south.
The image presented below shows Fata Morgana of distant land. As you see, the mirage is anything, but “solid” wall.
Untitled-1 copy.jpg
Fata Morgana.jpg


to be continued, but not tonight.





 
M

Mila

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Mirage-associated haze that was not there

Sometimes mirages are associated with what is described as haze at the horizon. Lookout Lee and Fleet as well as some survivors described seeing haze. Maltin needed this haze to support his allegation that it camouflaged the iceberg. In his book, he writes:

Furthermore, their descriptions of a slight haze on a clear night, which did not seem to reduce visibility, is consistent with the apparent haze seen when a superior mirage is in fact present and scattering light on the horizon.
This quote is a compete misrepresentation of the lookouts testimonies. Lookout Lee testified that the haze severely reduced the visibility: "Well; if we can see through that we will be lucky" and lookout Fleet observed the haze “only about 2 points on each side”. Neither description is consistent with a mirage-associated haze. In addition, another witness described seeing haze around the iceberg after the collision, which further excludes that it had anything to do with a mirage.
boat1.jpg
 
M

Mila

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Flickering lights and twinkling stars

Some witnesses described flickering lights and twinkling stars.

Maltin writes:
Tragically, the same heavily stratified air in the thermal inversion, which Beesley noticed was making the stars appear to be Morseing to each other, was rendering the real Morse code signals between the two vessels incomprehensible, even to the point where Titanic’s steady electric lights appeared to be the flickering oil lamps of a much smaller vessel.

It is possible that flickering lights affected the visibility of Morse lamps signals, but flickering lights have nothing to do with a thermal inversion as Maltin presented it in the above quote. Flickering lights and twinkling stars are common anywhere in the world and no mirage is needed to see them. This effect is known as scintillation and is due to atmospheric turbulence. For example, the lights of this cruise ship are flickering

The ship however is not miraged. Maltin himself observed flickering Las Vegas lights. There was no mirage there either.

To be continued.
 
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Mark Baber

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Folks, the substance of the disagreements between Mila and Tim are being hashed out at length in another discussion. A "Book Review" should not be used as the vehicle for repeating those disagreements in toto in a second thread.
 
M

Mila

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Folks, the substance of the disagreements between Mila and Tim are being hashed out at length in another discussion. A "Book Review" should not be used as the vehicle for repeating those disagreements in toto in a second thread.
You are right. I probably should stop loosing my time trying to explain mirages to people who are not interested in the mirages and do not understand how they form..
 

T Maltin

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Dec 27, 2018
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In this review, I will point some problems with Maltin's book as I see them. Maltin appears to be a nice person, but even nice persons could write unworthy books. I will make a few posts to make them more readable and to let an opportunity to respond if somebody wishes to. So let's start.

In his book “A very deceiving night”, Maltin alleges that both the collision with the iceberg and the failed communications between Titanic and Californian were caused by a superior mirage. A mirage theory that was first introduced in 1992 by Captain James de Coverly, Deputy Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents, is definitely worth exploring. Maltin, however, does not appear to be interested in exploring. Instead, he declares that his book provides “the closure”,“perhaps” provides “the peace of mind” to “the descendents of those who died on, or survived” in the Titanic’s disaster. “This book proves the presence of abnormal refraction – or mirage – at Titanic’s crash site and reveals its previously unseen but crucial role, shedding new light on the tragedy”, he writes. No, this book proves no such thing.

Arctic High

In his book Maltin claims that Titanic sank “in the centre of a 1035mb Arctic High”. The presence or the absence of Arctic High is important in proving or disproving the presence of a mirage because thermal inversion (that might result in a mirage) needs some conditions to form and Arctic High could provide such conditions. Maltin writes:






To support this allegation Maltin provides weather chart for 1300 GMT on April 15 (a few hours after Titanic sank). identical to the one below.


View attachment 43708



As you see this weather chart is for 1300 GMT of April 15 (a few hours after the Titanic sank). If Arctic High were present at the time of the collision and the sinking, and still was there a few hours later at 1300 GMT as the chart shows then there would not have been early morning breeze described by many survivors. No wind could develop in the middle of Arctic High. The breeze described by the survivors is a good indication that the Arctic High moved in the area in the morning, a few hours after the Titanic sank. In addition, I did create some weather maps (using NOAA-CIRES Reanalysis project) and they too clearly show that the centre of Arctic High was nowhere close to the disaster site at the time of the collision and the sinking. Therefore, Arctic High could be safely excluded as a mechanism that created thermal inversion. This mistake with the Arctic High is probably an honest mistake, but it is a serious mistake nevertheless.The absence of the Arctic High alone might exclude the presence of super refraction.

To be continued
The pressure was high at Titanic's crash site, which is why the air was so clear. It is what prevented a fog forming in the thermal inversion. I used the synoptic weather charts each day to track the High, and used the one nearest in time to the Titanic's sinking in my book, as this is the most relevant one.

Important confirmation that there was indeed a strong thermal inversion at Titanic’s wreck site comes from First Class passenger Philipp Edmund Mock who observed the smoke from the sinking liner, from Lifeboat Number 11:

“We were probably a mile away when the Titanic’s lights went out. I last saw the ship with her stern high in the air going down. After the noise I saw a huge column of black smoke slightly lighter than the sky rising high into the sky and then flattening out at the top like a mushroom.”

The warm smoke from Titanic flattened out above 200ft in the air, when it met air warmer than itself, which it could no longer rise up through.
 

T Maltin

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Dec 27, 2018
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Misreprenting of the evidence by providing incomplete evidence that suits his goal

Mirages might only affect the visibility of the objects that are located close to the horizon. Therefore, it was important for Maltin to demonstrate that the only reason the iceberg was spotted late was that it was located relatively close to the horizon, where a mirage made it invisible. In order to do this Maltin presented only a part of the testimony of Sir Shackleton (probably the best specialist on the visibility of the icebergs) to British Wreck Commissioner's inquiry, in which Shackleton says that the visibility of the icebergs is “about five miles on a clear night”. However, Maltin has never mentioned that in the very same testimony Shackleton clarified that he was talking about an observer located on waterline, and not about an observer located in a crow nest as Titanic’s lookouts were, and not about the situation with dead calm sea, as was the case during the collision:



To be continued
Dear Mila, this proves you have misunderstood my work completely, I'm afraid. i say that the nearby iceberg was effectively camouflaged by the miraging strip at the horizon, not because the berg was at the horizon, but because the starlight in the miraging strip at the horizon reduced the contrast between the berg and the background, making it seen later than it would normally be.

Shackleton said that even on a dark night he would see a berg from one to two miles away. His testimony and that of other experienced Captains is included in my book and at this blog here
Shackleton Titanic: iceberg should have been seen > Tim Maltin

The below ray-bending diagrams created by Professor Andy Young show how the distant horizon could have obscured the near iceberg until it was too late to avoid:

When the berg was 3 miles away it was about half obscured by the miraging strip:
upload_2019-2-2_14-36-49-png.png


But when the berg was half a mile away it was spotted against the sea, because it's apparent angular size against the sea was then large enough to be noticed in the scotopic conditions:

upload_2019-2-2_14-40-45-png.png
 

T Maltin

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Dec 27, 2018
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Providing dishonest evidence


In his book, Maltin tries to demonstrate that other vessels that were located in the area noted the presence of refraction (a precondition for a mirage to form) in their logs. For example, he writes about steamer Marengo: “On the night of the collision and sinking of the Titanic on the 14/15th April 1912 she was in the same longitude as the Titanic and only one degree south, and her log records both the clear, starlit night and the great refraction on the horizon”. However, in reality on the night of the collision and sinking Marengo was located around 200 miles away from the wreck site (the image below). In addition, there are no evidence of refraction at the time, when some 12 hours after the sinking (between 2 pm. and 3 pm. on April 15) Marengo made her closest approach to the wreck site, because on this date “refraction” was logged for 8 am. and 4 pm. but not logged for 12 noon.
View attachment 43710

Moreover, as Jim explained here Superior mirage and the Californian and here Superior mirage and the Californian that Marengo's "much refraction" means nothing for establishing the presence of super refraction. Besides, I did ask John Lang the author of the book "Titanic: A Fresh Look at the Evidence by a Former Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents" and he told me he was aware of the log but because it was unclear what it meant it should not be used as evidence.

To be continued
Hi Mila,

Marengo was indeed, just as I say in my book: “On the night of the collision and sinking of the Titanic on the 14/15th April 1912 she was in the same longitude as the Titanic and only one degree south, and her log records both the clear, starlit night and the great refraction on the horizon”. You may not have realised that one degree south is 60 miles, and Marengo in fact passed only 40 miles south of Titanic's crash site! You also do not realise that the cold and warm water formations at Titanic's crash site did not alter much during the whole of April 1912, so the fact that the last of Marengo's great refraction readings was at 8pm on the 15th April is still highly relevant.

The below map is to scale and shows exactly how close Marengo was to Titanic on 14 and 15 April 1912:



annotated-map-png.png


In my book I explained this as follows:

Further evidence of abnormal refraction in the area comes from the log of the Wilson Line steamer Marengo, bound from New York to Hull under the command of Captain G. W. Owen. On the night of the collision and sinking of the Titanic on the 14/15th April 1912 she was in the same longitude as the Titanic and only one degree south, and her log records both the clear, starlit night and the great refraction on the horizon:

upload_2019-1-28_20-20-54-png.png

upload_2019-1-28_20-21-24-png.png

upload_2019-1-28_20-21-47-png.png

upload_2019-1-28_20-22-12-png.png

upload_2019-1-28_20-22-29-png.png


The above is the exact text and exact images included in my book regarding Marengo. As I have explained at length in this 20 page thread Superior mirage and the Californian there is absolutely nothing dishonest about the above text and images, or my research into the Marengo, or any other of my research or work or writings. Indeed, I pride myself in being one who always tells the truth in life, and about the Titanic. In all my books I always back up my work by providing the actual evidence, both in testimony form or image form, so my readers can decide for themselves.
 

T Maltin

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Dec 27, 2018
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Mesaba and "miraging field ice"

In quite a few places Maltin offeres his own interpretation of evidence without even bothering to use words "maybe" or "possible". A good example of this is his interpretation or should I say misrepresentation, of the log of a steamer Mesaba. Here's Mesaba's log:


Maltin’s misinterprets the above log record is as follows: “When Mesaba says: “Ice seemed to be one solid wall of ice at least 16 feet high, as far as could be seen”, she is in fact describing miraging field ice [should have been ice field].” There are a few problems with such interpretation. As we discussed earlier mirages occur at the horizons. Therefore by alleging that Mesaba’s officers described a mirage we have to believe that steering south for 20 miles they were looking for a break in the pack that was located 10 or so miles away on the horizon, not to say that the longitude 50° 30’ west provided in their log indicates they were navigating alongside the pack. IMO to assume something like that is absurd. In addition, we have to assume that for some unexplained reason Mesaba’s officers described the height of a mirage without ever stating they observed a mirage. Moreover, a miraged ice field (or any superior mirage for that matter) does not usually look as a permanent, “ solid wall”. Here is how Sir Ernest Shackleton describes miraged pack ice:


The image presented below shows Fata Morgana of distant land. As you see, the mirage is anything, but “solid” wall.
View attachment 43712 View attachment 43713

to be continued, but not tonight.
Hi Mila, Mesaba was actually describing the ice barrier which Titanic crashed into an iceberg only about two miles in front of. She was describing the same field ice, in the same location, which Californian pushed through on the morning of the 15th April. Now field ice is not 120 feet deep, and the ice which Californian pushed through was only a few feet thick. The fact that this ice "seemed to be" a solid wall 16 feet high is what made professor Andy Young and I think that this could have been a certain amount of vertical stretching of the image of the low field ice barrier due to abnormal refraction. Again, I stand by this analysis. The barrier was not 16 feet above the water, it was less than one foot above the water in reality, as Californian found out, and later Rostron on the rescue ship Carpathia, when she came to the same ice barrier at Titanic's wreck site.

Here is how a mirage over sea ice can make the ice look like a taller wall:

upload_2019-2-4_11-45-14.png


Thanks and best, Tim
 

T Maltin

Member
Dec 27, 2018
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Mirage-associated haze that was not there

Sometimes mirages are associated with what is described as haze at the horizon. Lookout Lee and Fleet as well as some survivors described seeing haze. Maltin needed this haze to support his allegation that it camouflaged the iceberg. In his book, he writes:


This quote is a compete misrepresentation of the lookouts testimonies. Lookout Lee testified that the haze severely reduced the visibility: "Well; if we can see through that we will be lucky" and lookout Fleet observed the haze “only about 2 points on each side”. Neither description is consistent with a mirage-associated haze. In addition, another witness described seeing haze around the iceberg after the collision, which further excludes that it had anything to do with a mirage.
View attachment 43725
Not true Mila! You are using the lookout's testimonies selectively. Look, for example, at what they were recorded as saying in the precis report of the 1913 Ryan trial, especially George Symons, who you never mention, and yet who Lightoller described as having the best eyes in the fleet:

REGINALD ROBINSON LEE, Titanic lookout 10-11.40pm
The sea was calm; the sky was clear. It was cold. There was a haze on the water.
A portion of the berg was above the haze. When he saw the berg he did not think he could see the lower part of it below the haze. If the whole berg had been covered with haze he would not have seen it so soon.
The sky was clear; the sea was not. There was a haze, as seen when one looked for the horizon.

FREDERICK FLEET, Titanic lookout, 10-11.40pm - There was a very slight haze on the horizon, but it did not hinder them in performing their duties.

GEORGE SYMONS, Titanic lookout, 8 to 10pm - There was a slight haze on the water obscuring the view of the sky-line. It was about the same in their watch throughout the two hours.

The above testimony does bear out a haze on the horizon. And their testimonies are not explained by your theory that it was all down to ice-blink and sea-smoke.

Thanks, Tim
 

T Maltin

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Dec 27, 2018
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Flickering lights and twinkling stars

Some witnesses described flickering lights and twinkling stars.

Maltin writes:



It is possible that flickering lights affected the visibility of Morse lamps signals, but flickering lights have nothing to do with a thermal inversion as Maltin presented it in the above quote. Flickering lights and twinkling stars are common anywhere in the world and no mirage is needed to see them. This effect is known as scintillation and is due to atmospheric turbulence. For example, the lights of this cruise ship are flickering

The ship however is not miraged. Maltin himself observed flickering Las Vegas lights. There was no mirage there either.

To be continued.
I agree with you 100% Mila, the flickering lights and Morse lamp and stars were entirely due to the stratified air in the thermal inversion at Titanic's crash site. This is merely an indication that a Fata Brumosa may have also been present at the horizon. The fact is that these signals were scrambled by turbulence in the highly stratified air at titanic's crash site. Of course i am not saying that near features such as the Californian 10 miles away would be seen through a mirage on the distant horizon, possibly 80 miles away! That excellent ship video you posted is of a ship in a thermal inversion. Calm, cold conditions. Just like the night Titanic sank.
 

T Maltin

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Dec 27, 2018
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You are right. I probably should stop loosing my time trying to explain mirages to people who are not interested in the mirages and do not understand how they form..
I am very interested in mirages Mila and I know how they form. In particular, they form in areas precisely like the one Titanic sank at, and I believe they may explain why an experienced and attentive crew who were expecting ice nevertheless crashed into a giant white iceberg on a perfectly clear, starlit night:

upload_2019-1-8_2-17-25-png.png


You are absolutely wrong to rule abnormal refraction and miraging out at Titanic's crash site that night. It is very likely the missing ingredient which caused the catastrophy.

I suggest you look again at the evidence, in particular the atmospheric and weather evidence that night, at that location.

Thanks and best, Tim
 

Jim Currie

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Hello Tim.

I am sure you believe profoundly in what you write. I am also as sure that you have access to resources I can only dream of. The only thing that I agree with concerning your work, is that no part of Titanic or Californian were ever in direct line of sight. However, my reason for stating so, is entirely solid.
Your theory is well argued but only credible if, in fact, the vessel seen from Titanic was the Californian and vice-versa. I do not believe they were. Therefore, I suggest you use your connections and pose the following, simple question:

If a triple-screw steam vessel is making 22.5 knots in flat calm conditions and the old-style steam driven steering gear is put over hard left while at the same time, the engines are stopped...how soon would that vessel cease to respond to her rudder?

The reason I pose this question is: If Titanic's response to her rudder began to fall off the moment the helm was hard over for the first time, then I believe that there was no way on God's green earth that the ship's left turn could have been stopped and a right turn replaced it so that Titanic's head turned to the right in the direction of the stopped Californian. If I am correct, then the vessel on Titanic's port bow could never have been the Californian. In fact, if Titanic had been left to her own resources, she would, as did Californian, have continued to swing in the direction of the last, effective helm order... in her case, to the left - not the right.

All the best and Happy Easter!

Jim.
 

Mila

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Feb 19, 2019
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Folks, the substance of the disagreements between Mila and Tim are being hashed out at length in another discussion. A "Book Review" should not be used as the vehicle for repeating those disagreements in toto in a second thread.
One the “folks” who liked your post was smileygirl. I wonder why smileygirl account was deleted? I assume it was a sock, but who was the sock master?
 
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