Titanic Position


Aug 14, 2002
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I am amazed at the knowledge and insight displayed on this message board by you people. My question is: If Boxhall's reported position was 12 nautical miles in error (As proven by where Ballard found the Titanic),How did the Carpathia steam nearly directly to the survivors?

Thanks, Chuck
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Easley South Carolina
By sheer good luck when you get right down to it. Both the incorrect and the correct positions were pretty much along the same line. Once they were in the vicinity, the green flares displayed by some of the boats guided the Carpathia in.
 
Aug 14, 2002
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Thank You Michael, I mistakenly believed the Titanic was found to the West of her reported position rather than a North/South error.

Chuck
 

Dave Gittins

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Apr 11, 2001
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The error was actually that she was east of the CQD position. Exactly why is a mystery. I've made a few suggestions but nothing can be proved. As Boxhall had been working four-hour watches for several days, I'm not surprised that he got it wrong. He redeemed himself by having the sense to take some flares in his boat. Had he not done so, Carpathia may have missed the boats altogether, or maybe run one down. Today flares must be kept in the boats ready for lowering. In a way, that's Boxhall's memorial.
 

Erik Wood

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Apr 10, 2001
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(Erik picks up the 1 MC)"Captain Dave Brown please report to this here thread, Captain Dave Brown please report to this here thread. That is all."

I am sure that Captain Dave will have something to say on this here matter. It will be discussed in Topeka come September.
 

Erik Wood

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Apr 10, 2001
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(Erik picks up the 1 MC)"Captain Dave Brown please report to this here thread, Captain Dave Brown please report to this here thread. That is all."

I am sure that Captain Dave will have something to say on this here matter. It will be discussed in Topeka come September.
 
Dec 4, 2000
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Titanic was right where it sank. Of this I am now certain. The ship was located directly above the spot where the wreckage landed, pretty much. Gravity was somewhat less sophisticated in those days, but worked pretty much the same as it does today.

In case you can't read between the lines...I've sort of dropped the ball on my research into the position of the ship at various times that night. This will come as a shock to those who know me...but this time I'm planning to keep my mouth shut until I know what I'm talking about.

-- David G. Brown
 
Aug 14, 2002
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The first sign is the "less sophisticated gravity" hypothesis. Next I suppose will be the first hints of Lordite-itis. While 1912 gravity may have been somewhat less sophisticated, It certainly was less expensive and a much better value than today's gravity. I have it on very good authority Mr. Whatsisname ,(a guest on the Jerry Springer show) has film documented evidence that Elvis and his merry band of aliens actually relocated the Titanic wreck from where it REALLY sank to where it now rests.
 

Erik Wood

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Captain Dave said: this time I'm planning to keep my mouth shut until I know what I'm talking about.

(Erik stares at his monitor stupidfied) WOW!! I wish I could do that. Did you have to take some kind of pill for that??
 
Dec 4, 2000
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I would like to reopen this discussion thread with several questions---

Much has been said, written, cussed, and discussed about Boxhall's "final" CQD position. We know that he calculated it, took it on a piece of paper, and handed it to the wireless operators.

But, who created the original CQD position? And how was it calculated? Why is it different from Boxhall's position?

-- David G. Brown
 

Erik Wood

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I think me smells a can of worms. Then again I think Captain Dave and I specialize in opening cans of worms.
 
Dec 4, 2000
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Discussions of the ship's galley aside...who did calculate that original CQD position? Why did he think the ship was even farther west than Boxhall? Anyone have any suggestions?

-- David G. Brown
 
May 9, 2001
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I thought it was Boxhall who made the calculation.
If not Boxhall then who else could have made it?

Smith
Lights
Murdoch
or any of the other officers?

Yuri
 
May 9, 2001
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Teacher's Pet! Teacher's Pet!

Meanwhile I'm sitting in the back making a stash of fresh spit wads. Now where is that straw?

Seriously, the last chance for an exact star sighting was at dusk on the 14th, right? Because you have to be able to see a clear horizon with the sextant. And on a dark night there is no clear horizon after nightfall. So the last time the crew could make an exact fix on the ship's position was around 5-6 hours before the accident. Was Boxhall on duty then? Wasn't it Lightoller who reported making the sextant position before dark that night?

Yuri
 

Erik Wood

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Did Boxhall make both fixes or did he do only one. If he did do both, how could he be in several places and still have a chance to breathe.

I have another question regarding Smith and Boxhall and the normal practice of situations like this. But I don't want to spill beans earlier then I should. I hope that Captain Dave will ask the question.
 

Dave Gittins

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Apr 11, 2001
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Captain Wood, the 7-30 sights were taken by Lightoller and Pitman. Lightoller used his sextant and Pitman took the times. Pitman probably also read the sextant in the chart room, so that Lightoller could retain his night vision. I assume you've seen a vernier sextant of the period. They took a bit of reading.

Pitman began the calculations. He probably only did the preliminaries, such as applying the index error and refraction correction. By 8-00 p.m. he was off duty and Boxhall did the sight reductions. The method he used gave lat and long without using a plotting chart. I would think that each sight to a good 15 minutes to reduce. At about 10-00 p.m. Boxhall reported his results to Captain Smith, who marked the position on the chart.

Somehow Boxhall also found time to check the compass by celestial observations. Aren't you glad you have GPS?
 
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Markus Philipp

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"Discussions of the ship's galley aside...who did calculate that original CQD position? Why did he think the ship was even farther west than Boxhall? Anyone have any suggestions?"

David G. Brown

Hi David,

This question gave me some headache as well.
Bride said in the US enquiry, he got up and went to Phillips. Phillips had finished transmitting messages to Cape Race. The operators were talking, Phillips was on the way to retire, and Captain Smith(!) turned in and ordered to sent the CQD, at once! Curiously, in Bride's New York Times story, Bride said, that Smith just ordered them to be ready to send CQD. Not in the enquiry, however. CDQ was to be sent at once. Personally I do not have much confidence to the tales in the New York times.

Now, Boxhall said, he started clearing of the boats. While he was doing that, the Captain ordered him to work out the position and bring that to the Marconi room. Boxhall brought the position to the Marconi room. He did not talk to the operators. He did not disturb them. He said in his testimony: Phillips made a call, and he was listening.

That means: When Boxhall turned up in the Marconi room, somebody else must already have been there to pass something to Phillips which he could transmit. "…he made a call, and he was listening …"

First CQD: Phillips was going to retire. Smith turned up and ordered them immediately to sent CQD. Phillips came back from the bed room, and Bride turned the apparatus to him.

Second CQD: He (Phillips) made a call, and he was listening.

My conclusion out of that: Smith brought the position for the first CQD; which was very quick and dirty, and therefore on 50.24 west.

Next point, the time setting. The first CQD (Smith, 50.24) was received by Cape Race at 10.25 NYT.
The second CQD (Boxhall, 50.14) was received at 10.35 NYT.

Generally 1 h 50 minutes is perceived as time difference between Titanic time and NYT. This will put the first to 12.15 and the second CQD to 12.25 ships time.

But Boxhall and Lightoller, asked for Titanic's time, gave a difference of 1 h 33 minutes. This will put first CQD to 11.58 and the second one to 12.08 ships time.

Now such scenario is thinkable:
After the collision Boxhall goes to the front and does not find any damage. He starts for the second turn and meets the carpenter, who reports to the Captain that the ship is making water. The Captain realizes that the ship is badly damaged and works out a position quick and dirty, which he personally brings to the Marconi room. Now Boxhall returns from his second trip, where he saw the mail bags afloat. The Captain orders to clear the boats. While Boxhall is doing that, the Captain orders him to work out the position properly, because the first one was just quick and dirty. And Boxhall comes to the Marconi room, where Phillips is already transmitting and listening.

So far my ideas about two CQDs
Markus
 
Dec 4, 2000
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Markus -- your theory comes remarkably close to the one I am researching. Captain Smith is really the only person who had the "free time" to do the calculations. I've ruled out Moody because he is never mentioned in regard to hands-on plotting & navigation. That could be a mistake. But it is possible that the first CQD position was calculated before the ship struck the iceberg while Moody was busy overseeing Hichens in the wheelhouse.

The first CQD position is remarkably close to where Titanic would have been at the midnight change of watch (which would have been at 2423 in April 14th hours because of the planned clock setback). This possibility raises more questions than it answers. However, from both Boxhall's and Hichens' testimonies we can gather that Captain Smith was in the officer's chartroom at the moment of the accident. What he was doing at that time is not contained in any testimony.

Captain Erik and I have corresponded privately about the work Captain Smith might have been doing. Most logical, he would have been planning course alterations necessary to get around the ice. Or, if some manuevers had already been undertaken, he would have been plotting his best route to New York after the ice was passed. As captain, it is doubtful that Smith was simply updating the ship's DR track.

The second possibility...that he was plotting a new route to New York because of course alterations to avoid ice...intrigues me.

I find it curious that the distance between the first and second CQD positions is a little over 20 minutes of steaming at 22 knots. It represents the distance Titanic might have covered between 2340 and 2400 in April 14th hours.

Note that the first position appears to be 2423 hours April 14th, which was to become 0000 hours April 15th when the watch changed. If Captain Smith used 0000 April 15th hours, but told Boxhall to backtrack only "from midnight," the fourth officer might have used 2400 April 14th. Boxhall would have arrived at a location just south of the actual second CQD position--which he would have "bumped" a bit north to account for the restarting of the engines (see Olliver, Dillon, & Scott).

If this happened...and this is pure speculation at the moment...Boxhall would not have made any errors in navigation. The error would have been Captain Smith's for not adequately describing the nature of the original CQD position.

What is not speculation, however, is that the first and second CQD positions must be linked in some manner. Both place the ship west and north of the boiler field which is pretty close to the actual sinking site.

-- David G. Brown
 

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