Titanic should not have hit the iceberg!


Jim Currie

Member
Since the thread is: Titanic should not have hit the iceberg! Yes indeed. Smith had the safety options on his hand but failed to use them.
Stop the ship over night until next day as Californian did.
Knock off the speed for those on lookout had a better chance of seeing ahead to report back.
Extra Lookouts
Reducing the speed giving more time to miss an iceberg as Rostron did.
Just sail further south of the icefield without reducing your speed.
Which seems that Smith failed to act on any. Perhaps just another bad day in the office?


Every ship captain has a number of safety options available to him. He continuously measures them against prevailing and changing circumstances.
1. Lord knew there was ice directly in his path - did not slow down, he just increased vigilance and that failed because he entered low-profile. loose ice, (no bergs) before he could turn away.
2. You only reduce speed when visibility drops...standard practice.
3. You only increase lookouts in low visibility and/or, if you expect to see something in your path.
4. Rostron increased speed... he only missed that iceberg because his ship could not go fast enough. In fact. he was trying to go as fast as he could. However, he should have immediately slowed to half speed the moment he sighted the first iceberg... he did not.
5. The information Smith had and the normal path of icebergs made the need for going more to the southward, unnecessary.
6. Captain Moore went at full speed until he saw ice, then stopped before proceeding at slow speed.

I wonder what "spot" Sam thought you were on?:rolleyes:
 
In the US he said he did, but he did not, because it was a physical impossibility for him to have done so. Before he reached the UK he realised it, and changed his story
Read both versions of his evidence,
US: "I immediately steered down to pass 50º west in 41º 15' north, sir - that is, I was giving the ice 10 miles - and I came down and saw no ice whatever."
and

UK: 9230. And in consequence of that information to what did you alter your course?
- Just a little to the southward of that, because I went straight down to 50° W.; instead of going down to 52° and 47° W., I went down to 50° W. and
41° 201 N.
You like maths - plot his alleged track.
In the US, he said he had 49 miles to go -steamed at full speed for the first 3 hours= 33 to 34.5 miles? Then crawled for the last hour, the last half of which, was through loose ice and in growing light. before being stopped by the barrier. There is absolutely only way he could have reached the western side of the ice barrier if he turned onto a course for St Johns at 42-15 North.
US inquiry set a course to pick up the Titanic. Was north 52 degrees west true 58 miles from my position.
 
Hello Roger.

I would agree with you if that astern order was part of the attempt to avoid the ice. However, it was not, because Murdoch was fully aware of how long it took to change over down below.
He also knew that his ship was making about 35 feet per second. That first STOP order was given a few seconds before impact, so Murdoch knew she was going to hit. The engines did not come to a standstill for another 90 seconds, and Murdoch would know this too. All of this means that when the props stopped turning. the ice berg was probably 1000ft+ astern of the ship. It was actually a futile attempt to minimize any damage to the starboard propeller from contact with the ice. Regardles of the romantic nonsense published...it was not an arctic giant and more like an over-grown growler.
In reality, the moment the engines started to slow down, the drag would have created turbulence around the rudder which in turn, would have greatly reduced rudder efficiency.

A canal boat is not just long for extra carrying capacity, it's length allows much better rudder efficiency - particularly in a narrow channel at slow speed. Although the physics of the turn is the same, comparing the two is like chalk and cheese.

In Fact,, during sea-trials, a ship's steering gear is put through it's paces. A particular trial is the turning circle trial. This is done under strict timing and begins with an emergency hard over order. In practice, when such an order is given,. a ship's speed will drop-off rapidly, but not at first. At first, there would have been a momentary hold-your-breath moment, then the bow would start to move at an ever-increasing rate until it was turning at a constant rate. The speed would fall by almost 50% halfway through that trial.

The Olympic "experiment" was possibly due to a wartime requirement. These turbines normally cut out at 50 rpm. However, since most steamships had a single screw, it was well known at that time that a single screw was best for slow speed manoeuvres.
Jim - is there anything in the sea trials of the class that allows for steering by engines, quite common in twin screw ships? I read a book on Bismarck the other day by the senior surviving officer, who said on trials the ship was unsteerable by engines, and this was of course one of the reasons that hastened her demise. A naval architect friend of mine met one of the engineers from the Bismarck's shipyard and who was on the design team. He said that the shape of the hull aft precluded any way to allow the ship to steer by engines. Major design fault!
I believe that Olympic steered very well with her supposedly small rudder (Mark Chirnside has an article on it) and to me it doesn't really matter if the outboard screws are turning or not, there is still water over the rudder with the centre prop either working or stopped. I would however consider that stopping the port screw (no time to reverse it) only would have turned the ship faster, but that could be true of one ship but untrue of another.
I'm also unaware of Olympic using the centre turbine at other than 50revs or 50% power as it was a sub-atmospheric turbine that probably wouldn't have turned at a pressure and temperature outwith the design parameters and would tend to put too much back pressure on the reciprocating engines. Never seen anything written about it either.
Regarding canal barges, they respond to the rudder by turning the stern in the direction of the tiller - ie tiller to starboard, rudder to port, stern turns to starboard, ship turns to port - presumably the same as Titanic as the orders were given for a tiller rather than the more modern wheel. The bow hardly turns at all until the whole barge starts to turn around the centre of rotation or whatever it's called (memory fading). I would guess that the Titanic was no different.
 
Reply to Steven.

When manoeuvring in harbour, the Titanic used here outboard props only. Left hand prop forward and right hand prop reversed and the ship pivots to the right. It is basically to supplement the tugs. The turbine on the Olympic was giving trouble but by 1914 modified clearances on the turbine blades had rectified the problem and so use of the center prop was used more freely. The use of this prop would aid the ships manoeuvrability by giving forward or reverse thrust so instead of forcing the water aside as the ship turned, she would slice through it. The turbine was driven by low pressure steam exiting from the reciprocating engines. The turbine gave an extra 2 knots at half ahead taking her from 13.5knots to 15.5 knots.

Roger
It wasn't possible to go astern on the centre prop, which was why it wasn't used for manoeuvring. The quadruple screw liners such as Mauretania also didn't use their outboard turbines for manoeuvring as they were ahead only and engaged once FAOP was rung on the telegraphs. It was a bit of a job to engage the turbine on the Olympic class, which was achieved by two massive diverter valves powered by Brown's engines. Using it for ahead manoeuvring only would have been something the Engineers - and Mates - could have done without, and I'm sure they did!
 

Jim Currie

Member
Jim - is there anything in the sea trials of the class that allows for steering by engines, quite common in twin screw ships? I read a book on Bismarck the other day by the senior surviving officer, who said on trials the ship was unsteerable by engines, and this was of course one of the reasons that hastened her demise. A naval architect friend of mine met one of the engineers from the Bismarck's shipyard and who was on the design team. He said that the shape of the hull aft precluded any way to allow the ship to steer by engines. Major design fault!
I believe that Olympic steered very well with her supposedly small rudder (Mark Chirnside has an article on it) and to me it doesn't really matter if the outboard screws are turning or not, there is still water over the rudder with the centre prop either working or stopped. I would however consider that stopping the port screw (no time to reverse it) only would have turned the ship faster, but that could be true of one ship but untrue of another.
I'm also unaware of Olympic using the centre turbine at other than 50revs or 50% power as it was a sub-atmospheric turbine that probably wouldn't have turned at a pressure and temperature outwith the design parameters and would tend to put too much back pressure on the reciprocating engines. Never seen anything written about it either.
Regarding canal barges, they respond to the rudder by turning the stern in the direction of the tiller - ie tiller to starboard, rudder to port, stern turns to starboard, ship turns to port - presumably the same as Titanic as the orders were given for a tiller rather than the more modern wheel. The bow hardly turns at all until the whole barge starts to turn around the centre of rotation or whatever it's called (memory fading). I would guess that the Titanic was no different.
Hello Stephen.
I don't remember there ever having been specific steering trials on a twin screw job, However, ship-handling instructions went into detail as tohoiw to use twin screws ro maximum advantage.
The problem with a twin screw ship is that there can often be a little turbulence around the rudder which in turn, affects the pressure causing turning moment. Often, ship trim could have a detrirmental effect.
The Titanic steered very well when the turbine was clutched-in... a degree ither side, so thr QMs said.

Stopping the port screw on Titanic would most certainly have enhanced the turn to the left. However, it would also have increased th swing of the stern toward the berg. I think Murdoch's plan was to stop the engines, and in particular the starboard one; and he did this to save his prop. He was too close to do anything else.
If he had stopped i] the starboard prop to save it, he would have negated the left turn.

The rudder does not turn a vessel - it instigates and maintains it. In fact, it is the ship-generated current which begins at the moment of instigation, which keeps the ship turning. Only water flow past a reverse rudder can stop it.
You are thinking of the Pivot Point.
 
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Read both versions of his evidence,
I did. In the US he had a set of notes with him which he was able to consult, and corrected his responses more than once. I'm not so sure that was case in the UK later on. Reliance on memory alone can be unreliable. Anyway, I plotted the MT course from her noontime position, which was written in her logbook, to the southern turning point, then to the point where she had turned for the CQD at the stated speed. It all checked perfectly, including the courseline from that southern turning point at 7:12pm to Cape Sable, which intersected his 12:30pm turning point for the CQD.
 
Jim correct me or not what I you don't like about captain Rostron action. Is it the fact he is going too fast in the icefield area and putting the ship at great risk? If that is the case what speed would you recommend as a safe speed?
 

Jim Currie

Member
I did. In the US he had a set of notes with him which he was able to consult, and corrected his responses more than once. I'm not so sure that was case in the UK later on. Reliance on memory alone can be unreliable. Anyway, I plotted the MT course from her noontime position, which was written in her logbook, to the southern turning point, then to the point where she had turned for the CQD at the stated speed. It all checked perfectly, including the courseline from that southern turning point at 7:12pm to Cape Sable, which intersected his 12:30pm turning point for the CQD.
Of course it checks out...after he got his longitude right, but that is not where he went wrong. It was the bit after that... from when he turned.
Work in reverse, Sam.
He said he came up against the western edge of the ice barrier sometime before 4-30 am and had been going at Full Speed since 12-30 am.
He also said he had 49 miles to go when he turned.
"Q: After satisfying yourself as to her position, how far was the Titanic from your vessel?
A: About 49 miles, sir."
4 hours at 11knots gives a distance run of 44 miles, and the CQD position was at least 7 miles west of that giving a total distance run of 51 miles from where he turned. This means Mount Temple would have to have been making a full Speed of 12-75 knots...1.75 knots above her maximum speed.
However, the nonsense does not end there, because when you consider that she was making slow speed for the last hour, then Moore's story ranks with the best of Hans Andersen and she probably covered no farther than 38 miles on that run.
If, in fact, Mount Temple was on a course line of N 65 E True and passed through or near to the CQD position, then she finally stopped against the western edge at or near to 41-49'N...50-06.5'W. If so. then she turned at 41.32'N...50-52'W, and crossed the 50th meridian in latitude 50-20'North. at around 8 pm. Not only that but if this is true, then at 3 am she was less than 14 miles NW of the wreck site.
He would ot have seen Titanic's signals but could not have missed the ones fired by Carpathia

 

Jim Currie

Member
Jim correct me or not what I you don't like about captain Rostron action. Is it the fact he is going too fast in the icefield area and putting the ship at great risk? If that is the case what speed would you recommend as a safe speed?
A speed which matches the visiblity. You don't slow down in case you meet something you might not see, you only slow down if the poor visibilty prevents you from seeing and turning away. Smith told his officers to call him if it got the least bit hazy
 
A speed which matches the visiblity. You don't slow down in case you meet something you might not see, you only slow down if the poor visibilty prevents you from seeing and turning away. Smith told his officers to call him if it got the least bit hazy
Jim I was just asking the case for Rostron speed.
 

Jim Currie

Member
Isn't that exactly what Rostron did and landed up missing icebergs!
No, it most certainly was not. He sighted icebergs and assumed he would see them all.

You and others really must try and avoid double standards.

You suggest that Smith was negligent in that he did not slow down in case he met icebergs although he had no firm evidence that there were icebergs in his path, Yet in the same breath, you fail to see any harm in someone charging toward the known position of an iceberg- someone who based his speed on being able to avoid his first iceberg at the entrance to an ice field.
Read Rostron's ice narrative again.
I had to port to keep well clear of. Knowing that the Titanic had struck ice, of course I had to take extra care and every precaution to keep clear of anything that might look like ice.
Between 2:45 and 4 o'clock, the time I stopped my engines, we were passing icebergs on every side and making them ahead and having to alter our course several times to clear the bergs.
Previous to getting the first boat alongside, however, I saw an iceberg close to me, right ahead, and I had to starboard to get out of the way."

That last berg was so close, that he had to abandon the idea of making a lee for Boxhall & Co. in boat 2.

In the UK, he was more precise. This is what he said about seeing his first berg.
I saw a streak of light right on the iceberg. We saw it, I cannot say the distance off, but some distance - not very far; Well, when we had stopped, when daylight broke, it was something less than a quarter of a mile away."
That last berg was between 1000 and 15000 feet away...it was a beg., and a "streak of light" helped him to see the first one. However, there were also undetected growlers that he saw in daylight. Only by the grace of God, and certainly not good seamanship did Carpathia avoid these.
 

Dan Coghlan

Titanic Historian - 9 Years
Member
I'm not sure why you feel the need to defend Smith, but the simple point is that that there were other options available to him, some of which were taken by other commanders. But Smith chose to do nothing different than to continue on course, at full speed, and trust his OOW and lookouts in the nest to spot any danger, which was known about in advance, in time to avoid.
Alright.

Thanks for clarifying that Sam, my mistake/apology if it came off as being too defensive.
DC
 
Jim the subject of less or about a quarter mile away from a iceberg its not clear of the ship speed at the time. Now if the ship is lining up along side a lifeboat, surely cannot be no more than 10 knots.
There also no mention of the crash stopping distance of the ship at 15 knots. Which I would of thought was within the the quarter mile distance of an iceberg.
 
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