Was Californian Caught in an Eddy?

Jim Currie

Jim Currie

Senior Member
As I said, Titanic was never within 6 miles of Californian, and when she did stop, she presented an acute angle on the bow to Californian, hull down beyond the visible horizon, not a broadside view within the horizon like the picture of Olympic that I posted.
Captain Lord said he first saw a white light,,, then a few other lights which might have been doors or portholes then eventually the green sidelight. The last was carried at a height of close to 70 feet above sea level. The only deck lights Titanic had on her boat deck were shielded. These were small and would have been almost invisible from anywhere except abaft the beam
The next deck down was the enclosed prom deck. These would have been put out after 11 p-m.
Then we have the description given by Apprentice Gibson. He saw a white light which, after looking at it through the binoculars, identified it as a white masthead light. He also saw the"Glare" of lights on the after deck...A stopped Titanic would have had a glare of lights ahead of the read light, under it and for a distance aft of it.

If Titanic was passing Californian to the south of her, on course and was anywhere between 16 and 18 miles away when she hit the bergs and stopped, then the vessel seen by Lord just before he went below could never have been Titanic and here is why.

If Californian was stopped 16 miles to the NW of where Titanic hit the iceberg, then at 10-35 pm (10-47 pm on an unadjusted Titanic clock), Titanic would have another 19.9 miles still to run and be 32.5 miles x 107 True from Californian. No way did Lord or anyone else. for that matter, see a ship's masthead light at that range.
Even worse; if Californian was 18 miles to the NW of where Titanic hit the iceberg, Lord would have been seeing her masthead light at an incredible distance of 34.4 miles on a bearing of 108 True.

If Groves saw a light at 11-10 and it stopped at 11-40...If that ship was Titanic, and she was on course and she stopped 6 miles away. then when Groves saw her, she had 11.25 miles to run and was bearing 100 True and 15.6 miles away. She could not possibly have been the same vessel seen by Lord... not unless of course, Groves, like his boss, had no idea what a ship hull down on the horizon looked like.

Your "acute" bow angle is pure guess-work on your part, based on an earlier "eureka" moment you had when making Californian fit the light seen on the port bow of the sinking Titanic. There is absolutely no evidence to support that a second helm order was given as part of the iceberg-avoiding. In fact the evidence points directly to no such order ever having been given. For sure, a second order was given but it had nothing to do with swinging the stern clear of the iceberg. You remind everyone about your triumph of catching out Captain Lewis Marmaduke Colins when he made a mistake (which he acknowledged) but his article on this subject which can be found here: encyclopedia-titanica.org/titanic-final-manoeuvre.html sums-up the evidence against such a turn.

Edited only to correct formatting error. MAB
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