Was Titanic's ship's time aligned with longitude time of noon position?


Mar 12, 2011
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Jim,
I am not a sailor or navigator by any means, so please forgive me if I've misunderstood you in any way. I'm just an interested amateur and was checking the math out of idle curiosity.

Your post from this morning calculates noon April 14 as 2:58pm GMT (14d14h58m) if I'm reading correctly. Meaning that at this point, the voyage has lasted 3 days, 2 hours and 26 minutes, correct? At that point Titanic has covered approx. 1,549 miles for an average speed of 20.81 knots. That's within the realm of reasonableness, I think.

By my math, the average speeds work out as follows :

April 11 : 21.38 knots (484 miles / 22.633 hours)
April 12 : 20.98 knots (519 miles / 24.733 hours)
April 13 : 22.08 knots (546 miles / 24.733 hours)
April 14 : Either 22.29, 21.55 or 20.97 knots, depending on how much clock setback you think happened between noon and the collision (260 miles / 11.667, 12.067, or 12.4 hours)

At noon, Titanic had about 1,345 miles to go before reaching Ambrose Light. If she continued to average about 22 knots, she had 2 days, 13 hours and 11 minutes to go. If my math is right, that works out to an arrival time of 4:09am GMT on April 17, or 11:09pm EST April 17 in EST. Again, assuming I haven't made a big goof here somewhere, that works out to a crossing time of 5 days, 15 hours and 37 minutes, and an average speed of 21.35 knots (2,895 miles / 135.617 hours) That matches well with what we know about Olympic's performance on her maiden voyage, so I think your calculations pass the "reasonableness check". Do your figures agree with mine?
 
Nov 26, 2016
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1. I think it is wrong to assume that Pitman recalled correctly what the ship's speed was on any particular point of the voyage. His own table showed a number of arithmetic errors where he gave remainder details of the longhand division used in getting his speed results.

2. As far as setting ship's time to apparent time at noon, we have the evidence from Bride who recalled that the two clocks in the wireless cabin differed by about 2 hours that Sunday, April 14th, correcting Sen. Fletcher's assumption of a 1h 55m difference.
1. Why? The figures for second and third day are correct. His statement "Yes, 20 1/4 and 20 1/2 first, after we left Queenstown" is according with the sequence of revolutions 70,72,75 rpm.
Beesley wrote in his book he watched a seagull keeping pace with Titanic steaming at 20 knots. Not a strong source admittedly but worth to mention it.

2. I think Bride's confirmation of 1 h 55 minutes is questionable, because he is rebuting himself in the discussion with Sen. Smith. If really the difference between the clocks would have been 1 h 55 minutes the first CQD would have been send at 10.25 + 1.55 = 12.20, 40 minutes after the collision. This is not what he is saying:
Senator SMITH. If this collision occurred at 9.50, New York time, and the Carpathia received your C.Q.D. call at 10.25, New York time, considerable time had elapsed between the time you sent out your call and the time it was received? Mr. BRIDE. Yes, sir.
Senator SMITH. How do you account for that? Mr. BRIDE. Maybe it was a difference between the clocks of the two ships.

We know that Carpathia's time was 1.50 fast of EST. If Titanic had 1.55 the ships were nearly equal.
But being asked about the relation of CDQ to collision time Bride claims a difference between the two ships.

Senator SMITH. No; but you have fixed as best you could the interval between the time of the collision and the time the captain came to your room and told you to send out the C. Q. D. call? Mr. BRIDE. Yes, sir.
Senator SMITH. You have fixed that, to the best of your recollection, as 10 minutes? Mr. BRIDE. Yes, sir.


However you might turn and knead and squeeze it, something does not match.

 
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1. Most certainly so if he meant to divide 484 by 22 hours 38 minutes to produce a general average speed from Daunt Rock to Noon, April 12. If he did mean to do that then his average speed would have been 21.4 (rounded-up). It looks like he simply got a bit dyslectic and got things a bit mixed up on his typwriter.

2. Elsewhere, it has been suggested that Titanic began her Great Circle track at 5 pm ship time. This would have been 17-32 GMT. If so, then the run time of the GC course until Noon April 12 was 19 hours 58 minutes. This would have given an average speed of 21.5 knots. The coastal distance of 55 miles must therefore have been covered in 3 hours and the average speed over that leg was 18.3 knots.
1. I mean to remember that on another place you did not accept Lowe's 162 miles before the corner simply being a typo, just switching the digits? Nice to see that typ writer errors are possible.

2. Why elsewhere? And where from? Think it plain and easy.
Departure from Daunt Rock at 2.20 pm GMT.
We have 484 miles the first day. The clock alteration is questionable.

case 1: 1 h 23 minutes to adjust to longitude time, resulting in speed 21 knots.
lapse of time to travel 55 miles: 2,62 hours, 2 hours 37 minutes.
Fastnet Rock passed at 4.57 pm.

case 2: 1 h 59 minutes to adjust ship's time 30 minutes slow of longitude time, resulting in speed 20,5 knots.
lapse of time to travel 55 miles: 2,68 hours, 2 hours 41 minutes.
Fastnet Rock passed at 5.01 pm.

By no means the speed from Daunt Rock to Fastnet was 18.3 knots only. It was 20.5 or 21 knots instead.
Maybe even a bit more. I looked up some tidal times for Queenstown six days before new moon:
High water times vary from 10.20 am. to 12.56 pm.
Low water times vary from 5.20 pm, to 7.12 pm.
I think there is now way to slow down from 21 knots to 18.3 knots.
 
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Your post from this morning calculates noon April 14 as 2:58pm GMT (14d14h58m) if I'm reading correctly. Meaning that at this point, the voyage has lasted 3 days, 2 hours and 26 minutes, correct? At that point Titanic has covered approx. 1,549 miles for an average speed of 20.81 knots. That's within the realm of reasonableness, I think.

By my math, the average speeds work out as follows :


April 11 : 21.38 knots (484 miles / 22.633 hours)
April 12 : 20.98 knots (519 miles / 24.733 hours)
April 13 : 22.08 knots (546 miles / 24.733 hours)
April 14 : Either 22.29, 21.55 or 20.97 knots, depending on how much clock setback you think happened between noon and the collision (260 miles / 11.667, 12.067, or 12.4 hours)



Hello Michael,
Your math is allright.
Just some little refinements from my side.

During a 24 hours day + Retardation of clock Titanic will cross about 11 to 12 longitudes. Therefore the clock has to set back by 44 ...48 minutes every night. What we are discussing is how this process was initiated at the begin of the journey. I will give you my view, leaving my special theory out of scope.

The first day's run starts at 2.20 pm. GMT in Queenstown and ends at Friday noon at 12 o'clock local time of that position.
So we do not have a 24 hour day, we have just 21 hours 40 minutes for the first day plus the clock retardation for the first night.
This one is composed out of the progress of longitude, say 12 degree plus 8,5 degree, because ship's time is still adjusted to GMT for longitude 0, but the starting point is Queenstown which is located at about 8,5 degree west.
So the resulting clock retardation for the first night should be 48 minutes due to progress of longitude
plus 34 minutes due to start longitude at Queenstown.
These two sum up to 82 minutes according 1 hour 22 minutes.
The sum of all three retardations should equal the 2:58 at Sunday noon.

Thus the total lapse of time until Sunday noon will be:
24 h
24 h
24 h
-2 h 20 minutes, because the journey starts at 2.20 pm
+2 h 58 minutes sum of three clock retardations

3 days 38 minutes total.

About the total mileage:
Daunt Rock to Fastnet Rock: 55 miles
Great Circle Fastnet to Corner: 1618 miles.
The great Circle has to be approximated by rhumb lines. For my calculations I split it into three rhumb lines, 540 miles each, total 1620 miles. Other Researchers use 10 rhumb lines, the total sum is 1618 miles.

Total:
55 Daunt Rock to Fastnet Rock
1620 Great Circle Fastnet to Corner
1019 Corner to Nantucket light ship
196 Nantucket to Ambrose
------
2890 miles

At sunday noon Titanic was 126 miles before the Corner.

Interesting article here:
Keeping Track of a Maiden Voyage[/QUOTE][/QUOTE]
 

Jim Currie

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Apr 16, 2008
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1. I mean to remember that on another place you did not accept Lowe's 162 miles before the corner simply being a typo, just switching the digits? Nice to see that typ writer errors are possible.

2. Why elsewhere? And where from? Think it plain and easy.
Departure from Daunt Rock at 2.20 pm GMT.
We have 484 miles the first day. The clock alteration is questionable.

case 1: 1 h 23 minutes to adjust to longitude time, resulting in speed 21 knots.
lapse of time to travel 55 miles: 2,62 hours, 2 hours 37 minutes.
Fastnet Rock passed at 4.57 pm.

case 2: 1 h 59 minutes to adjust ship's time 30 minutes slow of longitude time, resulting in speed 20,5 knots.
lapse of time to travel 55 miles: 2,68 hours, 2 hours 41 minutes.
Fastnet Rock passed at 5.01 pm.

By no means the speed from Daunt Rock to Fastnet was 18.3 knots only. It was 20.5 or 21 knots instead.
Maybe even a bit more. I looked up some tidal times for Queenstown six days before new moon:
High water times vary from 10.20 am. to 12.56 pm.
Low water times vary from 5.20 pm, to 7.12 pm.
I think there is now way to slow down from 21 knots to 18.3 knots.
1. The typo mentioned in a previous page was alleged to have been made by a professional court stenographer who touch-typed. If Pitman typed the memo to Senator Smith, then he probably did it laboriously in the same way I am typing this. If, however he had a professional typist type the memo then she would do so from his notes or by translating shorthand notes made of a verbal statement from Pitman. Wonder if it was Pitman's Shorthand? :rolleyes:

2. The 'elsewhere' is in the book by Sir James Bisset, Ladies and Tramps. I quote:

" Leaving Queenstown at 2 P.M. on Thursday April 1 1 , the Titanic
steamed along the Irish coast in fine weather, and had Fastnet
Island abeam at 5 P.M. From there she steamed on the Great Cirde
course southwesterly for 1,634 miles, to the vicinity of the "Corner"
or turning-point, in long. 47 deg. W. lat 41 deg, 30 min. N., on
the usual track of vessels westward bound for New York".


Note the error in the position of The Corner.
By leaving at 2 pm, he meant when the anchor was aweigh. At that time , the pilot would be on board and he would line her up for the Daunt Rock Light pilot station then proceed at dead slow ahead. until the light was almost abeam. The the ship would stop and disembark the pilot. This would be watched from the bridge. The minute the pilot was safely off the ship, Captain Smith would give a ring Full Ahead. The ship would start to move ahead and a few minutes later Daunt Rock would be abeam. Then, Captain Smith would give a double Full Ahead ring on the engines and the voyage would begin. That moment would be recorded in the Log Book as "Engines Full Ahead... f.a.o.p." Only then would the ship begin to gather speed. It would be a while before she worked up to the speed commensurate with the revolutions being carried.

Pitman would not work in ship time but in terms of GMT. Consequently when he used the term "2-20 pm ship", he meant by the ship's clock.

Here's how it works.

If the ship time of departure was 2-20 pm and there had not been a clock set back then the run time to Noon April 12 would have been 21 hours 40 minutes. However, if as Pitman claimed. the clocks were set back 58 minutes between Daunt Rock departure time and Noon ship time on the 12. then the ship ran an extra 58 minutes before the hour of Noon April 12. Therefore her run time was 22 hours 38 minutes. It follows that when Pitman said time ship, he meant the actual time on the ship's clocks.

As I wrote, Titanic was moving slowly until she dropped the pilot. Thereafter, she would work up her speed. It takes a bit of time to do that, particularly in a new ship on her maiden voyage.
As far as tidal currents are concerned, it can be up to 2 hours after HW at Queenstown before the tide turns and flows westward. Even then a westerly wind will reduce the effect of any west flowing current and enhance an east flowing one.


 
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1. Pitman would not work in ship time but in terms of GMT. Consequently when he used the term "2-20 pm ship", he meant by the ship's clock.

Here's how it works.

2. If the ship time of departure was 2-20 pm and there had not been a clock set back then the run time to Noon April 12 would have been 21 hours 40 minutes. However, if as Pitman claimed. the clocks were set back 58 minutes between Daunt Rock departure time and Noon ship time on the 12. then the ship ran an extra 58 minutes before the hour of Noon April 12. Therefore her run time was 22 hours 38 minutes. It follows that when Pitman said time ship, he meant the actual time on the ship's clocks.

3. As I wrote, Titanic was moving slowly until she dropped the pilot. Thereafter, she would work up her speed. It takes a bit of time to do that, particularly in a new ship on her maiden voyage.
As far as tidal currents are concerned, it can be up to 2 hours after HW at Queenstown before the tide turns and flows westward. Even then a westerly wind will reduce the effect of any west flowing current and enhance an east flowing one.
1. When leaving Queenstown ship's time was adjusted to GMT.

2. When the intention was to have ship's time adjusted to longitude time Friday noon the ship's clocks should have been retarded more than 59 minutes:
about 48 minutes due to progress of longitude
about 34 minutes because of start longitude 8°18' in Qeenstown

3. Thereafter, she would work up her speed. It takes a bit of time to do that, particularly in a new ship on her maiden voyage.

Ismay in US enquiry:
We ran from Cherbourg to Queenstown at 70 revolutions. After embarking the mails and passengers, we proceeded at 70 revolutions. I am not absolutely clear what the first day's run was, whether it was 464 miles or 484 miles. The second day the number of revolutions was increased. I think the number of revolutions on the second day was about 72. I think we ran on the second day 519 miles.

She made 70 rpm from Cherbourg to Queenstown, so it does not take much effort to do the same after dropping the pilot and proceed from Daunt Rock at full speed. Maybe a few minutes.

With 70 rpm I would exspect that average speed from Thursday to Friday does not exceed average speed from Friday to Sunday. Therefore my assumption: In the first night the clock must have been retarded more than 59 minutes.
 

Jim Currie

Member
Apr 16, 2008
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Funchal. Madeira
Jim,
I am not a sailor or navigator by any means, so please forgive me if I've misunderstood you in any way. I'm just an interested amateur and was checking the math out of idle curiosity.

Your post from this morning calculates noon April 14 as 2:58pm GMT (14d14h58m) if I'm reading correctly. Meaning that at this point, the voyage has lasted 3 days, 2 hours and 26 minutes, correct? At that point Titanic has covered approx. 1,549 miles for an average speed of 20.81 knots. That's within the realm of reasonableness, I think.

By my math, the average speeds work out as follows :

April 11 : 21.38 knots (484 miles / 22.633 hours)
April 12 : 20.98 knots (519 miles / 24.733 hours)
April 13 : 22.08 knots (546 miles / 24.733 hours)
April 14 : Either 22.29, 21.55 or 20.97 knots, depending on how much clock setback you think happened between noon and the collision (260 miles / 11.667, 12.067, or 12.4 hours)

At noon, Titanic had about 1,345 miles to go before reaching Ambrose Light. If she continued to average about 22 knots, she had 2 days, 13 hours and 11 minutes to go. If my math is right, that works out to an arrival time of 4:09am GMT on April 17, or 11:09pm EST April 17 in EST. Again, assuming I haven't made a big goof here somewhere, that works out to a crossing time of 5 days, 15 hours and 37 minutes, and an average speed of 21.35 knots (2,895 miles / 135.617 hours) That matches well with what we know about Olympic's performance on her maiden voyage, so I think your calculations pass the "reasonableness check". Do your figures agree with mine?
Hello Michael. Working entirely in terms of GMT, the following is my revised figures (Sorry, Markus, I can't count.)

11th Day 1:....14:52 to 17:32...Run 02 hrs 40 min. for 55 miles.....Av. Sp... 20.60 kts....Total dist: 55.
11th Day 1/2:.17:32 to 13:20...Run 19 hrs 58 min. for 429 miles...Av. Sp... 21.50 kts... Total dist: 484.
12th Day 2.....13:20 to 14:04...Run 24 hrs 44 min. for 519 miles...Av. Sp... 21.00 kts... Total dist: 1003.
13th Day 3:....14:04 to 14:58...Run 24 hrs 44 min. for 545 miles...Av. Sp... 22.04 kts....Total dist: 1548.
14th Day 4.....14:58 to 15:45...Run 24 hrs 47 min. for 545 miles...Av. Sp... 22.04 kts....Total dist: 2093.
15th Day 5.....15:45 to 16:32...Run 24 hrs 47 min. for 545 miles...AV. Sp... 22.04 kts....Total dist: 2638.
16th Day 6.....16:32 to 03:38...Run 11 hrs 36 min. for 256 miles...AV. Sp....22.04 kts....Total dist: 2894.

In the foregoing I assumed that there would not be a speed run and that Titanic would average the same average speed from Noon April 13 until arrival. The passage time would have been 5 days, 13 hours, 16 minutes. her general average speed for the voyage would have been 21.72 knots and her arrival time abeam of the Ambrose Channel light vessel would have been 04-08 am GMT on April 17. That translates to 23-08...8 minutes past 11 pm EST New York on April 16, 1912.

Either you are as dumb as me or we're both geniuses.:cool:
 

Jim Currie

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Apr 16, 2008
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1. When leaving Queenstown ship's time was adjusted to GMT.

2. When the intention was to have ship's time adjusted to longitude time Friday noon the ship's clocks should have been retarded more than 59 minutes:
about 48 minutes due to progress of longitude
about 34 minutes because of start longitude 8°18' in Qeenstown

3. Thereafter, she would work up her speed. It takes a bit of time to do that, particularly in a new ship on her maiden voyage.

Ismay in US enquiry:
We ran from Cherbourg to Queenstown at 70 revolutions. After embarking the mails and passengers, we proceeded at 70 revolutions. I am not absolutely clear what the first day's run was, whether it was 464 miles or 484 miles. The second day the number of revolutions was increased. I think the number of revolutions on the second day was about 72. I think we ran on the second day 519 miles.

She made 70 rpm from Cherbourg to Queenstown, so it does not take much effort to do the same after dropping the pilot and proceed from Daunt Rock at full speed. Maybe a few minutes.

With 70 rpm I would exspect that average speed from Thursday to Friday does not exceed average speed from Friday to Sunday. Therefore my assumption: In the first night the clock must have been retarded more than 59 minutes.
Speed per engine rpm is theoretical, Markus. During the coastal trips, they would know exactly the ship's speed. They would also be checking the patent log accuracy against the actual positions and distances run between them.
As you can see in another post, I have changed the average speed from Gaunt Rock to abeam of Fastnet Rock,. It seems to have been 20.6 knots. This is verified by Lawrence Beesley in his Book. In the following excerpt, he was describing seagulls keeping up with the ship as she travelled along the Irish coast :

"And yet with graceful ease he kept pace with the Titanic forging through the water at twenty knots".

At 20 knots, the passage time from Cherbourg to Queenstown is 15 hours. According to Irish Examiner | Irish Examiner the ship arrived at Queenstown at Noon, local time. This means Titanic left Cherbourg at about 7 pm the previous evening.
The record show this to be true.

In 1912, Queenstown kept Dublin Zone time which was 25 minutes Slow of GMT and a further 7 minutes 52 seconds slow of Solar Noon, Queenstown. When she arrived there her clocks would have been on Zone Time Dublin. They would not be changed again until midnight April 11. The following day, at Noon April, 12, after Noon sights, and an exact Longitude had been established, any necessary minor adjustments would be made to ship time.
Titanic left her anchorage at about 2 pm Dublin time - 2-25 pm GMT and headed slowly for the Pilot Station. She dropped the pilot and passed Gaunt Rock 20 minutes later at 2-20 pm Dublin Zone time which would be 2-45 GMT. However, that was still 7 or 8 minutes short of the true GMT for the place. The numbers supplied by Pitman suggest he used 7 minutes. This, the time when Gaunt Rock was abeam was 2-52 pm. GMT However, there may have been a minute adjustment at Noon April 12.
 
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Hello Michael. Working entirely in terms of GMT, the following is my revised figures (Sorry, Markus, I can't count.)

11th Day 1:....14:52 to 17:32...Run 02 hrs 40 min. for 55 miles.....Av. Sp... 20.60 kts....Total dist: 55.
11th Day 1/2:.17:32 to 13:20...Run 19 hrs 58 min. for 429 miles...Av. Sp... 21.50 kts... Total dist: 484.
12th Day 2.....13:20 to 14:04...Run 24 hrs 44 min. for 519 miles...Av. Sp... 21.00 kts... Total dist: 1003.
13th Day 3:....14:04 to 14:58...Run 24 hrs 44 min. for 545 miles...Av. Sp... 22.04 kts....Total dist: 1548.
Hello Jim, this looks much better, but I am still not all the way satisfied.
20,6 knots between Daunt Rock and Fastnet is what I exspect. But I would like to put a question mark on 21,5 knots for the 429 miles leg.
5th officer Lowe said when asked about the DR Position at 8 pm Sunday night "she will not jump up..." There is a jump 0,9 knots up and 0.5 knots down which is suitable to arouse suspicion.
Í will try to get some Information about tidal streams and come back later.
 

Jim Currie

Member
Apr 16, 2008
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Hello Jim, this looks much better, but I am still not all the way satisfied.
20,6 knots between Daunt Rock and Fastnet is what I exspect. But I would like to put a question mark on 21,5 knots for the 429 miles leg.
5th officer Lowe said when asked about the DR Position at 8 pm Sunday night "she will not jump up..." There is a jump 0,9 knots up and 0.5 knots down which is suitable to arouse suspicion.
Í will try to get some Information about tidal streams and come back later.
When 5th Officer Lowe made that observation, he was comparing like for like. i.e., he did not expect the conditions to fall flat calm after dusk. Additionally, he did not consider a head current between Noon and 6 pm that evening of April 14. In that last, he could have been forgiven since that was his first trip on the New York run. All of us who know that run would expect a head current in that area.
Thre are three things to consider concerning Day 1/2....
(1) The work up to full speed....was it a smooth one?
(2) How was the wind and current running from faop until Fastnet Rk abeam?
(2) What were the external effects on the ship after passing Fastnet Rock.?
 
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Hello Michael. Working entirely in terms of GMT, the following is my revised figures (Sorry, Markus, I can't count.)
11th Day 1:....14:52 to 17:32...Run 02 hrs 40 min. for 55 miles.....Av. Sp... 20.60 kts....Total dist: 55.
11th Day 1/2:.17:32 to 13:20...Run 19 hrs 58 min. for 429 miles...Av. Sp... 21.50 kts... Total dist: 484.
12th Day 2.....13:20 to 14:04...Run 24 hrs 44 min. for 519 miles...Av. Sp... 21.00 kts... Total dist: 1003.
13th Day 3:....14:04 to 14:58...Run 24 hrs 44 min. for 545 miles...Av. Sp... 22.04 kts....Total dist: 1548.
Either you are as dumb as me or we're both geniuses.:cool:
Hello Jim,
I went again through the table you posted and found some minor inconsistencies concerning the GMT figures:

11th Day 1:....14:52 to 17:32...Run 02 hrs 40 min. for 55 miles.....Av. Sp... 20.60 kts....Total dist: 55.
11th Day 1/2:.17:32 to 13:20...Run 19 hrs 58 min. for 429 miles...Av. Sp... 21.50 kts... Total dist: 484.
12th Day 2.....13:20 to 14:04...Run 24 hrs 44 min. for 519 miles...Av. Sp... 21.00 kts... Total dist: 1003.
13th Day 3:....14:04 to 14:58...Run 24 hrs 44 min. for 545 miles...Av. Sp... 22.04 kts....Total dist: 1548.

Track back from Sunday noon to previous days:
Sunday 12 ship correlates with 14.58 GMT
--- clock altered 44 minutes in previous night
Saturday 12 ship correlates with 14.14 GMT
--- clock altered 44 minutes
Friday 12 ship correlates with 13.30 GMT
--- clock altered 58 minutes:
Thursday 12.00 ship correlates with 12.32 GMT
Thursday 14.20 ship correlates with 14.52 GMT

Time interval from Thursday 14.52 GMT til Friday 13.30 GMT:
24 hours - 52 minutes - 30 minutes = 24 hours - 1 h 22 minutes =
23 hours 38 minutes, these are split into
2 hours 40 minutes for 55 miles and
19 hours 58 minutes for 429 miles.

The layout after correction would be.
11th Day 1:....14:52 to 17:32...Run 02 hrs 40 min. for 55 miles.....Av. Sp... 20.60 kts....Total dist: 55.
11th Day 1/2:.17:32 to 13:30...Run 19 hrs 58 min. for 429 miles...Av. Sp... 21.50 kts... Total dist: 484.
12th Day 2.....13:30 to 14:14...Run 24 hrs 44 min. for 519 miles...Av. Sp... 21.00 kts... Total dist: 1003.
13th Day 3:....14:14 to 14:58...Run 24 hrs 44 min. for 546 miles...Av. Sp... 22.04 kts....Total dist: 1549.
 
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Thre are three things to consider concerning Day 1/2....
(1) The work up to full speed....was it a smooth one?
(2) How was the wind and current running from faop until Fastnet Rk abeam? <----------
(2) What were the external effects on the ship after passing Fastnet Rock.?
I found some hints in the book of Lawrence Beesley:
... We arrived at Cherbourg at very calm weather. The coast of Ireland looked nice when we reached the roads of Queenstown. The brilliant morning sun shone upon the hills ...
There is not much to tell after leaving Queenstown from Thursday to Sunday. The sea was calm, in fact as calm that only a few passengers omitted their meals.The wind blowing from west or south west, "fresh" as the daily weather chart indicated ...

About Sunday: ... when we went on deck after lunch we noticed a change of temperature of that kind, that not many preferred to expose themselves to the cold wind - an artificial wind which mainly if not completely was caused by the fast run of the ship. ... I am sure there was no wind wawing at this time. I noticed the same strength of wind arriving at Queenstown, which died of when we stopped, and revived immediately when we left the Harbour ...
(Beesley's writing probably is in better style, I had to translate back from german)
 
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Three solution proposals
Up to now there are three solution proposals for time keeping in question. Having arrived at this status of discussion it seems to me purposeful to summarise these proposals and point out the characteristics of each.

Ideally a solution should comply with three requirements:

1. At noon ship's time should be aligned with local apparent time of noon position.
2. Ship's time for the first CQD sent at 10.25 EST should be in the proximity of time to order to clear the boats, about 20...25 minutes after collision.
3. The speed on the single legs of the four days run should be reasonably in agreement with the revolutions

Three solution proposals are in question:
1. clocks adjusted to local apparent time, clocks set back before collision by 24 minutes.
2. clocks adjusted to local apparent time, clocks not altered before collision
3. clocks adjusted 30 minutes aside of local apparent time in first night, clocks not altered before collision

After analysing these three proposals we will see that none of these is able to meet all three requirements.

Solution proposal 1:
clocks adjusted to local time at Sunday noon 2h 58 min slow of GMT
clocks set back before collision by 24 minutes.
When leaving Queenstown ship's time was adjusted to local time, 32 minutes slow of GMT.
Clock was set back 58 minutes during first night as stated in Pitman's memorandum.

Condition 1: ship's time adjusted to LAN: complied

At Sunday noon ship's time is 2 hrs 58 minutes slow of GMT.
Clocks altered before collision: 24 minutes back, as result ship's time is 3 hrs 22 minutes slow of GMT
according 1 h 38 minutes fast of EST.
Collision : 11.40 altered time. which is 1 h 38 minutes fast of EST.
First CQD sent: 10.25 EST according to 12.03 ship's time.

Condition 2: CQD 23 minutes after collision: complied

Speed profile resulting from condition 1, times in GMT:
11th Day 1:....14:52 to 17:32...Run 02 hrs 40 min. for 55 miles.....Av. Sp... 20.60 kts....Total dist: ....55. ...70 rpm
11th Day 1/2:.17:32 to 13:30...Run 19 hrs 58 min. for 429 miles...Av. Sp... 21.50 kts... Total dist: ..484. ...70 rpm
12th Day 2.....13:30 to 14:14...Run 24 hrs 44 min. for 519 miles...Av. Sp... 21.00 kts... Total dist: 1003. ...72 rpm
13th Day 3:....14:14 to 14:58...Run 24 hrs 44 min. for 546 miles...Av. Sp... 22.04 kts....Total dist: 1549. ...75 rpm
14th Day 4:....14:58 to 03:02...Run 12 hrs 04 min. for 260 miles...Av. Sp... 21.50 kts....Total dist: 1809. ...75 rpm
................................................................................21 knots in the afternoon, 22 knots in the evening

Speed jumps up after 55 miles on Thursday.
Sunday afternoon: split in period noon to about 6 pm at 21 knots and period 6 pm til collision at 22 knots.

Condition 3: speed in agreement with revolutions: not complied

Now we are going to alalyse

Solution Proposal 2:
clocks adjusted to local time at Sunday noon 2h 58 min slow of GMT
clocks NOT set back before collision.
When leaving Queenstown ship's time was adjusted to GMT.

Condition 1: ship's time adjusted to LAN: complied

Ship's time is 2h 58min slow of GMT or 2h 2min fast of EST.
collision occured at 11.40 non altered time
first CQD heared 10.25 EST in Cape Race was transmitted 12.27 ship's time, 47 minutes after collision!

Condition 2: CDQ about 25 minutes after collision: not complied

When leaving Queenstown ship's time was adjusted to GMT.
To meet the condition that ship's time agrees with local time at Friday noon the clocks
have to be adjusted 1 hrs 23 minutes back during first night.

Speed profile resulting from condition 1, times in GMT:
11th Day 1:....14:20 to 13:23...Run 23 hrs 03 min. for 484 miles...Av. Sp... 21.00 kts....Total dist: .-484. ...70 rpm
12th Day 2.....13:23 to 14:12...Run 24 hrs 49 min. for 519 miles...Av. Sp... 20.93 kts... Total dist: 1003. ...72 rpm
13th Day 3:....14:12 to 14:58...Run 24 hrs 46 min. for 546 miles...Av. Sp... 22.10 kts....Total dist: 1549. ...75 rpm
14th Day 4:....14:58 to 02:38...Run 11 hrs 40 min. for 258 miles...Av. Sp... 22.10 kts....Total dist: 1807. ...75 rpm
run time first night:
24 hrs
-2.20 departure
+1.23 clock altered
23.03 - 23 hrs 3 minutes

Sunday afternoon: log reading 260 miles, 22.3 knots
about 258 miles made good from noon to collision, 22.1 knots

Condition 3: speed in agreement with revolutions: partly complied
day 1 - not complied
day 4 - complied

Finally we are going to analyse

Solution proposal 3:
Clocks adjusted about 30 minutes aside of local apparent time in first night
When leaving Queenstown ship's time was adjusted to GMT.
In the night from Thursday to Friday clocks were set back about 2 hours.
clocks NOT set back before collision.
This version is based on Pitman "the clocks were not set back" and Lightoller "5.47 - 2.20 - 47 Greenwich mean time: 2.20 apparent time of ship.2.20 ship - 5.47 GMT".
As result ship's time is adjusted 1 h 33 minutes fast of EST instead of 2 hrs 2 minutes.

Condition 1: ship's time adjusted to LAN: not complied!

CQD transmitted: 10.25 plus 1 h 33 equals 11.58 ship's time, 18 minutes after collision

Condition 2: CDQ about 25 minutes after collision: Complied

Clock alteration first night: 300 minutes - 44 - 44 - 1 h 33 equals 300 - 88 - 93 equals 1 h 59 minutes.
According to Pitman's table the clocks were altered by 44 minutes in the second and the third night. The left over time at Sunday was 1 h 33 minutes.

Speed profile resulting from condition 1, times in GMT:
11th Day 1:....14:20 to 13:23...Run 23 hrs 03 min. for 484 miles...Av. Sp... 21.00 kts....Total dist: ..484. ...70 rpm
12th Day 2.....13:23 to 14:12...Run 24 hrs 49 min. for 519 miles...Av. Sp... 20.93 kts... Total dist: 1003. ...72 rpm
13th Day 3:....14:12 to 14:58...Run 24 hrs 46 min. for 546 miles...Av. Sp... 22.10 kts....Total dist: 1549. ...75 rpm
14th Day 4:....14:58 to 02:38...Run 11 hrs 40 min. for 258 miles...Av. Sp... 22.10 kts....Total dist: 1807. ...75 rpm

Condition 3: speed in agreement with revolutions: complied

run time first night:
24 hrs
-2.20 departure
+1.59 clock altered
23.39 - 23 hours 23 minutes

Summary of this analysis
Not in any case all three requirements can be fulfilled.
Each of the three solution proposals enforces one of three basic conditions to be dropped:

Solution 1, ship's time adjusted to LAN, clocks set back before collision:
Condition 3: speed in agreement with revolutions: not complied

Solution 2, ship's time adjusted to LAN, clocks not altered before collision:
Condition 2: CDQ about 25 minutes after collision: not complied

Solution 3, ship's time adjusted 30 minutes "slow of LAN", clocks not altered before collision:
Condition 1: ship's time adjusted to LAN: not complied

Now everyone may decide on his own which version he is in favour to be regarded as most likely.
 
Last edited:

Jim Currie

Member
Apr 16, 2008
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Funchal. Madeira
Markus, there is absolutely no alternative 'version' of fact. The fact is that evidence shows us that Titanic slowed down from Noon 14 to about 7-30 pm that evening then rapidly increased speed due to the absence of restrictions to her forward progress other than friction and generated wind pressure on the forward facing parts. Only if that fact is emphatically disproved can we say that a clock adjustment did not take place before impact.

Sam Halpern and others believe that Titanic averaged 22.1 Knots between Noon and say 7-30 pm. At that time, she covered a distance of about 165.75 miles and had about 94.25 miles still to run until impact. The evidence shows that due to the conditions, Titanic reached a speed of 22.5 knots. If she had averaged that from about 7-30pm then she would have covered the last part in 4 hours 11 minutes, making the impact time 11-41 pm.

Had there not been any slow- down, nor had there been a flat calm and the weather conditions were similar to the period up to Noon April, 14, then she would not have averaged any more that 22.1 knots for the 260 miles she covered from Noon April 14th until she stopped, then an unchanged clock would have read 11-46 pm., not 11-40 pm.
The only person mentioning a time of 11-46 pm was 2nd Officer Boxhall. However, in calculating that time, he used a speed of 22 knots from the 7-30 pm fix position. He declared that he used that speed because of the very conditions that produced a speed of 22.5 knots.
It is therefore simple logic to conclude that Boxhall most certainly knew about the 22.1 knots average speed between Noon April 13 and Noon April 14 . Additionally, it is only common sense to conclude that if Boxhall thought Titanic was making at least 22 knots after the weather fell calm, then he also knew for certain that she was making less than 22 knots before it did so.

On her maiden voyage on exactly the same course at exactly the same pace, Titanic's older sister, Olympic also met with resistance to her forward progress. However, unlike Titanic who lost a mere 1.3% from a potential days run, Olympic lost 3.1% of her potential day's run. Also, unlike Titanic which had wind abaft the beam, Olympic had the added impediment of head winds to contend with for most of her day's run
 
Nov 26, 2016
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Jim, from Friday noon to Sunday noon we have a 50 hrs Intervall. There we see 21 knots average Speed at 72 rpm and
22.1 knots average speed at 75 rpm.
According to Beesley's remarks about weather conditions which I posted in #34 above they had sunshine all the time, the sea was calm. Sunday afternoon there was no wind, just the one caused by the run of the ship. Admittedly, these are subjective impressions.
If we allow additional 20 minutes run at Sunday afternoon we must take away the same amount from Thursday afternoon.
The slow down at Sunday afternoon must be compensated by a speed up Thursday afternoon, 21,5 knots instead of 20.7 knots.
As far as I could find by rough estimations the tidal stream between Queenstown and Fastnet is about 0,5 knots in the back.
Hope some Skippers who are familiar with that region can add some useful information for back up.
Beesley mentioned winds wawing from west or south west. So i do not exspect a speed up after Fastnet from 20.6 to 21.5 knots.
 
Nov 26, 2016
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Correction to post #35

Solution proposal 3: Clock set back 1 h 59 minutes during first night, ship's time therefore adjusted 30 minutes aside of
local apparent time:

Speed table needs correction:

Speed profile resulting from condition 1, times in GMT:
11th Day 1:....14:20 to 13:59...Run 23 hrs 39 min. for 484 miles...Av. Sp... 20.47 kts....Total dist: ..484. ...70 rpm
12th Day 2.....13:59 to 14:43...Run 24 hrs 44 min. for 519 miles...Av. Sp... 21.00 kts... Total dist: 1003. ...72 rpm
13th Day 3:....14:43 to 15:27...Run 24 hrs 44 min. for 546 miles...Av. Sp... 22.10 kts....Total dist: 1549. ...75 rpm
14th Day 4:....15:27 to 03:07...Run 11 hrs 40 min. for 258 miles...Av. Sp... 22.10 kts....Total dist: 1807. ...75 rpm

run time first night:
24 hrs
-2.20 departure
+1.59 clock altered
23.39 - 23 hours 39 minutes

GMT of collision: 23.40 ship + 3.27 = 27.07 = 3.07 am GMT
1 .33 fast of EST - 3.27 slow of GMT
 
Dec 4, 2000
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Alas, I think too much effort is being expended searching in the wrong direction. The critical events in the Titanic saga took place after it turned “The Corner” that night – not before. The specific speeds and lengths of the legs prior to Titanic turning “The Corner” are in my opinion unimportant to understanding when and where the accident took place.

Ultimately this is a dead reckoning problem: time, speed, distance. Dead reckoning starts from a given location at a given time and assumes a speed and direction for a given period of time. It matters not a whit how fast the ship was moving prior to the starting point of any DR leg. Think of it like predicting the position of a motorcar at some future time if it is driven due west from the intersection of Main and Third streets for one hour. If we know the speed, the result is easy. But, using only the information of the starting point, time, direction, and speed – what was the location of this car yesterday? And, what does that have to do with where it will be an hour after leaving Main and Third?

Boxhall testified the planned course alteration at “The Corner” took place at 5:50 o’clock while the man who turned the wheel, Rowe, said 5:45. Use Boxhall’s assumed speed of 22 knots and a time of run of 6.3 hours (5:48 to 24:04 o’clock) on 266 true the accident ought to have taken place on 50̊08' W or thereabouts. This puts it slightly west of the longitude of the wreck, which is in keeping with the normal currents expected in that part of the ocean.

When I first proposed that Titanic’s clocks had been set back by 24 minutes, I assumed that meant all of them including those of the crew and the passengers. The 24 minute adjustment of crew clocks solved the problem of reconciling 8 bells with crew watches and put the accident in better perspective to the wreck on the bottom. However, it did not solve issues such as the critical timing of the CQD messages at about 10:25 o’clock in New York Time.

That’s when I realized the connection between Boxhall and Olliver’s locations and unaltered April 14th time. These men were clearly doing a routine task (compass comparison) that by regulation took place “every half hour.” It was an “aha” moment.

The compass evolution in question must have taken place at 12:00 o’clock in unaltered April 14th time to meet IMM/White Star Line regulations. This means that official ship’s time based on noon, April 14th did not change. Ever.

The only thing that changed was the clock keeping track of the crew’s schedule – the clock which made 8 bells the “midnight” change of watch. Crew time was set back 24 minutes (or 23 if you prefer) prior to impact on the iceberg. It was 11:40 o’clock for the crew when the ship struck. But, the official ship’s time of that event was 12:04 o’clock in unaltered April 14th hours.

Time of Accident
11:40 crew time = 12:04 unaltered April 14th hours
12:04 unaltered April 14th = 10:02 New York Time

Time of First CQD Transmission
12:03 crew time = 12:27 unaltered April 14th hours
12:27 unaltered April 14th = 10:25 New York Time

Going back a decade now, I became curious at the longitude of the initial CQD message: 50̊24' West. Why so far west when the wreck lies east of 50̊? I measured the distance and did a reciprocal DR plot using Boxhall’s 22 knots. What I found was the time of the run was just about 47 minutes too long. What would cause that discrepancy? Obviously, the extra 47 minutes Titanic earned by steaming west that day. This led me to the conclusion that Captain Smith used the longitude for Titanic’s predicted midnight for his initial CQD message.

To me, he used that longitude just to get ships heading in Titanic’s direction. This is why the Captain had Boxhall recalculate the ship’s position and give his work to the radio shack for subsequent messages. Steam was roaring out of the vent on funnel #1 and Boxhall apparently misunderstood what Smith meant by “midnight.” The crew clock showed midnight, so the fourth officer assumed...and “backed up” 20 minutes on Titanic’s last course. That gave him his famous 50̊14' West longitude. His position is exactly 20 minutes of steaming from Captain Smith’s at 22 knots.

How many “clocks” were being kept in Titanic that night? There were quite a few. Here are the most prevalent ones:

Greenwich Mean Time – for navigating and official log
April 14th unaltered time – official ship’s time
Crew time set back 24 minutes from April 14th ship’s time
April 15th time (mostly by passengers who reset their timepieces before retiring)
New York Time

The time of the impact expressed in each was:

0302 hrs. Greenwich Mean Time
12:04 o’clock April 14th unaltered
11:40 o’clock crew time
11:27 o’clock April 15th time
10:02 o’clock New York Time

Keep in mind that all of those o’clock times are for the exact same moment which was 0302 hours Greenwich. O’clock times are just names based on who was observing the time. They are similar to that motorcar. We could call it “the blue car,” the Ford, the sedan, or Joe’s car and always refer to the same vehicle.

Who used which time? Here’s a short list:

Greenwich – officers for navigation
April 14th Unaltered – Boxhall for routine compass comparisons; later for sinking of ship.
Crew Time – crew for change of watch & time of accident
April 15th – Captain Smith for first CQD; Boxhall for corrected CQD positions; Most passengers
New York – radio operators for PVs

In my nearly two decades covering news one thing I learned is that confusion in the facts surrounding a story is seldom, if ever, just happenstance. Confusion tells me there is more to the story and somebody doesn't want that known. It would have been a simple matter for any of the officers to have straightened out the time mess. Why was it not done? Who benefited from the result of the time confusion?

What changes in the story if:
Boxhall's trip to the standard compass less than a minute before impact is explained?
The fact the ship sank quicker than conventional wisdom claims is known?
The errors of the two CQD positions are explained?

Answers to questions like these are why I say the events before turning "The Corner" are insignificant curiosities. There's far more to be learned if you look toward an ice field with its outlying icebergs.

-- David G. Brown