What if the Titanic had been slowed down earlier?


Mar 22, 2003
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According to your scenario, hard-astarboard is received by Hichens about 6 seconds before contact. Ship going at 38 ft/sec and 1st contact takes place about 20 ft aft the stem bar. Therefore the berg was only about 208 ft ahead of the ship's stem when Murdoch gave the order which was immediately carried out by Hichens probably before the phone call came down from the nest. In 6 seconds the ship's heading would only change by about 1 degree to port. What all this means, if your correct, is shown in diagram below:
1596220849448.png

I have no further comment Jim.
 
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Jim Currie

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According to your scenario, hard-astarboard is received by Hichens about 6 seconds before contact. Ship going at 38 ft/sec and 1st contact takes place about 20 ft aft the stem bar. Therefore the berg was only about 208 ft ahead of the ship's stem when Murdoch gave the order which was immediately carried out by Hichens probably before the phone call came down from the nest. In 6 seconds the ship's heading would only change by about 1 degree to port. What all this means, if your correct, is shown in diagram below:
View attachment 49497
I have no further comment Jim.
The iceberg was "right ahead, Sam...not as you show it...fine on the starboard bow.This is roughly what the evidnce suggests...in part plan/part elevation:
hard a starboard.jpg

I do not understand why you interpret it any differently.
 

Jim Currie

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About time! I was going to offer to send you my brick wall, Sam. It is a bit used, but in good enough condition to take a few more bangs of the head. No postage, of course. ;)
What is the useful purpose of this remark, Arun? Is this a method of gagging dissent? Is disagreement now forbidden?
Please carefully peruse my reply to Sam's last post, and instead of dismissing it out of hand, tell me where I am wrong in my interpretation of the available evidence. I am sure we will all be the better informed by your input.
 

Arun Vajpey

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What is the useful purpose of this remark, Arun? Is this a method of gagging dissent? Is disagreement now forbidden?
It was just a joke, Jim. Of course I admit that I support Sam's views on this but that remark was just a legpull at the repetitiveness of the same argument. You're British and I am sure you know very well that such banter is not uncommon in pubs etc during a heated discussion and meant to be lighthearted.
 

Jim Currie

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It was just a joke, Jim. Of course I admit that I support Sam's views on this but that remark was just a legpull at the repetitiveness of the same argument. You're British and I am sure you know very well that such banter is not uncommon in pubs etc during a heated discussion and meant to be lighthearted.
Accepted!

Now, Aron, can you tell me and others exactly why it is that you support Sam's views on this question of the helm order and the change of course.
 

Arun Vajpey

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Now, Aron, can you tell me and others exactly why it is that you support Sam's views on this question of the helm order and the change of course.
It is Arun, not Aron by the way.

I am not an expert likeSam or you but have read Sam's two excellent articles on the subject "Iceberg Right Ahead" and especially "An Encounter in the Night". I found his illustrated line of reasoning pretty convincing. Also, I cannot accept your opinion that the iceberg was almost on top of them by the time the helm order was given and carried out.
 

Jim Currie

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It is Arun, not Aron by the way.

I am not an expert likeSam or you but have read Sam's two excellent articles on the subject "Iceberg Right Ahead" and especially "An Encounter in the Night". I found his illustrated line of reasoning pretty convincing. Also, I cannot accept your opinion that the iceberg was almost on top of them by the time the helm order was given and carried out.
Sory Ar..u..n. :mad:
Sam and I have entirely different backgrounds. Sam is not a marine expert, he is an expert mathematician and as I understand it, a Systems Analyst with a wide knowledge of matters-marine.
I am a professional Master Mariner, Ship Surveyor, and Marine Accident Investigator. So, modestly, I claim the title of "Marine Expert" but having said so, I am always willing to learn or share my expertise.
However, you do not require to have any of the above qualifications to understand that if a ship with a very fine shaped bow is sailing on a straight line, swerves to avoid an onstacle dead or right ahead but in doing so contacts it, you only require to know her speed at the time she turned and the position of the first point of contact to determine how much she turned before contact was made.

Consider the problem using a Trimaran - a vessel with three hulls. The bows of the out-board hulls are say, 20 behind the bow of the main hull and 3 feet 6 inches out from it.
If that vessel was making 38 feet per second and turned left to avoid an object a head, but in doing so contacted the object with the bow of the starboard hull. How far would she have turned in doing so and how far ahead of the main bow was the object when she started to turn? Here is a rough idea of what I am getting at. Do you see this?

trimaran.jpg

The curve of the vessel's track is obviously a sheer guess, but I hope it illustrates what i am getting-at.
Unfortunately, Sam does not wish to refute this idea. I am very happy for him to explain why the above is so wrong (appart from the math that is).:D
[
 
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Thomas Krom

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Gentlemen,



To come to a possible conclusion I would recommend working together and set any disagreements aside. You are both two gentlemen of which I have a massive respect for due both you reputation. If we combine both experience from captain Currie’s life at sea with vessels and Mr. Halpern his outstanding calculations and knowledge about the Titanic we might can come to a ground-breaking conclusion on the matter. Unless the both of you disagree with my advice.
 

Arun Vajpey

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Gentlemen,
To come to a possible conclusion I would recommend working together and set any disagreements aside. You are both two gentlemen of which I have a massive respect for due both you reputation.
Great idea. They might work together if we presented each of the two gentlemen with a sabre.
 
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This may have been covered in previous post(s) and is just another question from another one of those pesky landlubbers who don't know what they are talking about . ;)
Seriously -
Just for opinions purposes -
Do you think that if the ship had slowed to 12 knots...???
It might have been enough difference in time that the iceberg had drifted a bit farther ?
Maybe not in line with an imminent collision with the ship and no collision at all ?
Or maybe more or less damage to another area of the ship ?
Or lesser damage because of the lower speed ?
..........
Or it really wouldn't have made any difference at all ?
 

Arun Vajpey

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An equally landlubber opinion from me.

IMO the drift of the iceberg was so slow that in itself would not have made little difference in the probability of a collision or otherwise simply because the Titanic was travelling at 12 knots instead of 22.

But, I personally feel that given the conventionally accepted times and distances involved, at 12 knots the Titanic would have avoided collision if all other factors (as agreed in this hypothesis) remained the same.

- From the moment of 3 bells to the actual implementation (by Hichens) of the Hard-a-starboard order, the ship would have travelled less distance at 12 knots than if it was doing 22 knots. That would mean it would be further away from the iceberg at that point.

-The slower speed might have affected the turning characteristics of the ship but I don't have the expertise to calculate by how much and in what manner. But I still believe that it would have been enough to avoid collision with the iceberg.
 
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Jim Currie

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“I like talking to a brick wall- it's the only thing in the world that never contradicts me!

Oscar Wilde"

OK. Sam, let's cut the childishnes out. We are both (hopefully) trying to set the history record straight for posterity...here, in public, for the benefit of everyone...not just those who can afford to buy a book. So let's do it. Begin by showing me and everyone else where I am going wrong in my assessrtions that these guys did not see and warn about ice danger util it was too late to avoid it. Remember that there are new members who have not seen the clash of our sabres in the past. Consider yet again the following words of a witness, who unlike any of us, was there...Fred Fleet : I quote:
" They told us to keep a sharp lookout for small ice."
" I reported an iceberg right ahead, a black mass. "
Then:
" I have no idea of distances or spaces.
But...
" it was so close to us. That is why I rang them up."
" it kept getting larger as we were getting nearer it. "
" we were making straight for it. "
I siggest to you, Sam and everyone else, these last three answers paint a very clear word picture of almost panic.
Fleet sees a black mass which he very quickly identifies as an iceberg. It is so close a head that he only has time to give the bell warning followed immediately by the verbal one .

Is there anyone out there who is willing and able to offer their ten bob's worth, instead of negativity?

"
 
Mar 22, 2003
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So let's do it. Begin by showing me and everyone else where I am going wrong in my assessrtions that these guys did not see and warn about ice danger util it was too late to avoid it.
OK, one more last try.

Regarding you assertion that these guys did not see and warn about ice danger util it was too late to avoid it. According Lee, the other lookout in nest:
2445. How far was the vessel from the iceberg? - [Lee] What did you say?
2446. You have told us your vessel veered to port and then you got the iceberg on your starboard side? - Yes, that is where she hit.
2447. Quite right; that is where she hit, but can you tell us how far the iceberg was from you, this mass that you saw? - It might have been half a mile or more; it might have been less; I could not give you the distance in that peculiar light.

A 1/2 mile is about 3000 ft. Let's say he well overestimated by a factor of two. Let's say it was as close as 1/4 mile. That's 1500 feet. At 38 ft/sec that berg would have been about 40 seconds away when spotted. Say it took Murdoch 20 seconds to assess what was happening and then issue the order. The leaves the berg 750 ft ahead when helm order given. Just enough time for the ship to swing about 10° to port when first contact is made.

If the ship was only 6 seconds away when that order is given, and if the ship was headed straight for it as Fleet said, then 6 seconds later the ship would still be headed almost straight for it and it would have struck basically head-on. So this business of Hichens just getting the helm hard over when she struck cannot be right. It certainly is inconsistent with turning a full 2 points before she struck as Hichens also had claimed.
 
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Arun Vajpey

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If the ship was only 6 seconds away when that order is given, and if the ship was headed straight for it as Fleet said, then 6 seconds later the ship would still be headed almost straight for it and it would have struck basically head-on. So this business of Hichens just getting the helm hard over when she struck cannot be right. It certainly is inconsistent with turning a full 2 points before she struck as Hichens also had claimed.
Also, it takes a normal man about 2 seconds to shout "Hard a Starboard!" and allowing for normal human reaction perhaps another second before Hichens acknowledged the order and started to turn the wheel. I don't know how long it would have taken him to achieve the "hard over" position, but am guessing probably another 3 seconds at least?

Therefore, in my landlubber estimate, if the berg was only 6 seconds away when the helm order was given, the most optimistic result would have the helm just reach the hard over position in that time. Surely the ship could not even have started its turn by then, let alone 2 points?

Sam, may I again ask you to estimate what would have happened at 12 knots in the same manner as you have done at 22 knots via serial sketches in your excellent article "An Encounter in the Night"?
 

Jim Currie

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OK, one more last try.

Regarding you assertion that these guys did not see and warn about ice danger util it was too late to avoid it. According Lee, the other lookout in nest:
2445. How far was the vessel from the iceberg? - [Lee] What did you say?
2446. You have told us your vessel veered to port and then you got the iceberg on your starboard side? - Yes, that is where she hit.
2447. Quite right; that is where she hit, but can you tell us how far the iceberg was from you, this mass that you saw? - It might have been half a mile or more; it might have been less; I could not give you the distance in that peculiar light.

A 1/2 mile is about 3000 ft. Let's say he well overestimated by a factor of two. Let's say it was as close as 1/4 mile. That's 1500 feet. At 38 ft/sec that berg would have been about 40 seconds away when spotted. Say it took Murdoch 20 seconds to assess what was happening and then issue the order. The leaves the berg 750 ft ahead when helm order given. Just enough time for the ship to swing about 10° to port when first contact is made.

If the ship was only 6 seconds away when that order is given, and if the ship was headed straight for it as Fleet said, then 6 seconds later the ship would still be headed almost straight for it and it would have struck basically head-on. So this business of Hichens just getting the helm hard over when she struck cannot be right. It certainly is inconsistent with turning a full 2 points before she struck as Hichens also had claimed.
Sam, Lee very cleraly started that session by telling you, me and everyone else " I could not give you the distance in that peculiar light. " Why is that so hard to accept?

Murdoch would be frequently sweeping the horizon with his binoculars but not all the time.
If, as Fleet said, Lee told him the bow began to move left while he, Fleet , was at the phone, then Murdoch ordered that hard left rudder after the last of the three bells were sounded. This tells me that when Fleet rang three bells, Murdoch would first look for a light... not see ng one, he would immediately raise his binoculars. He would see the berg right ahead...not immediately because if it was close and less than the height of the bridge it would be below his natural horizon. But when he did, he would shout his helm order.

Lee also confirmed the evidence of Lee:
" Three bells were struck by Fleet, warning "Right ahead," and immediately he rung the telephone up to the bridge, "Iceberg right ahead."
This is the man who also said:
" He [Fleet]said, "Well; if we can see through that we will be lucky."
Would you buy a second hand car from a man such as this?
 
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Jim Currie

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Also, it takes a normal man about 2 seconds to shout "Hard a Starboard!" and allowing for normal human reaction perhaps another second before Hichens acknowledged the order and started to turn the wheel. I don't know how long it would have taken him to achieve the "hard over" position, but am guessing probably another 3 seconds at least?

Therefore, in my landlubber estimate, if the berg was only 6 seconds away when the helm order was given, the most optimistic result would have the helm just reach the hard over position in that time. Surely the ship could not even have started its turn by then, let alone 2 points?

Sam, may I again ask you to estimate what would have happened at 12 knots in the same manner as you have done at 22 knots via serial sketches in your excellent article "An Encounter in the Night"?
Hello Arun. As you rightly suggest, the time we are considering is from the moment the helm was applied until the moment of impact...i.e. from when the ship was running on her course until she hit the ice.
When a ship's steering wheel is turned one way or another, there is very little delay between the moment of application and heading response. If otherwise, ...in the case of Titanic... she would not have been able to maintain her course within a degree of either side. A ship does not stay heading in one direction until you apply helm.

I remind you of what Hichens told his questioners concerning the helm:
"Mr. HICHENS: Put the helm to starboard, sir. That is the order I received from the sixth officer.
Senator SMITH.: What was the effect of that?
Mr. HICHENS.: The ship minding the helm as I put her to starboard.

On a ship su ch as Titanic, the OOW gives the order which in turn is rfepeated by a Junior Officer and finally the man at the steeri.ng wheel.
AS to how the ship responded normally to small applications of helm? Here's Hichens again:
"942. Was she a good steering ship? A - Fairly well, yes.
943. Up to the time of the collision did she vary from her course at all? A: - Not that I am aware of, not more than a degree on either side."

T
hat last exchange tells you that Titanic responded quickly to small amounts of applied helm.

I hope that clarifies any doubt you may have in that direction (no pun intended)

PS On a ship like Titanic with hydraulic telemotor, it would take a second for an expert helmsman to apply a turn...four complete turns would put the rudder hard over to 35 degrees from the midship spoke position.
Normally, steering wheels had a midship spoke which was marked by what was called a "Turks Head knot". The method of applying emergency hard over to the left was as follows:
The helmsman would turn slightly right, grip the midship spoke with his left hand thumb downward and virtually spin he wheel left until it stopped
 
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