When Did the Titanic use her anchors


Dec 29, 2006
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A question has arisen elsewhere about the Titanic's anchors. In particular, were they ever used, bearing in mind that the ship would have been tied-up when alongside at Southampton and Belfast. Did the Titanic drop anchor at Cherbourg or Queenstown? What was the point in dropping anchor or mooring if the ship is stopping for a limited period and there are no currents or side winds - in these circumstances the propeller could be used to maintain the desired position, while passengers and mail were transferred from tenders tied-up alongside.

In his description of the voyage, Lawrence Beesley recalled that “After a most enjoyable passage across the Channel …. we came to a stop well out to sea, with our screws churning up the bottom and turning the sea all brown with sand from below”￾, and after passengers and mail had been transferred from “two little tenders”￾ the smaller vessels cast off, and RMS Titanic left Ireland for the last time. This suggests that the anchors may not have been used at Queenstown.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>Did the Titanic drop anchor at Cherbourg or Queenstown?<<

Yes. In one of the last photos taken of the ship as she is leaving Queenstown, you can see the starboard anchor hanging there still in the process of being recovered.

>>What was the point in dropping anchor or mooring if the ship is stopping for a limited period and there are no currents or side winds <<

Safety of the vessel. Even in dead calm conditions, you still have tides to deal with. All else aside, you risk a lot when you come alongside a large ship with the propellers constantly turning. While it can be done, it's just simpler to park the thing in such a way that it won't be going anywhere and where you don't have to constantly give engine orders to deal with changing conditions.
 

Doug Criner

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Dec 2, 2009
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Here is the Father Browne photo referred to by Michael: http://www.titanic.ie/shop/last-raising-of-the-anchor

The Beesley quote does not suggest that Titanic didn't anchor. The process for anchoring typically involves backing the ship to lay down a sufficient length of chain. And anchorages are usually relatively shallow, maybe a few fathoms deeper than the ship's draft. When the ship backs in such waters, all kinds of sediment is stirred up around the ship.

And, of course, each anchor would have been exercised at the building yard in Belfast before final delivery of the ship.
 
Dec 29, 2006
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The question that had been asked (in another thread) was "what time were the anchors last lifed?", and I said that "Lawrence Beesley stated that the Titanic left Queenstown at 1.30 pm on Thursday 11th April", which seemed to give a clear answer; if the Father Brown photograph shows an anchor being deployed, the answer has been confirmed.
 
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