Would the Titanic Stabilize Well in Rough Weather?

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Aaron_2016

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How would the Titanic battle the rough seas if she had not sunk? Did the Titanic have means to stabilize herself against the rough seas? Would the elevators be out of bounds until the weather had improved? Did they later adapt the Olympic to counteract the motion of the waves, or would she roll about like the cruise ship Pacific Sun? What would Captain Smith do to combat the waves? Imagine being in the crows nest or in the First Class dining room.





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Harland Duzen

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Jan 14, 2017
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Those poor people...

There are stories from other White Star Voyages in the book ''Ships of the White Star Line'' by Richard De Kerbrech of voyages where furniture was snapped or damaged and rooms were flooded on rough voyages. I don't remember any mention of this happening during the Olympic's Voyages but I could be wrong.

I know the Olympic Class Ships did have these... which I think counteracted it???
IMG_0563.jpg
 

Doug Criner

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A ship's stability, including the period of rolling in a seaway, is a function of its metacentric height, which can be measured with an inclining experiment. I don't know if an inclining experiment was performed for Titanic, but it was likely done for Olympic. The other Olympic-class ships would have had similar stability characteristics as Titanic - maybe there are historical reports on their performance. Titanic, in its maiden voyage, did not encounter heavy seas.

The arrow in the photo appears to point to one of two bilge keels, which ran along each side of the ship for about a third of the ship's length. Their purpose was to help counteract rolling in a heavy seaway. I don't know how effective they were, but not nearly, I'm sure, as the dynamic stabilizers on modern cruise ships.
 

Dave Gittins

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I've read that a stability test was done at Southampton by placing heavy weights on one side of the deck. I don't have the primary source handy. In the British inquiry, Edward Wilding said that the ships were routinely tested for stability and any necessary changes made. Evidently it was thought that Titanic and Olympic could be improved on and Britannic was given a little extra beam, for improved stability.
 

Alex Kiehl

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The Titanic would have done just fine in rough weather. If only she could have experienced it. It would be exciting to be in the crow's nest during a storm, though. I have no doubt that Captain Smith would have handled the situation just perfectly.
 

Jim Currie

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A ship's stability, including the period of rolling in a seaway, is a function of its metacentric height, which can be measured with an inclining experiment. I don't know if an inclining experiment was performed for Titanic, but it was likely done for Olympic. The other Olympic-class ships would have had similar stability characteristics as Titanic - maybe there are historical reports on their performance. Titanic, in its maiden voyage, did not encounter heavy seas.

The arrow in the photo appears to point to one of two bilge keels, which ran along each side of the ship for about a third of the ship's length. Their purpose was to help counteract rolling in a heavy seaway. I don't know how effective they were, but not nearly, I'm sure, as the dynamic stabilizers on modern cruise ships.
Yes Doug, an inclining experiment was done on Titanic. Lightoller mentioned it here o Day 1 of the US Inquiry:

" 730. What was done when you reached Southampton? A: - The ship was heeled for stability.
731. Just describe that. A: - The builders knowing the exact weights on board, additional weights are placed on each side of the ship. A pendulum is suspended in the most convenient place in the ship with a plumb on the end of it, and a method of registering the difference with the plumb line; a number of men then transfer the weights from one side of the ship to the other, bringing all the weight on one side and transferring the whole of it back again; and with this, I believe the builders are able to draw up a stability scale."

I think I read some where that she had a relatively small GM. If so, she would have been "tender" and would have had a very slow roll in a beam sea or swell.
 
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I have read some accounts that the original RMS Queen Mary (ca.1936) was "a terrible roller" and that Denny-Brown Stabilisers were fitted later to correct the problem.

Were there any reports on how effective or not they were ?
 
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Georges G.

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How would the Titanic battle the rough seas if she had not sunk?
Very comfortable…
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The still water theoretical data would give a Rolling Period of 22½ seconds, a Pitching Period of 8 seconds and a Heaving Period of 5 ¾ seconds. But if you merge them with a concrete Beaufort 10 during a day and a half against a 500 nautical miles fetch, where you would meet waves of a significant height of 49 feet every 12.7 seconds, intermingled by some 90 feet tall, abstraction made by synchronous rolling… it’s another matter. If on top of that you’re stuck under the command of a mariner that doesn’t have any time to lose, you will understand the meaning of that seasickness adage;

«At first you are so sick you are afraid you will die, and then you are so sick you are afraid you won't die.»


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Doug Criner

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I have never experienced motion sickness, so I'm not a good judge of the type of roll that causes the worst seasickness - I suppose people have different responses. But, I have heard it said that a slow, tender roll (associated with a short metacentric height) is worse than a stiff roll. I have also been told that watching the horizon helps ward off seasickness, but that advice is no help if you're standing watches below deck. Telling somebody that is a little green around the gills that they're serving greasy pork chops for chow is said to induce seasickness.

I should amend my statement about never having had seasickness. On a 2100-ton destroyer, with other watch-standers retching and puking in buckets, I found the smell and sound almost overwhelming.
 

Georges G.

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Lucky you because on a cruise ship, countless passengers will not hesitate at all to retch and spew over the nicest carpet of the Grand Staircase. Pitching seems to be nastiest than rolling. So the most expensive forward first class cabins are the worst …