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The titanics engen room was not affected for a while. So why did it not head toward the california? Also, was it not a navigational fact that, even more so in an ice area,if you slow or reverss you can not turn as fast?

-- carmine marcantonio (CMARCANTONIO@EHS-INC.COM), August 04, 1998



Capt. Smith had to stop the ship to assess the damage. The most forward boiler room was already taking on water and Andrew's calculations, reported to Smith, showed the ship would sink in an hour or so. There was no time to build steam and get underway in time to reach the Californian which was at least 15 to 20 miles away, even if they had spotted it immediately (which they didn't). Even if there were some time to steam ahead, the ship would have taken on water faster. Also, the lifeboats could not have been launched with the ship moving, and the crew barely had enough time to launch all the boats as it was. Many more lives would certainly have been lost. It only took a few minutes for most of the victims to succumb to the freezing water. Regarding the decision to reverse the engines: many have claimed this to have been a major blunder. The resulting turbulence at the rudder made Titanic less maneuverable, thus sealing its fate.

-- Dan Dalton (foo@bar.com), August 04, 1998.


Hi Dalton,

Yes, the fact that they tried to reverse the engines did make it more difficult for them to steer but they were trying to do what they could to miss hitting it altogether. I would have also tried to reverse if it was me.

-- Emma (foo@bar.com.au), August 04, 1998.


Hi Emma. Me too. Hindsight is 20/20. I don't think anyone has implied negligence (perhaps Thomas or Kip could clarify) on Murdoch's part for reversing the engines, merely that it was possibly not the best course of action, a verdict necessarily after the fact.

-- Dalton (foo@bar.com), August 04, 1998.


I've also heard that if they'd rammed the berg straight on, they would have had a better chance for survival but again, as you said, hindsight is 20/20.

I saw an experiment on one of the many documentaries I've been watching that showed how fast it sunk when all the watertight doors were shut. They were testing to try and prove that the ship would have stayed afloat longer if they'd opened the doors and let the water flow more "evenly" through the ship. This experiment failed miserably, the test ship sunk in under an hour.

-- Emma (foo@bar.com.au), August 04, 1998.


In the made for tv S.O.S Titanic after hitting the berg Captain Smith is seen berating Murdoch for breaking the cardinal rule "never turn your broadside toward danger". This, of course, didn't happen. He reported the action he took (turning to port and reversing the engines) and stated "she was too close". I think that would be the natural thing to do and it almost worked, except for that annoying underwater spur on the berg that the ship bounced off of approximately six times as it traveled down the increasing width of the hull. Yes a ship responds much better to the rudder the higher the speed and I can attest to that but bear in mind also that trying to stop or change direction quickly of that much weight going 22.5 knots just isn't going to happen. As for making for the Californian, Dan is correct. They did not see them right away and also they weren't exactly sure it was a ship's masthead light or a star or whatever. The prudent thing to do was to stop the ship, assess the damage and make sure no further damage occurred (such as cold water hitting hot boilers). I also believe that they had every confidence that they could contact this ship by radio or morse lamp and that there was no need to risk further damage trying to reach her. Little did they know that the Captain and crew of the Californian would be "asleep at the switch"!

Regards, Peter

-- Peter Nivling (pcnivling@capecod.net), August 05, 1998.

Whoops! Sorry, that should be the made for tv "Titanic" not "SOS Titanic"


-- Peter Nivling (pcnivling@capecod.net), August 07, 1998.

Hi, Peter...I noticed that in the TV movie as well, and it made me downright angry, because Captain Smith also said something to the effect of, "It would've been better if you'd have hit it straight on." Was that theory not brought to light until years later, or am I just nuts? How could they have POSSIBLY known that?

-- Gilded Age Junkie (GildedAgeJunkie@yahoo.com), August 07, 1998.

I guess the producers were not concerned with the historical accuracy in that film but that was a definite boo boo on their part. It makes for good theater I guess but my feeling is that if they are going to deal with a major historical event, do it accurately such as Cameron did.

Regards, Peter

-- Peter Nivling (pcnivling@capecod.net), August 08, 1998.

Okay, I'm not nuts. Good. Now, another thing. I'm sure this has been talked about on some other thread, but there's so many that I can't seem to find it. Why do you suppose Cameron left out the near collision with other ship at Southampton? It's the one major historical inaccuracy in the film. Can anyone elaborate or direct me to the thread that discusses this?

-- Gilded Age Junkie (GildedAgeJunkie@yahoo.com), August 08, 1998.

GAC: I would consider that more an omission than an inaccuracy; I know that's a fine distinction. I think that breaking the rhythm of the Southampton departure scene by including Titanic's near collision with the New York would have been dramaturgically incorrect. I don't think he could have worked it in without it having the effect of ironic forshadowing, which he employed many times elsewhere in the film with near stultifying results (for example: "What's his name?", "Something - Picasso", "He'll never amount to anything - trust me."). It would have blown the "ship of dreams" mood he was going for. I fault Cameron (slightly) for several omissions of historical relevence that would added to the film's impact (particularly ANY mention of the Californian), but this is not one.

-- Dan Dalton (foo@bar.com), August 08, 1998.

BTW: As we all know, many "omissions" were actually filmed, but cut from the final print. I don't think Cameron even thought of filming the near collision. This would have been a very expensive special-effects shot. Perhaps budgetary pragmatism was the primary cause for this omission.

-- Dan Dalton (foo@bar.com), August 08, 1998.

I must say that I dramaturgically agree with that one.

-- BobG (bobg@gilded.luv), August 08, 1998.

Dramaturgically??? It's not even in my dictionary. Dan, I see your point about the "ship of dreams" theory, but I hardly think it had to do with the budget. We ALL KNOW that was sent to hell in a hand basket early on in the filmmaking process. I think the near-collision should've been included, as it would've been better forshadowing than anything else used in the film. I agree that the "Californian" should've been mentioned. That was just bass-ackwards.

Despite my arguments, I still love this movie. JUST CLARIFYING!

-- Gilded Age Junkie (GildedAgeJunkie@yahoo.com), August 08, 1998.

BobG...saw your e-mail address. :)

-- Gilded Age Junkie (GildedAgeJunkie@yahoo.com), August 08, 1998.

GAC: I know the movie was way over-budget, but even Cameron had to realize he couldn't do everything and had to stop at some point. Just think how much it would have cost to create a convincing shot with Titanic, New York, the tugs, several other ships,etc. in a 1912 Southampton harbor. Digital effects can only go so far. The 50 ft Titanic model he used was just barely passable by today's audience expectations for realism. A smaller scale would certainly not have worked. Better to leave it out than do a poor job, especially since it would have ruined the mood anyway. Better yet, Cameron could have referred back to it in dialogue:

Rose: "We nearly struck that other ship back there in the harbor, Cal. I feel as if this prison ship, hauling me back to New York in chains, is headed for ill fate. What was that ship's name?"

Cal: "Something New York or New Yorker. Means nothing. It's not a bad omen you stupid slut. God himself could not sink this ship!"

Rose:"Still, could you give me that diamond necklace you've been hiding from me since Paris now. I would feel better."

Cal: "I know you've been melancholy. I don't pretend to know why..."

-- Dan Dalton (foo@bar.com), August 08, 1998.

Har har har har...:)

-- Gilded Age Junkie (GildedAgeJunkie@yahoo.com), August 08, 1998.

Yes I too Agree with all of but can you tell me what was so special about Captain Smith?

-- Chaisma Owens (Charisma_owens@yahoo.com), March 27, 2003.

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