|At local apparent noon on Sunday, April 14, Titanic was about 126 nautical miles before the corner, a point in the North Atlantic at 42° N, 47° W, that marked
the end of the westbound great circle route that she was following toward New York. After Titanic came to a final stop following the collision, she was located
close to 41° 46' N, 49° 56' W, or about 132 nautical miles west of the corner and about 2.5 miles to the north and a mile east of the wreck site. Best estimates for
the locations of the Titanic are as follows: Noon 43° 01.7'N, 44° 31.4' W; alter-course point at 5:50 p.m. at 41° 56' N, 47° 04' W; corrected stellar fix charted for
7:30 p.m.at 41° 52.5' N, 47° 54' W; collision point at 41° 45.5' N, 49° 55' W, and a final stopping point at 41° 46' N, 49° 56' W. Some details on estimating the
ground track are covered in "A Minute of Time," Titanic Historical Society's Titanic Commutator, No. 171 and No. 172, by this author. The results presented
here, however, have been revised since that time and also extended from noon to the most likely stopping point for the vessel after colliding with the iceberg.
The most likely stopping point was derived by obtaining an estimate of the local current in the vicinity of the wreck site from the position of the wreckage seen
on the morning of April 15 and applying it in reverse from the now known wreck site location. The collision point and final stopping point locations for Titanic
given here are covered in my on-line article, "Collision Point."
Notice that the estimated position of the alter course point for 5:50 p.m. is almost 5 nautical miles SW of the corner point. This, and the ground tracks shown
here, were derived using a ship speed of 22 knots, a course before the corner of 241° true, and course following the turn of 266° true. Average current set and
drift from noon to the star fix charted for 7:30 p.m. was derived as having a drift of about 0.6 knots and set of 189° true. The ground track from star fix to
collision point was the line between those derived positions.
The distance over ground from noon to the collision point is just about 258 nautical miles over the route taken. If the time of collision was 11:40 p.m. ATS, then
the average speed made good works out to be 22.11 knots. If however the collision was at 12:04 on an unadjusted clock as some have suggested, then the speed
made good over ground comes out to be 21.38 knots, or almost 3/4 of knot slower. This presents a problem since the ship had averaged 22.06 knots over ground
against the North Atlantic Drift from local apparent noon Saturday to local apparent noon Sunday, a period that lasted 24 hours and 45 minutes. And we know
that the ship did not slow up after that. We have evidence that the engine revolutions were maintained all day Sunday at an average of 75-76 rpm, and
additional boilers were lit about 8 a.m. that Sunday morning and connected up that evening at 7 p.m. This would have increased the revolutions even further if
the firemen had not been ordered to ease down the firing. Strong engine vibrations were noted that evening by several passengers, and between 8 and 10 p.m.
the ship's log showed an advance through the water of 45 nautical miles. Between noon and the time of collision, the average speed through the water was 22.29
knots, a result derived by dividing the distance run of 260 miles as reported on the ship's log by QM George Rowe by 11 hours 40 minutes. Additional
information can be found in part 2 of my THS Titanic Commutator article, "The Mystery of Time." and also in my on-line article, "Mistakes in the Night."
The chart below shows the likely ground track of the Titanic on April 14, 1912 from local apparent noon until she came to a final stop some short time after
striking an iceberg.
|Eleven Hours and 40 Minutes