Timing was everything

Published: April 14th 2012
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Fifteen seconds either side of the call “Hard to Starboard” would have made the world of difference to the fate of the Titanic and its passengers and crew.

During yesterday’s talk, A Titanic Mythallany, authors Jack Eaton and Charles Haas said research had shown that if the instruction to turn the wheel “Hard to Starboard” been made 15 seconds earlier, the Titanic would have moved far enough from the iceberg to avoid extensive damage. Fifteen seconds later and the ship would have hit the iceberg head-on. The front end would have been crushed but water would not have filled more than two compartments and the Titanic would not have sunk.

But it seems fate would have it the Titanic was on a collision course with an iceberg no matter what. The ship’s maiden voyage was initially set for March 20, 1912, but three times construction was delayed due to repair work that needed to be done on sister ship Olympic. And the presence of icebergs in this part of the Atlantic Ocean in April was rare.

Jack and Charles also busted myths on the extent of damage caused by the iceberg (it wasn’t a 30-metre gash in the hull but a series of small incisions) and in what condition the car, made famous in Cameron’s movie Titanic, was being transported.

“If Rose and Jack had really had a love tryst in the backseat of that car, they would have been seeing a doctor soon after to have splinters removed,” Jack said.

At that time cars were not transported whole. They were disassembled and packed in wooden crates.

Jack and Charles’s books, Titanic – Triumph and Tragedy, and Titanic – Destination Disaster, are available from Amazon.com.


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