Page 221 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 27 - 31
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suppose a bigger boat might have had very great difficulty in getting through. Your Lordship sees he had to pick his way painfully through enormous fields of ice, bergs to the right, bergs to the left and bergs in front, which no bigger boat could have achieved. He very nearly got to the South Pole; he did get to the Magnetic South Pole. Then at Question 25075 he is asked: “How high was it on the forecastle at the stem above the water? - (A.) When we were loaded it was about 14 feet; 14 feet from the forecastle to the waterline.” That of course displaces the importance of all the evidence he had given about the propriety of having a man on the forecastle. It is a different thing altogether to a man on a forecastle 14 feet above the water from having a man on the forecastle some 60 feet above the water. “From the crow’s-nest it was about 90 feet.” The Commissioner: Where was the crow’s-nest on this ship? Sir Robert Finlay: On the foremast. The Commissioner: At the head? Sir Robert Finlay: Very high up. The Commissioner: You are speaking of the “Nimrod”? Sir Robert Finlay: Yes. The Commissioner: It seems to me as if the crow’s-nest must have been at the top of the mast. Sir Robert Finlay: Yes. He said to me, I think, that the “Nimrod’s” crow’s-nest was about the same as that on the “Titanic,” 90 feet. The Commissioner: That would be ninety feet. Sir Robert Finlay: They are about the same height, so that in that respect at least the “Nimrod” was equal to the “Titanic.” “(Q.) Then the comparison you are making is between the height of ninety feet in the crow’s-nest on your foremast? - (A.) Yes. (Q.) And a height of fourteen feet on your stem? - (A.) I do not make a comparison. I say from ninety feet, which is the crow’s-nest of the “Titanic,” we will say, which equals our crow’s-nest, and from the waterline, as near as we can get it. If we could have got right down to the waterline we would have done so. The advantage lies in being as near the waterline as possible. You suffered from a disadvantage, certainly, in the “Titanic,” by not being able to get as near the waterline as we did in the ‘Nimrod.’ (Q.) If I gather rightly, your view is that if you are near the waterline, it is an advantage in seeing icebergs? - (A.) Yes. (Q.) And that is an advantage which a small boat like yours, which most of us have read about, has. You had that advantage in that boat? - (A.) We had that advantage over other vessels to a certain extent. (Q.) Your outside rate was six knots? - (A.) Yes. (Q.) You slowed down in ice to four knots? - (A.) Yes. (Q.) You say you slowed down. I suppose you experienced in going to the South Pole a very great deal of ice? - (A.) Yes, a great deal. We first got into the vanguard of the ice before we got to the heavy pack, and then we got into the region of icebergs, where we had to turn and twist.” That explains what he had in his mind, I think, the region of icebergs. “Sometimes we would have eight hours’ run, but ice suddenly comes up in front of you, and then you slow down at once. (Q.) The pace you speak of, four knots, was when you were among the ice, “turning and twisting, as you have described it? - (A.) Yes, when we were in the region. I would not like to compare in any way the North Atlantic, with its comparatively few bergs, with the South, but if I were going 20 knots, I would want to get down to the steerage way just as when I am going six knots I want to get down to four knots. (Q.) But you do not compare the state of things which you found, as you were approaching the South Pole, where you had to turn and twist among the icebergs and masses of ice, with what prevails in the North Atlantic? - (A.) No, I do not compare it. The point I look at is, when you get a very fast speed, you must slow down, even as we in narrow waters had to slow down in our little ship. (Q.) Slow down to four knots? - (A.) We did. (Q.) What do you suggest a liner should slow down to? - (A.) I am not qualified to give an opinion, but I should suggest a liner should slow down sufficiently to give
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