Titanic Lifeboat

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by Bob Read, Aug 26, 2014.

  1. waikikin
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    waikikin Senior Member

  2. Bob Read
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    Bob Read Junior Member

    It has been suggested that these objects were used to pass lines through to steady in the athwartship direction the boat while lowering because supposedly the lifting eyes were below the center of gravity of a loaded boat. Actually this isn't the case. In the cross sectional elevation of one of these boats you can see that they used Murray's patent disengaging gear which at either end of the boat which had an opening boat hook which was well above the center of gravity. In Board of Trade lowering procedures, athwartship tipping is never mentioned as a problem to be dealt with. The only problem they address is if one end is lowered too fast that the boat could tip too much from one end to the other.
    Regards,
    Bob Read
    [​IMG]
     
  3. JSL
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    JSL Senior Member

    Did you try the Titanic Museum in Halifax? They may have some idea.
     
  4. sharpii2
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    sharpii2 Senior Member

    The biggest clue may be the sides they are mounted to.

    I noticed that they are mounted on the starboard side of the stern.

    Since the boats are double ended, they have two potential bows and sterns.

    My guess is that these were re-enforcement bits for a steering oar.

    The vertical one was for the attachment point.

    The horizontal one was to brace the bit of hull the loo might rest against.
     
  5. Bob Read
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    Bob Read Junior Member

    There was a dedicated crutch for the steering oar which fit into a socket in the gunwale on the port aft side. One aspect of these structures is that while they were on opposite sides of the boat at the ends, some boats had the locations reversed. A detailed study was made to try to discern a pattern such as starboard boats vs. port boats and no consistent pattern of how these objects were oriented was found.
    Regards,
    Bob Read
     
  6. waikikin
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    waikikin Senior Member

    Yes,
    I see your point, the passengers would readily lay in the bottom of the lifeboats like logs & not move around whatsoever & therefore no steadying would be required........ I slept in a hammock last night...
    ;)
     

  7. Bob Read
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    Bob Read Junior Member

    After doing a considerable number of searches and reading, I have developed a theory about what those objects are and what their function was. Actually the theory is fairly simple. First I believe the objects were wooden eyes. The only place a regular metal eye could be used to take any kind of strain was the eyes in the stem and sternpost for the painter. Those metal eyes were secured to thick pieces of timber sufficient to bear strain. If an eye is needed on the interior of the planking there has to be some method to dissipate stress. A metal eye which has a small area in which it is fastened would concentrate stress on a small area. The wooden eyes seen are much larger but could spread stress over a much larger area. Since we don’t see exterior bolts like with those used for securing the thwarts, I believe that they were fastened like the planking with copper nails clenched over rooves which were in essence like a copper rivet. Another way to dissipate stress is to position the eyes so that they work in tandem and all the force is not in one direction. That is why I believe the wooden eyes were at right angles to each other. I doubt that someone came up with this configuration on the first try. I imagine it was a bit of trial and error where one eye was found to be too weak.
    I believe the purpose of the eyes was most probably to serve as a belaying point for frapping lines. The primary purpose of frapping lines was to connect near the bow and stern and to steady the boat to prevent rocking athwartship in rough weather conditions. Another use has been to pull the boat up against the embarkation deck for passenger loading. One of the reasons that these eyes and the associated frapping lines have been a mystery is probably because of their lack of use. It was a rare occurrence for lifeboats to be launched under duress in a maritime setting at the time of Titanic. In the case of Titanic disaster, the sea was described as a “mill pond” in that it was so calm. I doubt that frapping lines were even rigged. Their secondary use to pull the boat up against the embarkation deck would probably not have been necessary either. If the boat was swung out and lowered for loading, the davit could be rotated slightly inboard and the boat would come back in contact with the ship and remain there by gravity. The main concern during the launch of Titanic’s boats was keeping them level fore and aft. The center of gravity was also well below the disengaging gear so the boat was naturally stable when in the falls.
    If conditions were rough then the frapping lines could be belayed through both of the eyes on both the fore and aft ends of the ship. It would only take two men to man the lines to keep the boat from rocking athwartship. This steadying pull by the frapping lines would not put undue strain on the eyes as would be the case in the theory where they would be used in lowering the boat from within the boat.
    So my theory in a nutshell is that these structures are “frapping eyes” which acted as a belaying point for the frapping lines. I realize it is a theory until someone with a lot of knowledge identifies unequivocally but I believe it has fewer holes in it than a lot of other theories I’ve heard.

    Regards,
    Bob Read
     
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