2 Launch

The Titanic was the last word in shipbuilding. Every British regulation had been complied with and her masters, officers and crew were the most experienced and skillful in the British service

– J. Bruce Ismay, chairman and chief executive, White Star Line.

At the beginning of the 20th century, Belfast was experiencing its boom years. The city had become the global leader in engineering and linen manufacture. Harland and Wolff had become the largest shipbuilders in the world.

Titanic Launch Ticket

The days leading up to the 31st May 1911, continued to be a hive of activity at the Harland and Wolff shipyards, in preparation for the momentous occasion. The launch day was a celebration for those who worked on her, the shipyard that built her and the shipping line who owned her.

Grandstands were constructed for the thousands of dignitaries, invited ticket holding guests and members of the press who would be present to witness the 26,000 tons of hull, which will eventually belong to the heaviest object ever moved by man, slide into the water of the Queens Island, Belfast Lough. Workers were busy applying 22 tons of tallow – train oil and soap to lubricate the 772 feet or 237 m slipway with a one inch thick layering for Titanic’s giant three tons per square inch hull to slip down the ‘way.

At the time of her launch, the construction was far from complete. Titanic was just a massive hull, containing the massive engines, boilers and bulkheads.

Bulkheads: The 16 watertight compartments of Titanic had doors that could close automatically if water rose beyond a certain level, or, could be closed manually by a lever system. Another, third, method was by way of an over ride switch on the ship’s bridge using hydraulic cataract cylinders. Ensuring all 15 watertight doors to close within 25 – 30 seconds in the event of an emergency, which could threaten the safety of the ship. By its design, Titanic could stay afloat if any two out of four compartments flooded, or she could stay afloat even if any combination of 3 or four compartments flooded.

Engines: Titanic’s power source was primarily from triple-expansion reciprocating steam engines, driving her one port and one starboard propellers. The centre propeller was powered by a Parsons low-pressure turbine engine, which gained its power from the two reciprocating engines. The same combination of engines used on the Olympic-class vessels were the same used by the White Star Lines’ RMS Laurentic with great success. The reciprocating engines ran at 75 rpm and generated 30,000 horsepower. The centre turbine engine ran at 165 rpm and generated 16,000 horsepower. Generating a top speed of 23 to 24 knots.

Boilers: To power the worlds largest ships during the early 1900’s, required an enormous power source for its driving engines. In 1912, the source of the power was provided by coal powered steam. Titanic had twenty-four double ended Scotch class boilers and a further five single ended boilers, housed in six boiler rooms. The double ended boilers measured 20 feet long with a diameter of fifteen feet, nine inches and contained six coal burning furnaces. The ship was fitted with 29 boilers and 159 furnaces. Over 8,000 tons of coal filled her bunkers. The fired furnaces heated water in the boilers to generate steam at 215 psi, then funneling steam to the triple-expansion engines, generating the energy required to turn the propellers. All boilers generating 46,000 horsepower.

Much more work would still be required for construction of her superstructure and fitting out. Then a series of sea trials will have to be executed, before she could be declared seaworthy for passenger and cargo on the Trans-Atlantic service.

Early in the morning of the 31st May 1911, the ships workers, their families, casual observers, important guests, members of the press and others who wished to witness history in the making, began to arrive at Harland and Wolff. It was estimated that around 100,000 people – about one third of the total population of Belfast would arrive to watch Titanic slip from the cradle of her birth into the water. The Crimson, Blue and White grandstands had been decorated with banners displaying the American Stars and Stripes, The British Red Ensign and the White Star Line logo. The giant Arrol Gantry that had previously encased the hull of Olympic and the newer, ready to be launched Titanic was also decorated with the British Red Ensign and the American Stars and Stripes gallantly flying at its highest point, while signal flags spelled out the words “Good Luck”.

During the buildup to the launching ceremony, Harland and Wolff’s Chief Executive and Chairman Lord Pirrie and White Star Line’s Chief Executive and Chairman J. Bruce Ismay made a tour of inspection of Titanic’s hull.

J.P. Morgan, Bruce Ismay, his daughter Margaret, Lord and Lady Pirrie, Thomas Andrews, the Lord Mayor of Belfast, Dignitaries, invited guests and the press occupied the grandstands at the slipway. In front of them, the 26,000 ton hull of Titanic. The workers, their families and others who wished to witness this monumental occasion had to make do with any vantage point they could find.

 

Pirie and Ismay

Just before mid day, two red rockets climbed high into the sky over the shipyard, announcing to the amassed crowd that the launch was imminent and signaling for the huge supporting beams to be knocked free from under the leviathan. The last death of a workman to be killed during Titanic’s construction occurred at this point, as a large supporting timber fell on James Dobbins, who received serious injuries. Dobbins died from his injuries later that day in a local Belfast hospital.

There was no christening for Titanic, as there was also none for her sister, Olympic. White Star Line vessels were not christened with the traditional bottle of Champagne smashed against the Bow, in line with White Star Line company policy.

At 12.13pm on May 31, 1911, a third red rocket was fired high into the sky. This third and last rocket signaled the order to release the hydraulic launch triggers that held the monstrous hull in place on the slipway. The largest movable object created by man was moving under her own weight for the first time.

Titanic took 62 seconds to slide down the slipway and into the water. In that time, she had travelled nearly twice her length at a speed of 12 knots, before being brought to a halt in the river Lagan, by six anchor chains and two piles of drag chains, weighing 80 tons each.

Launch of Titanic

Bruce Ismay and other guests of Lord Pirrie, went to the Queens Island yard for an expensive lunch. At 3.00pm, Ismay and his party boarded Titanic’s completed sister, Olympic for her first sailing, Southampton.

The freshly launched hull was towed by tugs from Liverpool’s Alexander Towing Company, using the tugs, Alexander, Hornby, Herculaneum and Wallasey and assisted by Harland and Wolff’s own tug, Hercules, to her fitting out basin for the next phase of her construction.

The Fitting Out

Soon after Titanic’s launch was completed, she was moved to the Harland and Wolff fitting out basin, where the empty shell of the vessel would be turned into the incredible floating palace she would become renowned for being. The builders who constructed her impressive hull were now concentrating on completing the third hull of the Olympic-class trio, that of Britannic.

Now securely placed in the fitting out basin of the deep water wharf of Harland and Wolff, It was now the turn of the highly skilled craftsmen to create her lavish interiors. An army of Joiners, Plumbers, Tilers, Carpet Layers, Electricians, Steamfitters, Metalworkers and Painters, worked tirelessly to build her superstructure, install her four funnels and create her legendary cabins and rooms. Hundreds and thousands of items kept arriving by ship, train and road at Harland and Wolff for Titanic’s fitting.

Many of the manufacturers who were supplying goods for Titanic made sure their customers and potential customers knew about it. Many advertising materials began to display images of Titanic, along with the product name. After all, what better endorsement or promotion, than to be able to announce that your product is being placed on the finest ship in the world, to be used by the most famous and wealthy people in the world?

Some alterations were made during Titanic’s fitting out, that differentiated her from her older sister, Olympic. For example, some passengers on Olympic had complained to White Star Line that spray from the ocean was making them wet as they strolled along the forward section of the promenade deck. The spray was coming up from the bow of the ship. Bruce Ismay ordered the area to be installed with sliding glass panels to protect the passengers from spray, although the panels could be opened. This feature of Titanic is quite striking from her sister, RMS Olympic as she retained the open forward section of her promenade deck. This feature of Titanic also made her easier to identify from a distance.

The superstructure consisted of two decks, the Promenade Deck and Boat Deck, which were about 500 feet or 150 m long. They accommodated the officers’ quarters, gymnasium, public rooms and first-class cabins, plus the bridge and wheelhouse. The ships’ lifeboats were carried on the Boat Deck, the uppermost deck. Standing above the decks were four funnels, though only three were functional. The last being a dummy, installed for aesthetic purposes, two masts, one forward, one aft of the funnels, each 155 feet or 47m high, which supported derricks for loading cargo. A wireless aerial was slung between the masts.

Big Gash in the side of Titanic

Conflicting testimony from the 700 survivors and stories included in hundreds of books for 85 years out of over the last 100 years since the Titanic disaster, indicated a giant gash along 300 feet out of the 900 feet length of the vessels starboard side, inflicted from the collision with the iceberg, allowing the massive ship to sink in two and a half hours, with the loss of over 1500 victims.

How was it possible for a ship so costly and exceptionally well built for safety and luxury to sink so fast after a mere collision with an iceberg? The ship was designed to survive the flooding of three or four of her watertight compartments, depending on which variation of four compartments.

In the 1912, British Board Of Trade inquiry into the sinking of Titanic, Harland and Wolff Naval architect Edward Wilding, suggested that the uneven flooding of the watertight compartments meant she had suffered unique, non-continuous damage. Wilding further suggested that the damage might be relatively small. But Wilding’s testimony was widely ignored, because of the general belief that the only damage that could possibly have sunk such a vessel would have been the massive gash along Titanic’s side.

Many questions and myths relating to Titanic were laid to rest after the 1985 discovery of Titanic’s resting place, by Dr Robert Ballard of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and iFremer. The biggest discovery was that the ship actually did break apart as she sank. The discovery opened up more questions, including the question of the size of the damage that caused the ship to sink. The myth of the gash was re-enforced, for a short time, in 1992, in Dr Robert MacInnis’ published book, “Titanic in a new light”. MacInnis suggested that repeated strikes to brittle plates could have caused them to disintegrate, one after the other. Or, in effect, opening up the starboard side of the ship.

In August 1996, further dives onto the wreck by French state oceanographic group, iFremer, finally set the myth to rest. Using images created by ultra-sound to examine the Starboard hull, as the damaged area is hidden under up to 55 feet of mud.

Examining the hull of Titanic, in a similar way, a doctor examines a pregnant woman, the president of Polaris Imaging Incorporated, Paul K. Matthias with a 26 foot French submersible, discovered a series of deformations of six thin openings, no larger than a persons hand, that start and stop, along the hull, about 10 feet above the bottom of the ship. Matthias said “They appear to follow the ships plate” suggesting that iron rivets along the plate seams probably popped open to create splits. Matthias observed the longest gap was 36 feet long, extending between boiler rooms No 5 and No 6, crossing between the watertight bulkhead.

The gaps in the plates are small. But the pressure from the ocean outside, would have forced the water through, in much the same way, as would jets of water from a fireman’s hose, filling the interior of the ship with thirty nine thousand tons of water just before she sank.

~ ~ ~ ~

During the summer of 1911, Bruce Ismay proposed the maiden voyage of Titanic would take place on March 20, 1912. White Star Line began issuing timetables, posters and stationary advertising the March 1912 sailing date. However, events soon began to conspire to postpone this date. One such event was that RMS Olympic was involved in a collision with the Royal Navy cruiser, HMS Hawke, canceling Olympic’s fifth voyage, under the command of Captain E.J. Smith. Although no one was injured and the ship stayed afloat, the damage was severe enough to warrant immediate repairs. Work on Titanic stopped while repairs were made to Olympic’s hull, as Harland and Wolff were the only company to have a dry dock large enough to cater for these large vessels. Workers attached to Titanic were transferred to Olympic, which meant that the timetable for the maiden voyage of Titanic had to be re-arranged. Another date was issued by White Star Line in London for April 10, 1912.

The repair work on RMS Olympic was completed on November 30th, 1911. Olympic returned to Southampton to once again begin and complete her fifth voyage to New York and the fitting out of Titanic resumed.

The fitting of Titanic’s machinery, heavy equipment and the installation of her majestic interiors took ten months and several million man-hours. More luxurious than her predecessor, her fitting out was intended to make her the most impressive vessel the world had ever seen. Between teak from Siam, fabrics from Holland, thick carpeting, where one worker commented “so thick, you sank in it up to your knees.” One prestigious industry journal stated “The greatest pains were being taken to provide passenger accommodations of unrivaled extent and magnificence… The excellent result defies improvement”.

Already a thousand tons heavier than Olympic, Titanic sported many design refinements that made her far more luxurious than her sister. Her first class restaurant was enlarged and included a trellised replica of a French side walk café, The Café Parisian. Two first class suites were built on B. Deck. These staterooms had private promenades, which required alterations to be made to the B. Deck window arrangements, as well as the alterations to the open section on A. Deck, or the Promenade deck, which were installed to eliminate the annoying sea spray that some Olympic passengers had complained about.

 

Titanic and Olympic

Upon completion, Titanic featured ten decks. Below the Boat Deck were decks A, B, C, D, E, F and G deck. Below G. Deck were the Boiler Rooms and Holds. Below them was the Orlop Deck. The fifteen watertight Bulkheads, extended to F. Deck.

The Boat Deck – The uppermost deck, excluding the top of the Officers quarters is the deck the lifeboats were situated. The bridge stood eight feet or 2.4 m above the forward end, extending out both sides, so the ship could be controlled while docking. The wheelhouse was slightly above and immediately behind the bridge, with the officers and Captains quarters directly behind the wheelhouse. Situated at mid-ships was the entrance to the First Class Grand Staircase and the gymnasium along with the raised roof of the First Class lounge. Towards the aft of the boat deck was the roof of the first class smoke room and modest Second class entrance. The wood-carved deck was divided into four segregated promenades: For officers, First class passengers, engineers and Second class passengers respectively. Lifeboats lined the forward and aft of the deck, excluding the First class areas at mid-ships, so the view would not be spoilt.

A Deck – Also known as the promenade Deck, extended the full length of the superstructure. The promenade deck was reserved for First class passengers and contained cabins, the First class lounge, smoking room, reading and writing rooms and the Verandah Cafe, also known as Palm Court.

B Deck – Or the Bridge Deck, the top weight-bearing deck and the uppermost level of the hull. On this deck were six palatial First class staterooms, each featuring its own private promenade. Unlike the Olympic, Titanic’s B Deck also contained the A La Carte restaurant and the Café Parisian providing luxury dining for First class passengers. Also located on this deck was the Second class smoking room and entrance hall. B Deck also contained a raised forecastle containing number 1 hatch, this being the main hatch through to the cargo holds, various pieces of machinery and the Anchor housing. At the rear of this deck was the raised poop deck, 106 feet or 32m long, the poop deck was used as a promenade for Third class passengers.

C Deck – The Shelter Deck. The highest deck to run completely from Bow to Stern. The Third class promenade and the Third class cabins and public rooms were contained at the aft end of the poop deck. The majority of First class cabins and Second class library were situated mid-ships, with the crew’s cabins being situated under the forecastle deck.

D Deck – The Saloon Deck. The highest deck reached by eight of the fifteen watertight bulkheads. The Saloon Deck was dominated by three large public rooms – the First Class Reception Room and Dining Room. The Second Class Dining Room, plus an open area for Third Class passengers. First, Second and Third Class passengers had cabins on this deck. The firemen’s cabins were located in the Bow.

E Deck – The Upper Deck, was predominantly used for accommodation for First, Second and Third Class passengers, plus Berths for Cooks, Seamen, Stewards and Trimmers. A long passageway, nicknamed ‘Scotland Road’ – named after a famous road in Liverpool, ran along its length. ‘Scotland Road’ was used by Third Class passengers and crew members.

F Deck – The Middle Deck. The swimming pool and Turkish bath were situated on this deck. Second and Third Class passengers were mainly accommodated, together with several departments for the crew as well as the Third Class Dining saloon.

G Deck – The Lower Deck. The lowest complete deck that carried passengers. Just above the waterline, G deck had the lowest portholes. The Squash Courts and the traveling Post Office were located here, where mail clerks sorted letters and parcels so they would be ready for delivery when the ship docked and food was also stored on this deck. The deck was interrupted at several points by Orlop or partial decks over the boiler, engine and turbine rooms.

Orlop Deck and Tank Top – The lowest level below the waterline, is where cargo was stowed. The Tank Top was the inner bottom of the ships hull – providing the platform on which the boilers, engines, turbines and electrical generators were positioned. This area was dominated by the engine and boiler rooms and was ‘off limits’ to passengers. The deck was connected with the higher levels by flights of stairs and twin spiral stairways located near the bow to access D Deck.

Titanic was equipped with four 400 kilowatt generators, providing First and Second class passenger comforts which equaled that of the top Hotels of Europe and America. All cabins had electric lighting and heaters. First Class enjoyed features such as an electric camel in the gymnasium and a heated swimming pool. An electric elevator took First and Second Class passengers between decks. Steerage accommodation and facilities were exceptionally good for the time. Many of the Third Class passengers would never have enjoyed electric lighting and heating before they boarded Titanic. The generators also powered the loading cranes, cooking in the galley, refrigerating the huge stores of fresh food down on the Orlop Deck, lighting and heating the public areas, the ventilation fans, operating the watertight doors, the telephone system and the Marconi wireless equipment.

Unsinkable.

The myth that Titanic was unsinkable is by far the most popular in literature written about the disaster and in the scripts of Titanic movies over the last century. The 1997 James Cameron movie “Titanic” depicts this myth as a popular belief in 1912. At the beginning of the movie, while arriving at the White Star Line wharf at Southampton, prior to boarding, the character of Ruth DeWitt Bukater, when looking at the massive ship in front of her comments:

“So this is the ship they say is unsinkable” to which the character of Cal Hockley replies: “It is unsinkable. Not even god himself could sink this ship”.

The character of Cal Hockley, seems to be stating this myth to be fact. In reality, before Titanic’s maiden voyage, and certainly before her tragic accident with the iceberg, and subsequent sinking, nobody thought Titanic was unsinkable. The second sentence from Cal Hockley is also not true. His statement “Not even god himself could sink this ship” is believed to have been a comment from a White Star Line employee. Many versions of the myth claim Captain Smith made the comment, a Steward made the comment, a senior officer made the comment. Some mention an unnamed employee made the comment. Reality is, no one made such a comment.

Titanic, her sister ships Olympic and Britannic, were designed according to the 1891 Grade 1 subdivision, proposed by the Bulkhead committee, meaning the three Olympic-class vessels could stay afloat with any four of her 16 adjoining compartments below the waterline open to the water. In the case of the Olympic-class vessels, Olympic and Titanic, the bulkhead height extended to at least E Deck. This was well above that which was required, so Titanic and Olympic could stay afloat with any combination of four compartments open to the water, or any combination of four adjoining compartments open to the water, thus making Titanic “practically unsinkable”.

With the construction of the third liner, Britannic, launched on 26 February 1914, this was changed and the bulkhead height extended to Deck B, as a result of the Titanic disaster. Watertight doors also provided thoroughfares between compartments.

Titanic’s 15 watertight doors were normally operated vertically on hydraulic cataract cylinders. In an emergency however, the doors could be operated in three different ways. First was by a switch on the bridge, which operated the hydraulic cataract cylinders that ensured that as soon as one door started to close, the others would also close. Alternatively each door could be individually closed by way of either a lever or a float mechanism under the floor, so that if a compartment was flooding, the incoming water would trigger the mechanism and the doors would close. When the watertight doors were closed via any of the three methods, they would close within 25-30 seconds.

Titanic’s broadside with an iceberg on the night of April 14 1912 breached five adjoining forward compartments, nearly 300 feet or 91.4 metres, opening them to the water. This ensured Titanic would sink.

An unqualified comment was made to the New York Times news paper on 16 April 1912, two days after Titanic’s sinking, by Philip A. S. Franklin, Vice President of the International Mercantile Marine Company, stating:

“I thought her unsinkable, and I based my opinion on the best expert advice available. I do not understand it”.

After that comment was published, it was seized upon by the media and entered the publics’ perception that White Star Line had previously believed that Titanic was unsinkable.

Titanic, was never described as “unsinkable” by her operators, White Star Line, or her builders, Harland and Wolff. Three trade publications in which one was never published, described her as “practically unsinkable” prior to the collision with the iceberg. The notion of her being “unsinkable” had not entered the public arena until after her sinking. A promotional item from White Star Line, prior to her maiden voyage. claimed;

“As far as it is possible to do so, these two wonderful vessels are designed to be unsinkable”.

No one could reasonably imagine the scenario that doomed Titanic. There remains a possibility that Philip A. S. Franklin misinterpreted that White Star Line promotional item.

 

Titanic schematic

~ ~ ~ ~

According to the British Board Of Trade regulations, any ship over 10,000 tons was required to carry sixteen lifeboats, Titanic held twenty lifeboats, sixteen being regular wooden boats and four Englehardt collapsible boats, known as A, B, C and D. No ocean liner afloat at that time carried enough lifeboats for all passengers and crew. Prior to the Titanic sinking, it was generally believed that the North Atlantic was crowded with vessels. The lifeboats of any stricken vessel would be used to ferry passengers and crew to other rescue vessels that would be summoned by radio to the stricken ship. It was also believed, any large vessel in danger would be able to stay afloat for hours, in some cases, days, before all passengers and crew were rescued.

Titanic’s lifeboats were built by Harland and Wolff, and installed in January 1912. These were supported by a new design of davit, which allowed two or three lifeboats to use the same davit. This would have allowed for more lifeboats to be carried. Harland and Wolff had proposed the fitting of 64 lifeboats, but later designs provided for only 32 boats. After consultations with White Star Line, the number had halved again, to a mere 16 boats, plus the four Engelhardt collapsibles.

The almost completed Titanic was dry docked in Belfast Harbour, in the Thomson Graving Dock on February 3rd 1912, where she was fitted with her three propellers and a final coat of paint. From her bottom to just above the water line, she was coated with red anti-fouling paint. The rest of her hull was painted black, her superstructure was painted white. The funnels were White Star Line’s traditional beige with a band of black on top.

In early March 1912, Titanic was removed from the dry dock, to make room for repairs to be made again to Olympic, which had lost a propeller to an underwater obstruction. To quicken Olympic’s repair, the starboard propeller was removed from Titanic and installed on Olympic. By the end of March, a new starboard propeller was fitted to Titanic. Titanic’s construction and fitting out was finally completed.

Titanic’s sea trials were due to begin on April 1st 1912. Various members of her crew had begun to arrive at Belfast throughout March, many of them engineers, who had to familiarise themselves with the ships brand new, vast machinery. The junior officers – Pitman, Boxhall, Lowe and Moody – had arrived on March 27th, they had orders to report to Chief Officer William Murdoch, who was already onboard with Second Officer Charles Lightoller.

Sea Trials

Originally scheduled for the 1st April 1912, Titanic’s sea trial were postponed due to unfavourable weather conditions, as it was believed sailing her down the narrow channel of the River Lagan would be too hazardous. Reluctantly, the trials were delayed until the following day. This meant there would be one day less to stock the ship with provisions and supplies before her maiden voyage on April 10th. Many crew and Officers took the opportunity to familiarise themselves further with the new mammoth ship.

Monday, April 2nd 1912, dawned clear enough to undertake the trials. Crowds were gathering on the river banks by 6am, to witness Titanic’s grand passage under the command of Captain Charles Bartlett. Also aboard were 78 stokers, greasers and firemen, 41 other crew, as well as representatives of various companies. Harland and Wolff were represented by Thomas Andrews and Edward Wilding, while Harold S. Sanderson represented the International Mercantile Marine Company. Jack Philips and Harold Bride were also on board as Marconi wireless operators to fine tune the radio equipment. Lord Pirrie and Bruce Ismay were not present, because of illness. Also present was Francis Caruthers, a surveyor from the Board Of Trade, to see that everything worked and that the ship was fit to carry passengers.

Shortly before 6am, Harland and Wolff’s own tug, Hercules had the honour of getting the first line aboard Titanic. The other tugs took their respective positions, Huskisson at the port side of the stern, Herculaneum at the starboard at the stern, Hornby was stationed on the starboard bowline and Herald pulled the forward line. The grand ship’s mooring lines were dropped then, at the sound of the whistle from Herculaneum, the accompanying tugs all took up the slack in the ropes. Titanic was moved away from the jetty into the middle of the river. She was soon moving forward as the crowds that had gathered on the river banks started cheering her progress as she moved gracefully down the Belfast Lough, until she was two miles off Carrickfergus. The tugs that provided the power for the last two miles stopped, casting off their tow lines, now stood back as a blue and white burgee was raised, indicating to all the observers present on the banks, on the tugs and all else witnessing this moment in history; “I am undergoing sea trials”. The bells rang out from the telegraph, across the bridge and reverberated deep down in the engine room. This was the moment of truth. Excitement rang out as the valves were opened, sending steam from the boilers to the two huge engines. Slowly at the start but surely. Titanic’s propellers were turning. The great monument to man’s achievement was under her own power, for the first time in her short life.

 

Sea Trials

According to the British Board Of Trade regulations, testing was first carried out in Belfast Lough, consisting of a number of tests of her handling characteristics. Then Titanic went out to open waters in the Irish Sea, for the next phase of testing that was to last the next twelve hours. These tests consisted of the vessel being driven at differing speeds, testing her turning abilities. Then suddenly stopping the ship with the engines at full astern. Also known as ‘Crash Stopping’ this test brought her to a complete stop in 850 yards or 777 metres, in 3 minutes and 15 seconds. In total, Titanic covered a distance of about 80 nautical miles or 150 kilometres, averaging 18 knots.

Titanic returned to Belfast at about 7pm, the surveyor signed an “Agreement and Account of Voyages and Crew”, valid for 12 months. Titanic had passed her sea trials. She could now sail to Southampton and prepare for her maiden voyage to New York, as scheduled, on April 10, 1912.

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TITANIC: The Legend, myths and folklore Copyright © 2013 by Bruce Alpine. All Rights Reserved.

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