Titanic's Maiden Voyage
After she was fitted out, the Titanic headed for Southampton, England. Once there, she was to be taken to sea for trials. But, unlike any other liner before her, Titanic's sea trials only lasted six hours because she was thought to be like her sister, the Olympic. But not only did Titanic weigh more, but she had 100 more first class staterooms than the Olympic.
The Titanic was delivered a couple of weeks before her maiden voyage on Wednesday, April 10, 1912. This means the White Star Line had to get all of their posters, chairs, food and cargo on the ship in this short amount of time. Even though the Captain served on the Titanic's sister ship, the Olympic, he still could not believe the staggering statistics of the new luxury liner. 882 feet long, 92 feet wide, 46,000 tons, 4 beautiful funnels, 3 screws(propellers), 50,000 peak horsepower, and 29 coal-fired boilers.
The Captain and his officers stood idle on the bridge awaiting for the strike of noon. The Captain readied for departure. He started out of the bridge and into the starboard wing. He looked back and all he could see was an endless row of steel. He could also see the tours which were being conducted for people unfimiliar with Titanic. Also, he could see the tugs were getting into position on the bow some sixty feet below him. But, the tours were ending, the passengers were boarding, and the stokers were finished loading coal.
The Captain on this ill-fated voyage was Captain Edward James Smith, a noble White Star seaman for 38 years. Popular with the crew and the passengers, Smith was definately the Captain of choice for J. B. Ismay. Captain Smith reared his head around and looked at the first officer, Robert Murdoch, who was at the wheel. The Captain walked to the bridge and asked if the tugs were ready. Just then, the phone on the wall behind him rang. The First Officer walked over and picked it up. "Tugs all fast, sir," was the message he heard. He said, "Thank you," and walked to the wheel. He looked at the Captain and nodded. The Captain looked at him and said, "Take her to sea Mr. Murdoch." He reached past the Captain to the bridge telegraph and pushed it till it rang and went to ¼ ahead.
The Titanic was underway. Making seven knots as she moved gracefully out towards the sea. They were already past the dock and moving through the mouth of the river. Then, the First Officer reached again to the bridge telegraph and pushed the handle to ¾ ahead. The ship started to move faster until she reached nineteen knots. Every passenger was either walking the decks or sipping wine in the many saloons and cafes.
Then, the Captain went to the port bridge wing to see what was happening with the ship. It was slowing down. He walked to the edge in time to see a ship moving towards the stern of his ship at a very fast rate. He was bewildered, he gathered his senses and ordered a touch ahead on the port wing propeller and it washed the other ship away. One of the tugs at the dock came out and picked up this ship. It was later pronounced that this ship was the New York.
Captain Smith stopped the Titanic and checked for any damage that might have been done to the engines. The question in everybody's minds was, "Is this vessel to big to handle safely?" The Captain's report came back, the ship was fine. The First Officer started the ship moving slowly as not to pick up any more ships. Then, at last, open sea. The First Officer reached forward and pushed the handle to ¾ ahead. But, now the quartermaster, Robert Hitchens, was in control. He took over confidently. J.B. Ismay appeared on the bridge. He chatted with Captain Smith. Some words were said about the ship's speed, some about the passengers.
Then the Captain walked out of the bridge to explore his ship in a more detailed approach. He walked down one of the promenades and up to the boat deck. He walked up towards the bridge and into one of the starboard vestibules and into the Forward Grand Staircase. There, he chatted with passengerswho exchanged comments and chatted about how beautiful the ship was.
For the night, people walked the decks and enjoyed dinner and the men spent most of their time in the Smoking Room. The Captain could not help but notice how well his ship was running. The boilers were new, the engines were new, everything was new, and huge! On the bridge, the First Officer ran the ship according to a chart marked by the White Star Line.
Finally, the first stop, Cherbourg, France. Here, one of the most famous person on the ship boarded, Colonel John Jacob Astor and his young, pregnant wife, Madeline. Madeline was nineteen and there was some dispute about this among the passengers who knew him. The tender Nomadic brought out passengers and mail to be taken to Queenstown or to New York.
The second day was spent at Cherbourg picking up mail and passengers. Today was the third day. Titanic was sailing for Queenstown. The Captain spent his time amusing the passengers. The ship was at full speed, but only making 20 knots. The Officers on the bridge were aware that in order to make up for lost time, they would have to push the ship as far as it could be pushed ahead without straining the engines. The Captain could feel the rythym of the engines as he strolled the decks. The sea was calm and it was a sunny afternoon as the Titanic set sail for Queenstown with nearly 2,500 people on board. The ship accelerated to her top speed, pushing with all of her might.
By this time, the Captain began to appreciate the situation that the Captains before him experienced when their ships were so grand and new. The ship slowed down as not to pick up the head wind running across the deck. The time was now 3:22 p.m. The Captain was so impressed with the ship that he completely forgot to do his routine inspection of the ship. He proceeded to the engine room. He walked along between the stokers and the engineers. Then, in the second boiler room, he spotted J. B. Ismay speaking with the Cheif Engineer. He was obviously talking about Titanic's speed. He ordered the Cheif to light 4 additional boilers to see how fast she could go.
Now, the ship was forcing her engines to move fast as possible without over revving them. The ship was now making an easy 22 knots without hesitation from the engines like last time. The Captain caught up with J. B. Ismay in the Forward Grand Staircase where he was standing setting his pocket watch. The Captain approached him and asked about his earlier appearance. He said, "Come, sit." They both walked to the bottom of the stairs and into the dining room. They sat and spoke together. The woman next to them, Alice Lines, noticed them talking about the speed of the ship and that it would get to New York earlier than the Olympic and beat her record and get into New York by Tuesday night.
Then, as the ship was pulling into position to dock at Queenstown, Ireland. A short, gray-haired man walked up to the Captain and Purser McElroy and snapped a picture. He shook hands with the Captain and introduced himself as Father Browne, his pictures of the Titanic are very famous today.
The ship was docked. Here, most of the immigrants boarded for New York and a new life. Also, most of the third and second class passengers disembarked here. Also, mail and supplies such as coal, food, and other necessities were loaded here.
As the ship was readyied for departure, the lookouts were questioning White Star personnel as to where their binoculars were. They were told that they were misplaced, and this would play a role in the destruction of the ship.
The ship was casting off. Setting sail for New York. Taking her innocent victims on a death ride that they would soon not forget.
Price to build Titanic
Price for one-way tickets
Price to build Titanic
Price for one-way tickets
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WebTitanic Editor | Karl Metelko