Author Topic: Everything I know is wrong  (Read 3788 times)

Bunting Tosser

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Everything I know is wrong
« on: July 28, 2011, 02:47:02 pm »
Inspired, or provoked, by my activity on OW, Mrs. Bunts read a book given to her 30 some years ago: Gauges Steady by E. Laurie-Long. It was published in 1946 and deals with the transition from sail to steam,  containing recollections from actual "sail-ers". Mrs. B. shamed me by asking what I knew about the reversal of steering orders.  ??? She then proceeded to educate me. (Not for the first time.)

http://www.gwpda.org/naval/boxco000.htm
"Helm" and "Rudder" Orders The following description is from Seamanship in the Age of Sail, by John Harland (Naval Institute Press, 1984):

Orders to the helmsman were traditionally given in terms of "helm", that is to say, the position of the tiller rather than the rudder. 'Hard a-starboard!' meant "Put the tiller (helm) to starboard, so that the ship may go to port!'. It will be realised that not only the bow turned to port, but also the rudder, top of the wheel, and prior to the advent of the steering-wheeo, the upper end of the whipstaff. Cogent reasons existed, therefore, for giving the order in what one might call the 'common sense' fashion. The transition to 'rudder' orders was made in many European countries about a century ago, being decreed for example, in the Royal Swedish Navy by General Order 609 of 1872. The change did not proceed smoothly everywhere, since old traditions died extremely hard in the merchant service, even in lands where the new convention was readily imposed in naval vessels...In the United Kingdom, the changeover did not occur until 1933, at which time the new regulations were applied to naval and merchant vessels alike...Although the United States Navy made the switch from 'Port helm!' to 'Right rudder' in 1914, practice in American merchant vessels did not change until 1935.

This means that during World War One, the ships of the British Empire and Commonwealth, as well as US merchant shipping, would indeed turn "opposite" to the order given. This may cause confusion when looking at ships' logs, for example. "

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http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/Geo5/22-23/9/section/29/enacted
"Merchant Shipping (Safety and Load Line Conventions) Act 1932
Method of giving helm orders

para. 29
(1)No person on any British ship registered in the United Kingdom shall when the ship is going ahead give a helm or steering order containing the word " starboard " or " right" or any equivalent of " starboard" or " right", unless he intends that the head of the ship shall move to the right, or give a helm or steering order containing the word " port" or " left", or any equivalent of " port " or " left ", unless he intends that the head of the ship shall move to the left.

(2)Any person who contravenes the provisions of this section shall for each offence be liable to a fine not exceeding fifty pounds. "

*******

(I recall a "mistake" in a film, possibly Pirates of the Caribbean or more likely Master and Commander ... where the command was given to turn the ship to avoid a collision e.g. "Hard a starboard" when the ship needed to turn to port - which she duly did.)
This cropped up when I was posting about HMS Changuinola's pirouette and I tried to work out whether she turned "right or left" - I guess it was to the right.
My brain hurts.

dorbel

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Re: Everything I know is wrong
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2011, 03:41:02 pm »
I think what we see in the logs always refers to the manouevre carried out by the ship itself.
I seem to remember the wheel being turned the "wrong" way in "Titanic", but factually correct. Certainly it must have lead to terrible confusion when the change was made. Perhaps the hapless Lt Phillips "Left hand down a bit Chief" in the navy Lark made more sense than we thought.

Bunting Tosser

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Re: Everything I know is wrong
« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2011, 04:15:44 pm »
Didn't see, won't watch Titanic; so there are at least two well informed films. Thanks.
The Navy Lark is on Radio 4 extra and Wren Chasen had a brief role in Eastenders, recently; great voice.

DJ_59

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Re: Everything I know is wrong
« Reply #3 on: July 28, 2011, 06:04:31 pm »

Okay, why won't you watch Titanic?  Just curious.  As a life-long Titanic buff I found the film irresistible.  Not for the story they were telling so much as the illusion of the ship.

Bunting Tosser

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Re: Everything I know is wrong
« Reply #4 on: July 28, 2011, 06:26:52 pm »
What a very good question.

I've read enough about the building of Titanic (and her sisters) and theories about her demise. I saw "A night to remember" and found it a bit woolly but harrowing, nevertheless. I couldn't stand the thought of a mawkish "love story" imposed on a particularly unfortunate event and subsequent misunderstandings.

But that's just me.

tastiger

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Re: Everything I know is wrong
« Reply #5 on: July 28, 2011, 07:18:11 pm »
Didn't see, won't watch Titanic; so there are at least two well informed films. Thanks.
The Navy Lark is on Radio 4 extra and Wren Chasen had a brief role in Eastenders, recently; great voice.

Well, the "Titanic" was somewhat informed. In one scene, the protagonist guy (can't remember his name) mentions the name of a big Wisconsin lake (I think he and the heroine are outside at the time). The problem with this is that at the time, the lake was not named. It was just a lake (Oops! :-[)

Randi

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Re: Everything I know is wrong
« Reply #6 on: July 28, 2011, 07:25:34 pm »
I got turned off by all the publicity and the commercialization.

DJ_59

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Re: Everything I know is wrong
« Reply #7 on: July 28, 2011, 07:38:01 pm »
And yet it's a pretty good flick.  Honest.  The love story isn't even bad.  But the real love story is the ship.  The look of it, the attention to detail.  And they managed to convey the massive scale, which hadn't been done correctly in any Titanic movie before. 

There were a lot of little errors, and they've been famously picked apart over the years, but it's all small change.  Yeah, DiCaprio (Jack) mentions painting portraits for money on the Santa Monica Pier, and it hadn't been built yet in 1912.  Oh well, that's bad, but never mind because I can't stop gawking at this beautiful ship.

And by the way, if you've never seen Cameron's documentary, Ghosts of the Abyss, you should.  It's the most beautiful look at the real Titanic you'll ever see.  They spent a lot of hours at the wreck, filming all the while, and the things you see are amazing and haunting. 
« Last Edit: July 28, 2011, 07:40:22 pm by DJ_59 »

Kathy

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Re: Everything I know is wrong
« Reply #8 on: July 28, 2011, 08:21:49 pm »
I loved the movie  - I thought the love story was handled quite nicely and DJ is right - the reconstruction of the ship was simply glorious!
And, like Platoon and Saving Private Ryan, I thought the movie did a very good job conveying the feeling of the event - from the first hit until the survivors were picked up -

my 2 cents -

Kathy W.

Bunting Tosser

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Re: Everything I know is wrong
« Reply #9 on: August 17, 2011, 02:12:20 pm »
ABBA - Danish  :o

Thursday Next

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Re: Everything I know is wrong
« Reply #10 on: August 27, 2011, 09:00:47 pm »
http://oldweather.s3.amazonaws.com/ADM53-37554/C2-ADM53-37554-139_0.jpg

Mamma Mia!  We've just met the Abba, too!  (Definitely Danish.)

Bunting Tosser

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Re: Everything I know is wrong
« Reply #11 on: September 01, 2011, 01:29:34 pm »
Avid readers may recall that in:
http://forum.oldweather.org/index.php?topic=1905.msg24067#msg24067
I was not very complimentary about the Scottish navy. I didn't know then what I know now. The good old BBC I has revealed the reasons why the Royal Navy was so effective. (Not to mention the 18th century Russian navy.) In my defence, the main point I made about the amalgamation of the English/Scottish fleets was accurate, but there's more to it than that.

If, after my recent mistakes, you wish to hear the programme, it is here:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b013q20w it is the first item and lasts 7 minutes.
There's little point in my paraphrasing the broadcast, but if you cannot hear it, send me a PM and I'll gladly send you a summary.

Bunting Tosser

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Re: Everything I know is wrong
« Reply #12 on: November 15, 2011, 02:13:13 pm »
I can remember when the "Let's get away from it all" lines:
"And I'll repeat
I love you, Sweet,
In all the forty eight."
could be sung without amending to "In all the states and I know there's fifty".
I knew that the Stars and Stripes had changed, slightly, in appearance over the years (including twice during my lifetime) but I didn't know the half of it:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-15634606 

Janet Jaguar

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Re: Everything I know is wrong
« Reply #13 on: November 15, 2011, 04:18:54 pm »
I hadn't thought to look for patterns and messages in the stars of older flags, but could always recognize flags as being older simply because no two were ever exactly the same.  Every star had to be hand painted or appliqued on by individual artisans, and many of them were (or tried to be) artistic.  Even when they were sort of following a standard rectangle pattern, the grid never lined up exactly right. 

I do remember July 4th, 1959, when absolutely nobody owned a properly constructed flag.  Alaska had just boosted the star count from 48 to 49, and everyone knew Hawaii's application for statehood was currently in congress and certain to pass that same year.  So everyone who carried a flag in the parades used the old 48 star ones while saving their money to buy the final 50 star flag.  They were designed, but were clearly temporary.  The 50 star flags had been designed, but absolutely none were available nor wanted until it was official.  Note must be made that all older flags with fewer stars are definitely still official flags, and due that respect.

There are some designs floating around, for several decades now, for a 51 star flag.  Movements to get local government to apply for statehood exist in both Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_51-star_flag