As my first post here, I will ask something that has been bothering me for many years: What is the round hole or casting near the top of the bow on the Olympic class ships? Is this a hawsepipe or something else? ADavid
#47150, "RE: Round casting on bow" In response to Reply # 0
Welcome aboard. You have indeed guessed this out as a hawse pipe, the Olympic class had the unusual feature of a third anchor. It is hard to notice because it is stored in a deck well at the tip of the bow. It is swung out by the crane there and connected to a cable fed from a winch in the under deck machine space.
#47172, "RE: Round casting on bow" In response to Reply # 3 Wed Jul-11-12 06:03 PMby alotef
This information is taken from a topic at the Encyclopedia-Titanica forums: "It's a hole for the cable of the big central anchor, which can still be seen stowed on the foredeck. This anchor used a wire cable rather than chain and getting it ready for use involved threading the cable through the hole and hoisting the anchor out with the little crane on the foredeck. This would only be done in dire emergency and I wouldn't like to have to do it. The anchor weighed about 15 tons. I think the arrangement was unseamanlike."
"The 'Central Anchor' was deployed through that hole which is called a 'hawspipe'. It was possibly part of the ship's emergency ocean towing system. There would have been an extremely large (50mm dia.?) wire stowed on a giant reel under Titanic's forecastle head. In an emergency, the wire would be deployed at first exactly the way Dave Gittings described. The towing vessel (usually another ship)would then pass his emergency towing wire or similar to Titanic. Titanic's crew would attach the towing ship's tow-line to Titanic's anchor. Titanic's bow crane would then lift the anchor over the side. The towing vessel would position herself ahead of Titanic and start winding in her tow line. At the same time; Titanic would pay-out her wire with the anchor attached.
When the anchor was suspended approximately half-way between the two ships, all would be made fast ready for the tow. The anchor would act as a counter spring weight to the towing wire and prevent it becoming taught and breaking during bad weather when Titanic was under tow and the both vessels were pitching, rolling and heaving in a seaway. The distance between the vessels would be upward of quarter of a mile.
In years to come, every British merchant ship carried one of these wires for that very purpose. They became known as 'Insurance Wires'. Perhaps this shows what I mean:
#47174, "RE: Round casting on bow" In response to Reply # 4
Thank you Mike!!!! I didn't know about the anchor being used for towing as well. I'm interested in the hawsepipe cover, and where this cable was attached. The cover seems too big to fit through the hole.
Also, where did they pay out this cable? Was it from the reel? It said it was stowed in the forecastle. That's over 660 feet of 50mm cable, a great deal to move out to the bow.I agree with you about the arrangement!!! Thanks again for the cool info. Charles
#47176, "RE: Round casting on bow" In response to Reply # 5
Interesting reading, about the anchor and tow cable. I am wondering about the modeling of this bow hawsepipe. In the rivet-counter tutorial (section 26 - improving the bow hawse) it talks about drilling out this part on the model to give it a more 3 dimensional look. However, in the photos in this thread, it shows some sort of cover on the bow hawse. Would this cover not always be on, unless the bow hawse was actually in use, and hence appear flat as molded on the minicraft 1:350?
#47177, "RE: Round casting on bow" In response to Reply # 6
You can model certainly the center hawsehole either way -- plugged or open. With the plug in place, the plug is still somewhat visible even when painted black, since it protruded slightly above flush with the hawsehole lip. However, I would suggest evaluating this feature carefully since, at 1:350 scale, depicting a protrusion that will stand off from the surrounding surface by only a few thousandths of an inch at scale can be very difficult to model. (In other words, it's better to leave the spot flat than to add a feature that might end up being grossly out of scale.)
As far as the opened or closed hawsehole is concerned, generally speaking, the center hawsehole, which opened directly in the forward windlass compartment beneath the fo'c'sl, was always plugged at sea to prevent the inflow of water the would occur if the ship's head plunged into green water. In port, particularly in Southampton, the plug was removed and the center hawser deployed to be used as a tow line by the tug at the center which was tasked with helping the ship maintain heading when approaching the docks, where steerageway was lost with the ship's greatly reduced speed. Perhaps the best examples of the center hawser being used in this fashion are the series of photos of Titanic outbound to begine her builder's trials.
The following pictures show, respectively, Olympic and Titanic (in drydock) with the hawsehole plug installed, and Titanic laying at Southampton with the plug removed:
#47182, "RE: Round casting on bow" In response to Reply # 7
One poster above mentioned that this seems very unseamanlike. I would point out that by Titanic's time British seamen had hundreds of years of experience in the use of various purchases to hoist heavy objects overboard such as cannons, ships' boats, etc, to the point where such excercises were quite routine. Just because we cannot imagine how such as thing was done doesn't mean it wasn't feasible.
Second, although the center hawser was used as a means of towing the ship forward out of her berth, as seen clearly in the Courtney photos taken at Southampton, disabuse yourself of any idea that this would have worked at sea. Successful towing in open waters with a vessel as large and as heavy as Titanic demands a significant catenary in the towing cable, meaning the ships have to be far enough apart for the cable to sag quite deeply in the water. In researching Titanic's center anchor I consulted with a firm that manufacturers some of the largest commercial anchors in the world, and the president of that firm assured me that the length of Titanic's center hawser was far too short to allow a sufficient catenary. It could certainly have been attempted out of desperation, but in anything but the calmest seas and/or with the ship significantly flooded the cable would have parted almost immediately.
#47183, "RE: Round casting on bow" In response to Reply # 8
Great description and photos of the bow hawse. Sounds like it was used more often then I though, so now, I will have to decide whether to model it open or closed. Any idea how the plug would have been removed or inserted? It looks like it would have to be done from the outside somehow.