Sunday, 15 November 2015



Frederick Little

Rolled very heavily after leaving the Heads (Melbourne).

It seemed she went over more than usual.

Nothing peculiar after that.

Was rather slow in recovering (in heavy rolling after leaving the Heads)

Herbert Comer Herbert.

Still carried list from Australia to Durban.

Rolled excessively in dirty weather (between Durban and Cape Town)

Very slow recovery.

Mr. Herbert contradicted the above account by claiming that the Waratah 'carried a list' for the lengthy passage across to Durban.

Edgar H. Pask

Came up the Channel with a heavy list, and made a very rotten trip of it.

It's difficult to assess this statement as the Channel represented the last stretch of the voyage, when the Waratah was likely to have been tender - most coal burned out. The 'very rotten trip of it', does not appear to apply to the majority of the voyage.

William H. Bragg.

Passenger: Fellow of Royal Society and Cavendish Professor of Physics at the University of Leeds; fourth long voyage.

I was very alarmed.

Thought she was unstable for small displacements, but stable for larger ones.

My impression was that metacentre was just slightly below centre of gravity when she was upright, and then as she heeled over on either side she came to a position of equilibrium.

Judging by the camber the list was four or five degrees.

The list would last for several days in one direction.

One morning she came upright, then went over, and stopped down on the other side.

The vessel got more upright getting towards Durban. After leaving Cape Town the list developed again.

I was surprised to find how little she rolled, but that fitted in with her being in neutral equilibrium.

Thought she was a remarkably steady and comfortable boat.

Often talked to the captain about the stability of ships, but never put a direct question about this ship. Asked for stability curves, but was told they were not on board.

Spoke to the chief engineer who said she was safe as a church, that if necessary the tanks would be filled, and she would then be as stiff as a board. 

Professor Bragg's comments were to survive beyond the Inquiry and into posterity. His assessment of the Waratah held great significance, based on his credentials. This was a man who without ambiguity, described a tender vessel. This was undoubtedly so during the maiden voyage. 

According to Prof. Bragg, the Waratah's stability improved as she approached Durban, which on the surface of things does not make sense - burning out significant coal should make a vessel more tender - unless the coal in question came from the 'tween decks which raised the centre of gravity and once utilized reduced this centre with an improvement in stability.

If so this proved the case for replacing coal in the 'tween decks with cargo. 

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