Where was Californian?

To try to discover the position of Californian during the time when Titanic was sinking is to venture where mariners fear to sail. I am conscious that many have been this way before, but many have had particular axes to grind and many have been quite unqualified to lay down the law on the subject. Oddly enough, the only widely known book on the topic to be written by a qualified Master is Leslie Harrison's very biased A Titanic Myth: The Californian Incident. The whole story is bedevilled by rough estimations, hazy memories and outright lies. These are on top of the usual errors inherent in 1912 style navigation.

A vital piece of evidence is missing. Californian's log was evidently destroyed during World War II, though even this is not certain. Certainly it has never been subjected to modern forensic testing. It has been known since 1912 that several hours of the night of April 14th, 1912, were not written up in the log, but there is no technical proof that it was ever actually altered.

I propose to attack the problem using those facts which can be established by technical evidence, making little use of estimations, especially estimations of distances between lights at night. The reason for this is clear. To take a simple example, witnesses from Titanic placed the lights seen from her at anything from 3 to 10 miles away. To quote the Bard, "That way madness lies".


The Evidence.

What can be found in the technical evidence? The facts are found in many sources and their interpretation requires a knowledge of the navigational procedures of 1912. I consider the following to be demonstrable.