107 #37: Titanic’s rudder was too small for her size, making her hard to turn

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titanic rudder

FALSE. In fact Titanic turned very well. Her stern easily cleared the iceberg under port helm, when she had—only moments before—been under full starboard helm, which had succeeded in throwing her stem clear of the iceberg. Travelling at about 22 knots and seeing the iceberg at only about 500 yards, Titanic had no more than about 30 seconds in which to avoid the ice. During this time, she managed to turn two points to port, before then swinging her bow to starboard, successfully clearing her stern away from the deadly iceberg.

It is important to note that Titanic had exactly the same size rudder as the Olympic had throughout her career, and Olympic’s wartime captain described her as the most maneuverable and responsive ship he had ever had the pleasure to command. The very efficient steering of the Olympic-class liners was due to the advantage that their central propellors were directly in front of the rudder, which therefore increased the rudder’s effectiveness due to the increased slipstream produced by the central propellor (a feature lacking in Cunard’s quadruple-screw Mauretania and Lusitania). Olympic’s captain was even able to suddenly and deliberately steer into an enemy submarine, ramming and sinking it and thereby giving Olympic the distinction of being the only merchant ship to sink an enemy vessel during the First World War.

If you’d like to read the full book of101 Things You Thought You Knew About The Titanic…But Didn’t!, or any of my other books on Titanic, please visit my Author Page on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/tim-maltin/e/B005LNHYEQ/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_1

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