Rudder

Dec 2, 2000
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Exactly.

Titanic research and history is loaded with red herrings like that. Titanic was plenty seaworthy enough and IMO, far better designed and better balanced then a lot of what went on the North Atlantic befor or even since. I daresay that safety was hardly a secondary consideration considering that she was designed to exceed contemporary standards and had plenty of margin for growth in that regard.

The one thing she wasn't proofed against was human error.

But then, nothing is.
 

Bob Read

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Mar 3, 2002
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Here's another thought. If another rudder design was absolutely necessary for safety, why didn't they change Olympic's rudder during the next 23 years or Britannic's
while she was being built?

Regards,
Bob Read
 
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Dec 2, 2000
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Probably because the rudder was plenty adaquate and they knew it at the time. Why then go to the expense of designing and forging another when what you have is good enough for the job?

Besides, now that I think of it, weren't questions about the rudder a fairly recent thing? I'm not through reading the inquiries, but I don't recall the question coming up even once. (Though I may have missed it.)
 
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Stephen Stanger

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You're right on the infancy of the subject.
Is just funny that there always has to be another reason for the disaster and we'll never really be able to say "OK THIS is what happened and why".
 
Aug 10, 2002
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Somewhere, and I couldn't tell you where it was. I read the question about the size of the rudder, so I did some research on the subject and posted what I found. As I recall my conclusion was that the rudder might have been marginally too small, but what with everything else that went on at that time, ie. engine maneuvers it probably didn't matter.
This was not a subject that I recall either hearing dealing with therefore was not sighted as a contributory factor so WSL obviously decided not to alter the Olympic in that fashion. I doubt that they were out to spend any money they didn't absolutely have to.
I believe that ultimately the mass of knowledge about the Titanic will be made up of answers to small questions like this.
Regards,
Charlie Weeks
 

Kevin Tischer

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Dec 24, 2011
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I know they didn't have computers to help turn ships back then so how did the wheel turn the actual ship? I heard it was quite hard for the helmsman to turn the wheel hard over.
 
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Dec 2, 2000
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The helmsman wouldn't have done it directly. The wheel would have sent commands to the steering engine by way of the telemotor. Turning the wheel was hardly the problem. Getting the ship to respond to the commands sent to the rudder, that was the problem!
 

A. Gabriel

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Jun 13, 2018
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Quoth the above post: "The total weight of the rudder is 101-1/4 tons, while its length over all is 78 feet eight inches and its width fifteen feet three inches. The diameter of the rudderstock is 23-1/2 feet.’

Unenlightened as I am, how can the rudderstock's diameter be larger than the rudder's width when the photos of the Olympic-class rudder show the hinged portion to be quite narrow in comparison to the blade? Is there something obvious which I am missing out on?
 

B-rad

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Jul 1, 2015
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The rudder stock is twenty-three and a half inches not twenty-three and a half feet, in diameter. So a half inch shy of two feet in diameter. Whooo, you got my brain going for a second. :eek:
 
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Mike Spooner

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Jan 31, 2018
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Interesting discussion between semi-balanced and unbalanced rudders. As I understand the Titanic rudder was rather out of date in designed. As the British Government gave Cunard a very low interested loan of over a period of twenty years to build the two ships. The Admiralty had a strong say in want type of rudder and base on a war ship were movability plays an important part giving a better chance dodging against shell fire in war years. I would of thought a rudder all underwater must be better than one party hanging out of water. As I see cruise ships to day are all under water. What type I don't know? I can see trying to keep the rudder in a straight line to prevent drag. However can see to assist a ship in a straight line by adjusting the propeller speed one turning fasting than the other one. If that is the case Lusitania and Mauritania have advantage's with four screws against three screws! As what type of power Lusitania and Mauritania used to move the rudder I don't know? As hydraulic power is used to day on large ships a considerably improvement over a gearbox and a steam engine. O though I thought what is used on the SS Shieldhall ship steam power rudder work very well, was far simpler than the cumbersome clumsy system as used on the Titanic. The Titanic rudder may of been the right size, but Olympic on her maiden crossing in New York had a difficult time in docking. Finger was pointing at the rudder not been big enough for docking purposes?
 

A. Gabriel

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Jun 13, 2018
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It gets worse, re modern cruise ships: some of them have no rudder entirely due to having azimuth thrusters. This was the planned design for Clive Palmer's Titanic II: the rudder would've been merely cosmetic due to the use of azimuth thrusters instead of the original propulsion mechanism.
 
Mar 18, 2008
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No. Quartermaster Hichens and Captain Smith stated how well the ships (Olympic & Titanic) react. If it was to small or slow to turn the ships would have not pass the sea trials and the test by the Board of Trade. Olympic's rudder remained the same during her career.
 

Jim Dewar

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Dec 14, 2018
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Perhaps it's just me and my awesome lack of ship engineering, but.......does it not appear to anyone else that Titanic's rudder was very small when compared to the size of the ship??
 

Mike Spooner

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Jan 31, 2018
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The Olympic class ship may of had rather dated rudder design but for a liner a fast moving rudder was not required. As Robert Hichens the last man to steer the Titanic remarked in the inquiry wasn't that in pressed with the movability of the ship. If a larger rudder was fitted the engineering side of it would require beefing up the metal work with a larger steam engine to move the rudder.
The real issue if the officers and Smith had followed out the correct procedures like having a lookout at the bow of the ship and had slow down the ship with officer reporting of weather change like mist or haze. All chances the iceberg contact would of never happened in the first place! As for Captain Stanley Lord of Californian did like wise!
 
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SmileyGirl

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I’m sure I just read (it could have been Sea of Glass) that Titanic’s rudder was only marginally smaller than ships of today and this would not have been to blame. Olympics was not changed.