Titanic’s maneuver

Titanic maneuver

Diagram of Titanic’s course at the time of the collision with the iceberg. (Blue: path of bow. Red: path of stern.)

First Officer William Murdoch is generally believed to have given the order “Hard astarboard” which would result in the ship’s tiller being moved all the way to starboard (the right side of the ship) in an attempt to turn the ship to port (left). This “reversal” of directions was common in British ships of the era.

Murdoch also ordered to set the engines into reverse. But it was a mistake: the center turbine could not be reversed, both it and the center propeller which positioned directly in front of the ship’s rudder, were stopped. This reduced the rudder’s effectiveness, therefore impairing the turning ability of the ship.

Had Murdoch turned the ship while maintaining her forward speed, Titanic might have missed the iceberg.

Image source: Wikipedia

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