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Titanic's Rudder Return to Diagram

Titanic's rudder was 78 feet 8 inches high and 15 feet 3 inches long and weighed over 100 tons. It required steering engines to move it. Two steam-powered steering engines were installed though only one was used at any one time, with the other one kept in reserve. They were connected to the short tiller through stiff springs to isolate the steering engines from any shocks in heavy seas or during fast changes of direction. In the event of complete steering engine failure, the tiller could be moved by ropes connected to two steam capstans. Capstans were used to raise and lower the ship's five anchors (one port, one starboard, one in the center and two kedging anchors).

Modern cruise ships don't have rudders which have provided much better helm (steering) control and no need for tugboats to assist with docking. They have azimuth engines (thrusters) in the bow and the stern that turn the entire propeller unit left, right, up, or down. This allows the ship to literally parallel park against a dock.


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