Steering Error Sank the Titanic?

Author Claims Steering Error Sank the Titanic


Titanic was launched at a time when the world was moving from sailing ships to steam ships. My grandfather, like the other senior officers on Titanic, had started out on sailing ships. And on sailing ships, they steered by what is known as ’tiller orders’ which means that if you want to go one way, you push the tiller the other way.

It sounds counterintuitive now, but that is what tiller orders were. Whereas with ‘rudder orders,’ which is what steam ships used, it is like driving a car. You steer the way you want to go. It gets more confusing because, even though Titanic was a steam ship, at that time on the North Atlantic they were still using tiller orders. Therefore Murdoch gave the command in tiller orders, but Hitchins, in a panic, reverted to the rudder orders he had been trained in. They only had four minutes to change course and by the time Murdoch spotted Hitchins’s mistake and then tried to rectify it, it was too late.

Comment: Interesting

1 comment:

  1. Interesting, but would it explain the long, glancing blow suffered by the ship? Also, would the steersman have even had a chance to panic? In many ships, the actual steering is done by guys working below the waterline, if I remember correctly. Turning the wheel on deck doesn't directly actuate the rudder.


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