RMS Campania Construction and Launch - Part IV

The page covers the following topics on the Construction and Launch of the Cunard Campania: Steering Gear, Rudder, Search Light, Light Tower, Passenger Accomodation (Overview)

Steering Gear

The Steering Gear is one of the most important items in the navigating appliances of the ship. All the gear is below water line, a condition insisted upon by the Admiralty for vessels which, as in this case, is designed to act as an armed cruiser in time of war. To afford some idea of the strength and solidity of the construction of the steering gear, it may be mentioned that it weighs 45 tons, the bulk of it being forged and cast steel.

The Rudder

Windlass Capstans, etc.

Windlass Capstans, etc.

The RUDDER, as has been already noted, is of large area, being 12 feet broad and 20 feet deep, and, with the assistance of twin engines working in opposite directions, may turn the vessel in her own length. The necessity of a large and powerful rudder will be appreciated when the great speed is recalled, but in this case has been fully met, and the vessel will veer from her course almost the moment the captain gives the word of command to the man at the telemotor on the bridge.

The general arrangement of the navigating and other auxiliary machinery on deck is extremely compact, more especially on the forecastle, where the stress from the seas continually breaking over the ship would render any complicated erections a source of trouble, if not of danger.

Anchor Chain

Anchor Chain

Everything, too, is of the strongest make. The mechanism is all under deck, so that only very strong structures are visible -- the two 5-ton hoods of the windlass, the warping capstans, the well battened down hatches over the fore hatchways, the cowls of ventilators, and two heavy break-waters, formed of angles and plates, the latter bent toward the bow the better to resist the sea, for the forecastle has only the ordinary galvanised rail

Everything connected with the windlass is of a massive character, necessitating special strengthening of the deck where it is fixed. The power required will be appreciated when we state that the cable is 3 inches in diameter, while the anchors are 10 tons in weight, and the heaviest yet made.


A most serviceable navigating appliance is the searchlight, which is now becoming a usual adjunct in our larger steamers. In this case a departure has been made from the ordinary practice in Atlantic vessels when the searchlight is fixed. The system adopted specially in the Suez Canal has been followed. The search-light has a projector of 16 ins. in diameter, having a light equal to about 2000 candle-power.

The apparatus is carried in an iron cage, which also accommodates the operator, and it is made with a slot which fits into the stem of the ship, and thus guided is lowered down to the water's edge when the ship is nearing her anchorage. In this position the cage can be fixed temporarily to the stem by bolts, and the operator can flash the light along the surface of the water, lighting the whole area for a great distance, so that it is easy in the darkest night to pick up buoys. The light being down at the water's edge, instead of on the bridge or main deck, insures that there will be no deep shadows between the rays and the water.

Light Tower

Light Tower

The light towers, which are strongly built of steel, are alongside the bridge (see illustration showing a view inside).

There are, of course, two -- one on the port the on one and an starboard side of the ship, and two lights to tower. The upper one is illuminated with electricity, while the lower light is fitted with oil in the usual way, to be a stand-by for use should the electric current fail. The mast-head light is also illuminated by electricity, the wire running free on block and tackle.


The general plan of the arrangements is to accommodate the first-class passengers in the centre of the vessel, the finest state-rooms being on the promenade and upper decks. The ordinary state-rooms are mostly on the upper and main decks, with a few on the lower deck, and all the first-class accommodation is forward of the engines.

The second class passengers are located on the same decks aft of the engines, with the broad expanse of poop for promenade, whilst the third class passengers are accommodated on the lower decks.

Vista of Promenade Deck

Vista of Promenade Deck

The great size of the ship admits of many concessions to passengers, the rooms being, in many cases, of unusual size, particularly as regards height of ceiling, while one berth as well as two berth rooms have been introduced.

The promenade space, too, is ample, and in all cases is TOWER. sheltered. There is a great stretch of clear deck on either side of the ship, so that by a circuit of the ship four times the passenger traverses one mile, and yet scarcely appreciates the fact. The uneven line of the deck houses, too, affords several spaces suitable for deck seats, where the passengers will be sheltered from the breeze. None of the space on the promenade deck is required for navigation, the officers having the shade deck and bridge, where they are not interrupted in their work.

The Grand Stairway

The Grand Stairway

The Grand Stairway leads nut only to the principal public rooms in the ship, but to most of the best state rooms. ,It opens from the promenade deck, and has a curved roof with a large roof-light. The staircase is richly panelled in teak and polished, the upper part being enriched with gold Japanese paper.

The stairs have wide treads with a small rise, and there is a centre hand-rail in addition to the usual side railings, so that when the ship suddenly lurches a passenger will have a better opportunity of readily finding a support. This is essential (although not always provided) with stairs sufficiently wide for four or six passengers to ascend or descend abreast.

On the extensive landings on both promenade and upper decks, lounges have been provided, suggested by the preference of these places as rendevous.

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