3. This Weird Ship’s Design Defects Were Matched by Terrible Manufacturing Defects
The bizarre circular hull of the Novgorod played havoc with the rudder’s ability to steer the ship or turn it around. In a storm, she was unsteerable, and even in calm weather, it took 45 minutes for the ship to make a full circle. On top of that, in rough seas the wide flat bottom made the vessel susceptible to pitching so severe that the propellers came out of the water. The blunt hull did not slice through water so as to reduce its resistance, but pushed large volumes of water out of the way by sheer brute force.
The preceding made the ship very fuel-inefficient, and caused it to consume coal at a prodigious rate. In addition to design defects, the Novgorod was plagued with sundry manufacturing defects. Low quality materials and poor workmanship led to persistent recurring problems with the ship’s propulsion, from blades to shaft to drive, that lasted for the vessel’s entire career. Additionally, she suffered from poor ventilation that no amount of troubleshooting could fix, even after ventilation cowls were installed on the gun emplacements.