Port vs. Starboard

There does seem to have been an idea that the starboard side of the ship was the more "honourable" side - senior officers of warships boarded on the starboard side at quite an early date and when a warship was at anchor the starboard side of the quarter deck was reserved for the most senior officer (the "senior" side became the windward side when at sea, of course)

It may just be that the vessel with the wind on the "senior," starboard, side was awarded the right of way over a vessel with the wind on the larboard side.

 

Greever

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Wow, this is some interesting stuff!

I thought the Vikings put the rudder on Starboard, and called it the "gharboard" which is where we got "Starboard" from?

 
Sounds very probable.

Here's another explanation, from the (British) National Maritime Museum website, which does not cover Old Norse but does cover Anglo-Saxon:

Starboard: Boats developed from simple dugout canoes. When the paddler steering a canoe is right handed (and the majority of people are right-handed), he or she naturally steers over the right-hand side (looking forward) of the boat. As canoes developed into larger vessels, the steering paddle grew larger and developed into a broad-bladed oar, held vertically in the water and permanently fixed to the side of the boat by a flexible lashing or a built-in moveable swivel.

 

The seagoing ships of maritime Northern Europe all featured this side-hung rudder, always on the right hand side of the ship. This rudder (in Anglo-Saxon the steorbord) was further developed in medieval times into the more familiar apparatus fixed to the sternpost, but starboard remains in the language to describe anything to the right of a ship’s centreline when viewed from aft.

 

Port: If starboard is the right-hand side of the vessel, looking forward from aft, the left-hand side is port – at least, it is now! In Old English, the term was bæcbord (in modern German Backbord and French bâbord), perhaps because the helmsman at the steorbord had his back to the ship’s left-hand side. This did not survive into Medieval and later English, when larboard was used. Possibly this term is derived from laddebord, meaning ‘loading side’; the side rudder (steorbord) would be vulnerable to damage if it went alongside a quay, so early ships would have been loaded (‘laded’) with the side against the quay. In time laddebord became larboard as steorbord became starboard. Even so, from an early date port was sometimes used as the opposite for starboard when giving steering orders, perhaps deriving from the loading port which was in the larboard side. However, it was only from the mid-19th century that, according to Admiral Smyth’s The Sailor’s Word Book, published in 1867, ‘the left side of the ship is called port, by Admiralty Order, in preference to larboard, as less mistakeable in sound for starboard’.

 

Greever

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There was a show on the History Channell about people replicating old Viking designs. That's where I heard the term "Gharboard" from. Not sure if I'm spelling it right either.

 

Mash

Member
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Lyon - Fr
Always amusing, and sometimes even dramatical to see that even on most basic terminologies there is still no worldwide commonality. Where in the Anglosaxon world you speak about port/starboard TACK, relating to the wind , in many (if not most) countries on the old continent the same rules are explained from the point of view of the location of the boom, which is of course the opposite. In my own language when I'm the stand on sailor it means I'm on portside (my boom is ...), we call it the portside rule.
I'm a little bit puzzled by this one. I mean I'm french (and a newbie, yup, sue me :p ), and I don't really get the point.

Say you're aft of the boat, looking forward (at the helm for instance), and the wind is coming from the right (starboard) side. In french you'd be "tribord amure", hence what I would have called on starboard tack (and would have the right of way), with the *wind* as reference, and certainly not the boom.

Now, I may have missed your point entierly, and got it all wrong. Wouldn't be the first time, and sadly, not the last.

M - but for once, it seems to me we do it just like the brits (yea, I know, can't believe it myself neither) ;)

 

Albatros

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I'm a little bit puzzled by this one. I mean I'm french (and a newbie, yup, sue me :p ), and I don't really get the point.
Say you're aft of the boat, looking forward (at the helm for instance), and the wind is coming from the right (starboard) side. In french you'd be "tribord amure", hence what I would have called on starboard tack (and would have the right of way), with the *wind* as reference, and certainly not the boom.

Now, I may have missed your point entierly, and got it all wrong. Wouldn't be the first time, and sadly, not the last.

M - but for once, it seems to me we do it just like the brits (yea, I know, can't believe it myself neither) ;)
Wouldn't be the first time either when it would be me having it all wrong, what with my initials not being D.T. :rolleyes: (if that is too cryptic for you, look for the galley thread)

got my first sailing lessons in french lingo and remember with certainty at that moment rules were told to us according to the boom, HOWEVER ... when you say quatre-vingts-dix we simply say nonante, and when you say soixante-dix we say septante ... so it would not be the first time that just crossing your northern border makes for this difference. I always assumed that my french speaking compatriots took their inspiration from the french so that is why I assumed that if it was told to us that way (long ago, 70's) it was same in France, if it's not , my error, so sue me too , c'est la vie ;)

in the situation you describe, in flemish we say that we are on "bakboord" (if you look at M'gates explanation a bit higher up you will see a very similar word in German). if I'm stand on and I'm on starboard tack my boom is over portside and I'll be yelling BAKBOORD to the other guy, what would you yell ? probably TRIBORD, no ? if that assumption is correct, there can be some instant confusion.

there was something that M'gate mentioned in an earlier answer that already set me to thinking if something was wrong in what I mentioned, when he said something about racing rules being changed in 1972, the little incident I was describing must have been around that same time, so maybe I'm talking of too old times and things have changed and I don't even know ... must be getting old.

as for being a newbie, no big deal, just post a pic of wiggling tits and you'll be just fine :lol:

 

boomer

Super Anarchist
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Sounds very probable.
Here's another explanation, from the (British) National Maritime Museum website, which does not cover Old Norse but does cover Anglo-Saxon:

Starboard: Boats developed from simple dugout canoes. When the paddler steering a canoe is right handed (and the majority of people are right-handed), he or she naturally steers over the right-hand side (looking forward) of the boat. As canoes developed into larger vessels, the steering paddle grew larger and developed into a broad-bladed oar, held vertically in the water and permanently fixed to the side of the boat by a flexible lashing or a built-in moveable swivel.

 

The seagoing ships of maritime Northern Europe all featured this side-hung rudder, always on the right hand side of the ship. This rudder (in Anglo-Saxon the steorbord) was further developed in medieval times into the more familiar apparatus fixed to the sternpost, but starboard remains in the language to describe anything to the right of a ship’s centreline when viewed from aft.

 

Port: If starboard is the right-hand side of the vessel, looking forward from aft, the left-hand side is port – at least, it is now! In Old English, the term was bæcbord (in modern German Backbord and French bâbord), perhaps because the helmsman at the steorbord had his back to the ship’s left-hand side. This did not survive into Medieval and later English, when larboard was used. Possibly this term is derived from laddebord, meaning ‘loading side’; the side rudder (steorbord) would be vulnerable to damage if it went alongside a quay, so early ships would have been loaded (‘laded’) with the side against the quay. In time laddebord became larboard as steorbord became starboard. Even so, from an early date port was sometimes used as the opposite for starboard when giving steering orders, perhaps deriving from the loading port which was in the larboard side. However, it was only from the mid-19th century that, according to Admiral Smyth’s The Sailor’s Word Book, published in 1867, ‘the left side of the ship is called port, by Admiralty Order, in preference to larboard, as less mistakeable in sound for starboard’.

Read this more then a few times in different books....

also,that someone high in the Admiralty, choose port to replace larboard because of the red color of port wine

 
Could well be. Merchant ships almost always berth "port side to", but that is to do with their right hand single propeller; it ensures that the stern kicks in when the engine is put to astern to take way off. I don't know whether merchant ships customarily berthed port side to in the days of sail. If they did, it would make sense for the larboard side to be called the port side and, once coloured lights had come into use in the 1840's, it made very good sense for the larboard (red) side to be re-christened the port (red as in wine) side!

 

Mash

Member
236
18
Lyon - Fr
in the situation you describe, in flemish we say that we are on "bakboord" (if you look at M'gates explanation a bit higher up you will see a very similar word in German). if I'm stand on and I'm on starboard tack my boom is over portside and I'll be yelling BAKBOORD to the other guy, what would you yell ? probably TRIBORD, no ? if that assumption is correct, there can be some instant confusion.
Indeed, and I now see where the confusion would lay. As you correctly guessed/witnessed we would probably blink stupidly if hit by a "bakboord/babord" call, 'cause we do yell "tribord /starboard" in such a situation, the saxon way :lol:

as for being a newbie, no big deal, just post a pic of wiggling tits and you'll be just fine :lol:
As long as they don't need to be mine.... wrong gender to be worth it, yadda, yadda..

M - and good luck with the elections thing, neighbour :)

 
There is no longer any special rule for sailing vessels in restricted visibility; a radar set does not tell you how the target is being propelled, so the sound signals were altered to "U" for sailing vessels, along with vessels not under command, etc.
Oh Dear...... actually its one long blast followed by two short.. ( I received a severe and memorable bollocking 45 years ago for suggesting that there was 'morse' anything in the rules.........)

'U' ... two short blasts followed by a long is used by oil and gas production platforms as a fog signal... U are standing into danger....... shown on charts as Mo'U' or at least it was when I still had the day job......

Sorry couldn't let it pass... had to mention it... etc..

Salud

Cisco

Rule 35 Sound Signals in restricted Visibility:

In or near an area of restricted visibility, whether by day or night, the signals prescribed in this Rule shall be used as follows:

( A ) A power-driven vessel making way through the water shall sound at intervals of not more than 2 minutes one prolonged blast.

( B ) A power-driven vessel under way but stopped and making no way through the water shall sound at intervals of not more than 2 minutes two prolonged blasts in succession with an interval of about 2 seconds between them.

( C ) A vessel not under command, a vessel restricted in her ability to manoeuvre, a vessel constrained by her draught, a sailing vessel, a vessel engaged in fishing and a vessel engaged in towing or pushing another vessel shall, instead of the signals prescribed in paragraphs ( A ) or ( B ) of this Rule, sound at intervals of not more than 2 minutes three blasts in succession, namely one prolonged followed by two short blasts.

 
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I found myself watching a television programme about a replica Viking ship making a voyage from Denmark, via Norway, to Dublin. Their "steerboard" was much as in your picture, above, but rather deeper and squarer in section, somewhat like a modern fin keel boat's rudder (this was a full size replica, with a crew of 61). They discovered that the weak point in their ship was the steerboard to hull connection, which somewhat inconveniently failed in a gale.

 
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savoir

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Is this the boat you mean ?

Sea_Stallion.xml

The battle vessels were faster and had a deeper more streamlined steerboard than everyday longboats. For 3D details of construction of all parts of this boat take a look at

www.stigombord.dk

 

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marcel

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So, here is a completely different explanation for the rules, which I read somewher a few years ago (I just did a quick search on the internet, but I couldn't find it anywhere)

In the North sea trhe wind is usually sout west. This means that a ship in a dutch or belgium port (2 of the major seafaring nations in the days of the sailing merchat ships) would be on a port tack when leving port, and on a starboard tack when entering port.

So, what I heard was that they wanted to give ships entering the port right of way over ships leaving port which was achieved by the starboard/port rule in most situations with a south, southwest or west wind.

 

Albatros

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So, here is a completely different explanation for the rules, which I read somewher a few years ago (I just did a quick search on the internet, but I couldn't find it anywhere)
In the North sea trhe wind is usually sout west. This means that a ship in a dutch or belgium port (2 of the major seafaring nations in the days of the sailing merchat ships) would be on a port tack when leving port, and on a starboard tack when entering port.

So, what I heard was that they wanted to give ships entering the port right of way over ships leaving port which was achieved by the starboard/port rule in most situations with a south, southwest or west wind.
interesting as an idea, and it's true that half of the time the wind is coming from west to southwest ... the other half of the time, how would they have managed ? ;)

 

shaggy

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I was always told that you drink port wine with your left hand........... Never your right unless you are uncivilized.......... Hence Port = Left.

Pinkies up....

Shag

 


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