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Port and starboard

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Fight on Isla de Muerta 17
"It's not a bad look, really. Eh?"
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"The Pearl's gonna luff up on our port quarter! She'll rake us without ever presenting a target."
"Lower the anchor on the right side. On the starboard side!
"
Joshamee Gibbs and Elizabeth Swann[src]

The words port and starboard are nautical terms which refer to the left and right sides, respectively, of a ship as perceived by a person on board facing the bow, or front of the vessel.

History

"Heading, Captain?"
"Two degrees starboard—"
"I'm captain of the starboard side! Two degrees starboard. The captain will now take the helm.
"
Joshamee Gibbs, Jack Sparrow and Hector Barbossa[src]

Prior to the battle with the Black Pearl, Elizabeth Swann proposed to drop the Interceptor's anchor on the starboard side, which Will Turner thought gave an element of surprise.[1] Having reunited in Davy Jones' Locker, Jack Sparrow and Hector Barbossa competed for captaincy aboard the Black Pearl, until it was settled that Barbossa was captain of the starboard side and Jack was captain of the port side. However, after Jack and Barbossa both ordered a heading on the starboard side, they both struggled for the ship's wheel.[2]

Starboard (right)

"Hard to starboard! Send his beloved Pearl back to the depths."
Davy Jones[src]

The word starboard comes from Old English steorbord, literally meaning the side on which the ship is steered, descendant from the Old Norse words stýri meaning "rudder" (from the verb stýra, literally "being at the helm", "having a hand in") and borð meaning etymologically "board", then the "side of a ship".

Port (left)

"Hard to port!"
Bo'sun[src]

An early version of "port" is larboard, which itself derives from Middle-English ladebord via corruption in the 16th century by association with starboard. The term larboard, when shouted in the wind, was presumably too easy to confuse with starboard and so the word port came to replace it. Port is derived from the practice of sailors mooring ships on the left side at ports in order to prevent the steering oar from being crushed.

Appearances

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Notes and references

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