Triton Trivia

Jan 25, 2022 by Triton Staff

Do you know where the word “yacht” originated?

The term, yacht, originates from the Dutch word “jacht” (plural jachten) which means “hunt.”  It originally referred to light, fast sailing vessels that the Dutch Republic navy used to pursue pirates and other scoundrels around and into the shallow waters of the Low Countries. Pleasure vessels acquired the name yacht after England’s King Charles II, who visited the Netherlands during his exile in Europe, returned to Britain in one. By that time, jachten had already become well-developed among the Dutch as pleasure boats for the elite classes.


Where do the terms “starboard” and “port” come from?

In the early days of boating, before ships had rudders on their centerlines, boats were controlled using a steering oar. Most sailors were right handed, so the steering oar was placed over or through the right side of the stern. Sailors began calling the right side the steering side, which soon became “starboard” by combining two Old English words: stéor (meaning “steer”) and bord (meaning “the side of a boat”).

As the size of boats grew, so did the steering oar, making it much easier to tie a boat up to a dock on the side opposite the oar. This side became known as larboard, or “the loading side.” Over time, larboard—too easily confused with starboard—was replaced with port. After all, this was the side that faced the port, allowing supplies to be ported aboard by porters.

— National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration