Photo © William Murphy , 11 May 2008

A unique feature of the Viking long ship was the fixed side rudder or steering oar. This oar was secured to the starboard (steering-board) side of the ship by means of a pivot chock. A tiller bar was inserted at right angles into the head of the steering-oar and was known as a athwart-ship tiller. The rudder was designed in such a way that it could be easily raised in shallow water, allowing the ship to be sailed up onto the beach. The rudder extended below the keel preventing the ship from drifting sideways and acting much like a modern day centreboard.

See Also

Medieval Shipping
History of Navigation

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