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    Rudder commands
    From: Paul Hirose
    Date: 2019 Jun 11, 22:06 -0700

    On 2019-06-11 15:46, David C wrote:
     > Though it is expected that little difficulty will be experienced in
    changing over from the ‘indirect’ system to the ‘direct’ system, for a
    time the orders will be given in the words “wheel to Starboard” and
    “Wheel to Port” thus enabling the helmsman to adapt himself gradually to
    the new system.
    The U.S. Navy chose to quit the old system "cold turkey" in 1913:
    "On and after July 1, 1913, the present designations 'starboard' and
    'port' governing movements of a ship's helm are hereby ordered
    discontinued in orders or directions to the steersman, and the terms
    'right' and 'left' referring to movement of the ship's head, shall
    thereafter be used instead."
    The next year, General Order No. 98 went further and prohibited the word
    "helm" in steering commands:
    "The term 'helm' shall not be used in any command or directions
    connected with the operation of the rudder; in lieu thereof the term
    'rudder' shall be used--standard rudder, half rudder, etc."
    In 1915 that was replaced by General Order No. 154, "orders to the wheel
    and engine telegraphs"
    In "Modern Seamanship" (1921) Knight mentions the changes:
    The 1990s movie "Titanic" accurately depicts the old fashioned verbal
    command to the quartermaster and his rotation of the wheel in the
    opposite direction. So does the 1958 film "A Night to Remember."
    However, most people probably think the apparent contradictions are
    flubs. To further confuse matters, the explanation in the IMDB
    "Incorrectly regarded as goofs" section is wrong:
    "When the ship is bearing down on the iceberg, the officer orders the
    helmsman to put the helm hard to starboard and later hard to port. In
    each case the helmsman appears to do exactly the opposite. However,
    prior to the advent and mass popularity of the automobile, a ship's
    wheel was rigged such that to turn the ship left (port), the wheel was
    turned clockwise (or as we would consider it, to the right). It was only
    after a generation of drivers had grown up driving cars that the
    shipping industry began rigging their wheels to conform."
    (about 70% of the way down the page)
    In reality, the only "backward" thing by modern standards was the verbal
    command. Ships of that era responded to the wheel like a modern
    automobile. That's clear if you examine old seamanship books. For example,
    "But in all cases the principle is the same; and wherever the tiller, or
    other appliance, may be fitted, when the order 'port the helm!' is
    given, it means that the ship's course is to be altered to starboard,
    and vice versa.
    "As a general rule, the wheel, the rudder, and the ship's head move in
    the same direction. Some attempts have been made lately to alter this
    arrangement, but without success, as there seems to be no good reason
    why the old order should be altered."
    ("A Manual of Elementary Seamanship," David Wilson-Barker, 1909)
    And also,
    "Starboard the helm — A man standing the starboard side of the wheel
    turns the wheel from him; if standing the port side he hauls it towards
    him, the tiller to starboard, and the rudder to port: it causes a ship's
    head (supposing her to have headway) to pay off to port."
    "The Boy's Manual of Seamanship and Gunnery: Compiled for the Use of the
    Training Ships of the Royal Navy," Commander C. Burney, 1867

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