The term Starboard pre-dates the Portugese sailing the eastern coast of Africa, and comes from the Vikings originally. The idea that starboard has anything to do with stars in the sky is ludicrious... and only an idiot would think such a thing.
Besides, that reasoning fails as the boats headed south would have starboard on one side, and on their return trip, the side that was formerly starboard would now be port...so it is very unlikely, that if this implausible origin of the work was true, that it would have been associated with a specific side to the vessel. DUH... WAFM.
The origin of the term comes from old boating practices. Before ships had rudders on their centerline, they were steered by use of a specialized oar. This oar was held by a sailor located towards the stern (back) of the ship. However, like most of the rest of society, there were many more right-handed sailors than left-handed sailors. This meant that the right-handed sailors holding the steering oar (which had been broadened to provide better control) used to stand on the right side of the ship.
The word starboard comes from Old English steorbord, literally meaning the side on which the ship is steered. The old English term steorbord descends from the Old Norse words stýri meaning “rudder” and borđ meaning “side of a ship”. The modern term "steering wheel" comes from the same language root as "starboard" or "steer board".
Similarly, the term for the left side of the boat, port, is derived from the practice of sailors mooring on the left side (i.e., the larboard or loading side) as to prevent the steering boards from being crushed. Because the words larboard and starboard sounded too similar to be easily distinguished, larboard was changed to port.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.
—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)
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