If you came across the rudder of a Viking ship,
you would be surprised that such a small rudder could steer a ship
with any degree of effectiveness.
Modern rudders are much larger and that’s just the beginning of
the differences between old and new !
The rudder of a Viking ship is beside the hull, extends below it,
and is the lowest part of the ship.
Modern rudders are placed behind the stern and are not the deepest part of the ship,
yet Viking rudders were just as effective, or more.
The rudder was fastened to the ship in two places,
at a wooden ball just above the waterline and at the gangway.
The wooden ball has a rope through it that holds the rudder and
yet still allows it to turn.
At the gangway, it is held fast by a wide leather band.
The band can be loosened so that the rudder can be overturned in the direction of the ship.
This reduces the draught of the ship so that the ship could be sailed in water
as little as one meter deep.
What modern sailing ship of a similar size can do that ?
The Vikings have taught modern sailors a lot about ship construction and navigation,
and they have even contributed to modern ship nomenclature.
The rudder of a Viking ship is on the right side. The left side of the ship is moored so that the rudder is kept in deeper water, and so the left side is still called the port side ( at least in English ), and the right side is called the starboard side.