View Full Version : Nautical history / language question : pre-gunpowder

10-11-2017, 05:47 PM
Hi, can anyone help with this please – I’m trying to establish what the gunwales of a ship were called before there were guns, and drawing a blank. The best I can find is “strakes” but I’m not sure that’s quite the same thing.

Anyone know please?

10-11-2017, 06:07 PM
You're right to shy away from "gunwale" when talking about pre-gunpowder ships. "Strakes" is a correct term, but could apply to any continuous level of planking running from stem to stern on a ship's hull.
All I can suggest is that you use something like "topmost strake" or, even, "rail" or make it clear from the context that you're talking about the uppermost edge of the hull.

10-11-2017, 07:13 PM
From Old English (per Webster's 2nd College Ed.): bulwark; 4. [usually pl.] the extension of a ship's side above the deck.

10-11-2017, 08:28 PM
Ah, bulwark sounds good - thanks!