Saturday, September 26, 2009

The History of the Sailboat - The Earliest Sailing Ships

The history of the sailboat indicates that sailing vessels harnessed the power of the wind by utilizing sheets of cloth or fiber that were attached to a long pole of wood or metal called a mast. The sail dominated the world of boats until about the nineteenth century. Sailing vessels have been around for centuries and indicators of this came about from Ancient Egypt. There is evidence of sailing vessels on an ancient Egyptian vase from about 3500 BC. Early Egyptian vessels were made of wooden framework carved of papyrus reeds or wood held together with rope. Wood had to be exported for centuries from countries like or they lashed together small blocks of wood together and secured them with pegs. When placed in the water the wood swelled and created a water tight seal.

Smaller vessels harnessed the power of the wind with two sails as is discovered in the history of the sailboat. Large Egyptian sail boats captured the wind with a single square and were steered with two steering oars that were mounted on the stern.

Egyptians sometimes buried pharaohs with ships to transport them to the after life so it is told in the history of the sailboat. One such vessel was discovered in nineteen fifty-four. During excavation of the great pyramid of Giza. It was the ship of pharaoh khufu who is also known as Cheops around 2600 BC. It�s construction was wooden planks and timbers. It measured 38m or one hundred twenty-five feet long. Historians were able to learn a lot from this vessel about Egyptian shipbuilding techniques and it came to be know as the Cheop�s ship.

The history of the sailboat tells us that Phoenicians were very able shipbuilders of ancient times. Merchant vessels were constructed to be capable of carrying large cargoes between the colonies that rimmed the Mediterranean Sea such as Carthage in North Africa and Cadiz in Spain. Phoenician merchants built huts from sturdy wooden planks and partially covered them with a platform or deck that protected the crew from inclement weather and Ocean Spray. The merchant ships were designed which allowed them to sail beyond the Mediterranean sea to places such as The British Isles and the Canary Islands. This is of course just a bit of the history of the sailboat.

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