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Posted by on Feb 24, 2021 in TellMeWhy |

What Is a Sailing Vessel?

What Is a Sailing Vessel?

A sailing vessel is a ship powered by the wind, using sails. The earliest sailing ships were reed craft used in Mesopotamia circa 5000 BC, and 2000 years later, wooden sailing craft, with square sails hung on wooden masts, was sailing on the River Nile in Egypt.

The Egyptians developed sails that could be turned, allowing the boat to steer and sail in winds that came from the side; they and the Phoenicians used such boats to explore the Mediterranean and much of the coastline of Africa.

The next significant development was the triangular sail, invented by the Arabs during the 3rd century AD—this allowed the boat to be sailed as close as 45 degrees to an oncoming wind.

By the 15th century, European ships with two or three masts were traveling worldwide, fitted with mixtures of square and triangular sails, which made them very versatile.

The fastest and largest sailing vessels were the 19th-century clippers (so-called because they clipped time off existing journeys) which were over 60 m (197 ft) long and could carry vast amounts of sail to supply power even in the lightest breeze.

The fastest of them all was the American Sovereign of the Seas, which in 1853 crossed the Atlantic in under 14 days and went from Melbourne (Australia) to London in just 68 days.

Speeds of up to 40 km/h (25 mph) were recorded for these clippers, but they were always at the mercy of the wind and could not compete with the reliability of steamships, even though the early steamers were often much slower. Most probably we do now know about the question asked above about the vessel or exactly what is a sailing vessel?

Content for this question contributed by Russell Olson, resident of El Cajon, San Diego County, California, USA