Through the 19th and 20th centuries, recreational sailing spread throughout the world. Before that, sailing boats had been used for transportation, fishing, commerce, or as warships, for as long as we can trace the history of people living near water.
Ancient Egyptians buried model sailing boats like this with their kings, to provide transport for their souls.
Throughout history, sail and hull designs have varied according to coastal conditions and the availability of local materials. A simple square sail rigged before the mast is probably the earliest design, and is found in ancient records from the Mediterranean, the Aegean, the Red Sea, and the Persian Gulf. We know that Roman galleys, powered chiefly by oars, carried square sails for auxiliary power and speed. The Viking ships of the 8th and 9th centuries were square rigged, as were the great three-masted exploration ships of the 15 th and 16th centuries. Square sails must be rigged so that the wind blows into only one side of the sail, and they function best when sailing downwind.
The triangular lateen sail, which is set on a yard but rigged fore and aft behind the mast, has greater flexibility. This type of sail can swing from side to side depending on the direction of the wind and how
the sail is trimmed. This design makes it possible to sail more or less against the wind, as well as before it. The lateen sail was used on early Arab dhows and Polynesian outrigger canoes long before it became common on European and North American boats. The great ocean traders of the 17 th and 18th centuries made use of a combination of square and lateen sails.
A variation on these two designs is the lugsail—a four-sided sail that is bent on to a yard but rigged fore and aft. The Chinese junk rig uses a lugsail with multiple battens; about a fifth of the sail is set forward of the mast and complex sheeting allows almost infinite adjustment of the sail.
The Bermudan rig is (see Rig designs, pp.46—47) an altogether newer sail shape. This is a triangular sail, set with the luff attached directly to a tall mast. It is the most common sail shape on modern yachts, though by no means the only one. Variations on all the traditional sail shapes are still in use all over the world.
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Lets start by identifying what exactly certain boats are. Sometimes the terminology can get lost on beginners, so well look at some of the most common boats and what theyre called. These boats are exactly what the name implies. They are meant to be used for fishing. Most fishing boats are powered by outboard motors, and many also have a trolling motor mounted on the bow. Bass boats can be made of aluminium or fibreglass.