History Of Sailing

With two thirds of the earth’s surface covered by water, it is no surprise to see majority of people on this planet living near the sea coast. For hundreds of years, wind was the only main energy source helping man to cover long distances over seas, as these distances proved to be too tough to overcome by using muscle power and paddles only. The main purpose of this article is to investigate the history of sailing.

Looking back in the sailing history let us start with the most primitive vessels, which were little more than trees with a piece of cloth tied on top. With building of more sophisticated boats and advancements, sailors improved their skills in navigation rapidly. As man was endowed with the ability to seek freedom and adventures, using his inquisitive mind and tools, he soon began to explore the world around him. He wanted to see the horizon limits and the world was not enough for him. The origin of sailing can be traced back to our ancestors, for whom, the sea had always been an ultimate part of their lives. It seems the strife to go and explore the seas is more or less genetically encoded in us.

Ships and vessels are the oldest means of transport, looking at the history of sailing. The first ship remnants dating back to 2900 BC are a testimony to this. The Egyptians built big ships with at least 40 oars and the mast was distinctively designed to support the big sail. Some suitable innovations turned these ships into war-ships. The sailing history reveals that it has played a major role in the development of civilization. The man had not only greater mobility and capacity for fishing, but also made progress in trade and warfare.

It was in the late 5th millennium BC that the earliest illustration of a ship under sail on a painted disc found in Kuwait. From the Middle Ages onward, major advances were seen in sailing technology. As per the history of sailing, these facilitates the Arab, Chinese, Indian and European explorers to make longer voyages deep into seas with rough weather and extreme climatic conditions. There were some major improvements in sails, masts and rigging. The navigation equipment too showed a significant improvement. Looking back in the origin of sailing, it is seen that it has contributed to many great explorations in the world.

The industrial revolution saw new materials for the building the sailing vessels. The rising new demands and opportunities led to advancement in new modern designs and developments. In the 16th and 17th century of the sailing history, a new trend seemed to emerge - sailing for pleasure rather than transportation, exploration or warfare. The first half of the 20th century experienced the peak age of yachting as a luxury sport for affluent people. Today more and more people are discovering their passion for Sailing. Sailing enthusiasts from all over the world get involved with the sport on any level of interest. There are countless sailing schools operating across the globe. Sailing has never been more popular than it is today – and the sailing schools seem to have a bright future!


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