The history of sailing started way back during the early forms of civilisation. Experts believe that learning how to sail was one of the instrumental skills that our ancestors had to learn to help push civilisation further. The mobility helped them in their progress.
The history of sailing
The earliest evidence of sailing dates back during 5000 to 5500 BCE. The evidence was found on a painted disc that has a representation of a ship. This archeological find was discovered in Kuwait. Apparently, Polynesians traveled huge distances over the oceans using canoes and stick charts for navigation purposes.
Throughout the history of sailing, various innovations have made it easier to do. There were sailing technologies from the Middles Ages that allowed the European, Indian, Chinese, and Arab explorers to cross the oceans to allow their respective cultures to interact with each other.
The developments in sailing allowed ancient civilisations to make longer voyages – making it possible to get to lands that they otherwise would not have reached. The improvements were primarily on rigging, masts, sails, and marine navigation. The early sailors used cross tree and charts of the sea and constellations to guide them as they travel across oceans. While there are technological advancements that make navigation easier, modern day sailors still make sure they can navigate using the stars above.
Most influential innovations in sailing history
As the vessels became more sophisticated over the history of sailing, explorations became more successful and longer. These are the most influential innovations that have shaped sailing over time.
First of all, you have the steering oars and rudders. Both of these help sailors steer the sailing boat across the oceans. As these became more sophisticated, it was now possible to build bigger vessels and make them travel longer distances. Soon, the stern-mounted rudders were built by the Chinese – something that was widely copied throughout the history of sailing.
The keel is also another innovation that made sailing easier and safer. The keel is the part of a boat that runs from the bow to the stern. We can thank the Norse men for this. This allowed a smoother sailing for everyone.
Obviously, sailing needed a method for navigation – the most effective was using the stars. This is a habit that is still used until today. Even if there is no light and no machinery, you will never get lost as long as you know how to read the stars. This practise is believed to have started 3000 years ago.
The triangular sail or lateen is another an innovation that made sailing easier now. This allowed sailing boats to use the sail for direction. It is not clear who started using it but the earliest record was with the Greeks. It is believed that the Persian and Arab sailors brought the idea to them.
Finally, the GPS and Internet has made sailing more modern. Throughout the history of sailing, technology has slowly integrated itself to make thing safer and easier. As technology continues to develop, much can be expected in sailing – specifically when it comes to improvements.