Sailing Ships


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One of the prettiest things to see is an old sailing ship with all her sails spread. Newer monohulls may be sturdy, but nothing can beat a catamaran or old wooden sailing ship for looks.

The term "sailing ship" is most often used to describe any large marine vessel that uses sails to harness the power of wind. There are many different types of sailing ships, but they all have certain basic things in common. Every sailing ship has a hull, rigging and at least one mast to hold up the sails that use the wind to power the ship. Ocean journeys by sailing ship can take many months, and a common hazard is becoming becalmed because of lack of wind, or being blown off course by severe storms or winds that do not allow progress in the desired direction. A severe storm could lead to shipwreck, and the loss of all hands.

Sailing ships are limited in their maximum size compared to ships with heat engines, so economies of scale are also limited. The heaviest sailing ships (limited to those vessels for which sails were the primary means of propulsion) never exceeded 14,000 tons displacement. Sailing ships are therefore also very limited in the supply capacity of their holds, so they have to plan long voyages carefully to include many stops to take on provisions and, in the days before watermakers, fresh water.

© 2018 by Nicolaus Baumbach. All Rights Reserved.