SAIL TRAINING:

A Movement Comes of Age

When prehistoric man learned to make and use tools and weapons he gained advantage over the animal kingdom and his weaker fellow man.

He also soon learned that advantage over rivers, lakes and the sea could be gained by the making of watercraft-rafts, hollowed logs and the like.

From there it wasn’t exactly a quantum leap to discover that another means of propulsion than his own muscles could permit larger watercraft to go greater distances.

That other means of propulsion was, of course, sail.

Apparently it took thousands of years to get from the dugout canoe to the sailing ship, but in retrospect it was worth the wait,

for it was the sailing vessel that opened up know ledge of the world and trade between its various parts.

Throughout history right up to our century the voyages of discovery were made under sail, as were the voyages of commerce and warfare.

The Western Europeans plundered the New World,

fought each other and extended their commercial and political empires under sail. From Scandinavia,

the Vikings preceded the other Europeans on voyages of discovery and military adventure and the Phoenicians,

some 2000 years earlier, had wellestablished trade routes throughout the Mediterranean and perhaps as far as the East Indies.

The early Polynesians in their huge catamarans extended their civilization throughout

the Pacific by first following migratory flights of land birds and later reckoning latitude from Polaris,

spreading their culture, language and people thousands of miles to the widely separated islands of the South Pacific.

And throughout the centuries the Chinese developed an infinite variety of seagoing and coastwise junks which they, too, used for both commerce and warfare.

Their multi-masted seagoing junks may have reached lengths of over 300 feet!

The success of any voyage under sail depends on the quality of the vessel and the skill of her officers and crew,

as well as a bit ofluck with the weather and careful planning.

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