• ancient sailing;
  • sailing performance;
  • balance;
  • archaeological reconstructions

The balance of sailing vessels makes an important contribution to sailing characteristics, but its measurement is far from trivial. Traditionally, balance has been determined from the geometric centres of hulls and sails, but experimental results show that this approach is highly inaccurate. Designers overcome this difficulty by the use of a heuristic concept of ‘lead’, but the geometric methodology can be misleading in retrospective analysis of ancient sailing vessels. It can result in doubtful conclusions about sailing capabilities and incorrect deductions about the type of rig that was used and the reasons for specific mast positions.

© 2008 The Author