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Windward Sailing Capabilities of Ancient Vessels

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Abstract

Weatherliness is widely considered to have been an important ability for ancient sailing vessels, yet little firm experimental or theoretical data on the matter is available. However, by drawing on a variety of sources of model-test data and trials of full-scale replicas, it is possible to establish a general picture of what might have been possible. It appears that while ancient sailing vessels may have been capable of modest windward performance in moderate conditions and with a freshly-cleaned hull, this capability quickly disappeared as the hull became fouled and/or the wind and sea conditions deteriorated.

© 2008 The Author

Ancillary