Ellen Macarthur
Dorling Kindersley Limited
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   Through the 19th and 20th centuries, recreational sailing spread throughout the world. Before that, sailing boats had been used for transportation, fishing, commerce, or as warships, for as long as we can trace the history of people living near water. Throughout history, sail and hull designs have varied according to coastal conditions and the availability of local materials. A simple square sail rigged before the mast is probably the earliest design, and is found in ancient records from the Mediterranean, the Aegean, the Red Sea, and the Persian Gulf We know that Roman galleys, powered chiefly by oars, carried square sails for auxiliary power and speed. The Viking ships of the 8th and 9th centuries were square rigged, as were the great three-masted exploration ships of the 15th and 16th centuries. Square sails must be rigged so that the wind blows into only one side of the sail, and they function best when sailing downwind...

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