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65
votes
2answers
7k views

Why were ships-of-the line not supposed to open fire on frigates during fleet actions?

Found this passage in the book Patrick O'Brian's Navy (p. 57) In the era of fighting sail there was an unspoken convention that line-of-battle ships did not fire on frigates during any fleet ...
19
votes
4answers
2k views

What was the last battle fought mainly by sail-powered ships?

When and where has the last battle between sail-powered ships been fought? If possible, please include the countries involved as well as the armament and types of ships.
12
votes
2answers
498 views

In which situation is the broadside more preferable than every gun firing on their own time?

Mathematically, a ship should be able to fire more shots if each of the cannons fire at their fastest speed, instead of waiting for everyone to be ready, but it seems that a broadside is sometimes ...
12
votes
2answers
299 views

First time the sail ship technology took off

At what point in history did the sail ship technology take off for the first time? And by that I mean sail ships that significantly eased trade across water and which got produced in significant ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

In the Film Master and Commander, why do they start towing their rowboats after they beat to quarters?

In the first scene on Master and Commander after the ship beats to quarters they're shown lowering three rowboats and towing them behind the ship. Why do they do that?
8
votes
1answer
156 views

What's the best way to convert sailing-era burden to modern displacement?

In reading about warships of the early modern era, it's difficult to compare sizes because older ships tend to be measured in tons (or tuns) of burden (or burthen), compared to modern vessels being ...
6
votes
3answers
437 views

Why didn't Native Americans have big sailing ships?

Many European and East Asian powers had very large sailing ships: clippers, junks and the like. Polynesians had sailing capacity, although theirs ships weren't as large. Why didn't Native Americans ...
4
votes
3answers
518 views

Did Ferdinand Magellan circumnavigate the globe?

As we know, Magellan died on the Philippines, so he did not circumnavigate the globe. However, I found an opinion claiming that he actually did, because he'd made some travels to east Asia before his ...
4
votes
2answers
480 views

How was a line looped under a sailing vessel for keelhauling?

The Wikipedia article on keelhauling says: The sailor was tied to a line that looped beneath the vessel, thrown overboard on one side of the ship, and dragged under the ship's keel, either from ...
4
votes
1answer
314 views

How were Warrant Officers appointed to Royal Navy ships during the Age of Sail?

As I understand it, Warrant Officers got their name from the warrant issued by the Admiralty (depending on the applicant having the correct qualifications). From the descriptions I've read, these ...
1
vote
1answer
149 views

Where can I find information about classical sailor culture/general nautical knowledge? [closed]

Out of strong curiosity, I would really love to know what it was like on sailing ships centuries ago. I can look up nautical terms all day, but those don't express the culture, or much of the ...