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Questions tagged [age-of-sail]

The Age-of-Sail relates to be the period of European naval history between 1650 AD and 1850 AD.

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Are there written historical records of ships possibly affected by underwater volcanic activity?

Underwater volcanic activity, although less impressive than its land counterparts, can still trigger interesting phenomena on the surface, like (temporary) islands popping out of nowhere, ocean ...
Ccm's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
199 views

Was coal exported to colonial America before 1701 via collier?

According to Wikipedia, commercial coal production occurred in North America for the first time in 1701. To meet early colonial (pre-1701) needs for coal (blacksmithing and gunpowder for instance), ...
Jessie Kirk's user avatar
4 votes
0 answers
150 views

In 16th-century commercial deep sea fishing, what depth did European (and colonial) fisherfolk fish to, and what vessels and techniques were used?

I have found reference to the earliest commercial deep-sea fishing being done in the North Sea (Dogger Bank), and Newfoundland (Grand Banks). According to Wikipedia:HerringBuss, the herring buss type ...
Jessie Kirk's user avatar
13 votes
4 answers
6k views

How much more damage can a big cannon do to a ship than a small one?

I don't think anyone will argue with the fact that the mass of projectiles a Napoleonic era warship could fire at its opponent mattered - a 36 pound ball will naturally tend to cause more damage and ...
Kugelblitz's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
269 views

What were the reactions of the former Bounty crew on the discovery of the Pitcairn islanders?

The Pitcairn island colony was discovered by whalers in 1808 and later by the Royal Navy in 1814. At that time several former crew members of the Bounty, including Bligh, were still alive. Is it known ...
OON's user avatar
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0 votes
1 answer
419 views

Where did the term "Indies" come from?

According to this Wikipedia article: Exploration of the East Indies by European powers began in the last three years of the 15th century and continued into the 16th century, led by the Portuguese ...
Elon Tusk's user avatar
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3 votes
2 answers
333 views

Who on ship was responsible for purchases during the Age of Sail?

Who on a trade ship was ultimately responsible for purchasing cargo in foreign ports, and was this a recognized position or more of an ad hoc thing? I assume the ship's owners were the ones who ...
Galendo's user avatar
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7 votes
2 answers
2k views

When did the Royal Navy start to fill a given rank of admiral with more than one officer?

Admirals in the Royal Navy used to follow the coloured-squadron system. If I have understood correctly, when this practice first arose in the seventeenth century, there really were precisely nine ...
dwolfeu's user avatar
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29 votes
2 answers
6k views

Did Age of Sail fighting vessels have any anti-spall technology?

In the paper The injuries of four centuries of naval warfare, the author describes how flying wood splinters caused by cannon balls striking a ship's hull were a major cause of injury to ship's crews. ...
DrMcCleod's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
322 views

Why did ships like the HMS Victory have cannon wells? [closed]

Is there a reason for ships of the line having a well deck/cannon well? (The part of the last closed line of cannons that is exposed just like the weather deck but is therefore lower than the weather ...
HodorKing's user avatar
-4 votes
1 answer
231 views

When was the most amount of commercial trade carried by sail powered ships?

What was the apogee of sailed based trade? Which civilisation, in which period, had the largest volume of maritime trade under sail?
crg's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
333 views

Why did the Ballahoo and Cuckoo-class schooners earn a bad reputation?

The Ballahoo and Cuckoo-class schooners were small (50-60 foot length) warships built for the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic wars. According to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ballahoo-class_schooner ...
rwallace's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
323 views

Were there any watermills within sailing distance of the sea?

Watermills were widely used in times when river transport was even considerably more economically important than it is now. This sometimes led to conflict between these two uses of a river, e.g. The ...
rwallace's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
272 views

Would a commissioned officer in the Royal Navy during the mid-late 18th century ever sail on a vessel other than a man-o-war, ship of the line, etc?

As someone who does not exactly understand how naval commissions worked in the 18th century, I am curious to know if there might have ever been an occasion where a commissioned officer (such as a ...
Ray's user avatar
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1 vote
0 answers
83 views

What is the earliest known occurrence of woven rope mats / art?

I am curious as to the earliest recorded occurrence of woven rope mats such as the one below: Similar patterns can be seen in Celtic knotwork and the Insular art style in the 600's+. But I was ...
Chromane's user avatar
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36 votes
4 answers
7k views

Why weren't pickled fruits and vegetables part of (European) rations during the Age of Sail?

Why were pickled fruits and vegetables not part of sailors' rations during the Age of Sail? This question is an extension of Cooking.SE:How is sauerkraut rich in vitamin C? You do not need know or ...
DKNguyen's user avatar
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28 votes
4 answers
6k views

How difficult was to escape from a naval battle after engaging into one during the Age of Sail?

So, I am designing a board game which includes pirates/imperial battles during the age of sail. While I have found a lot of information on the internet as well as books, papers and of course other ...
Spyros's user avatar
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2 votes
0 answers
191 views

Has it ever been practice to clip to ratlines?

I am reading a story (alt history) where it describes climbing on a ship with the sailors: pausing to clip their safety harnesses to the ratlines every few feet. Now, I used to work on a tallship, ...
Frames Catherine White's user avatar
9 votes
2 answers
3k views

If a merchant ship captain joined the Royal Navy during the age of sail, would they be put in command?

If the captain/former captain of a merchant ship joined the navy or was press ganged into the the navy would they be put in command of a ship or would they have to work they way up through the ranks? ...
dw1969's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
326 views

What are some well-researched books about ships during the Age of Sail? [closed]

I have tried to find well researched and detailed books, but all I seem to be able to find are books about model ships or fiction books about sailors. As a layman, I’ve entertained the idea that I ...
OptimumKitten's user avatar
10 votes
1 answer
1k views

When was the first intentional ricochet fired from a naval artillery?

Wikipedia states that the first ricochet firing was performed in 1688. This other website says it may have existed in 1587. All those historical events are for cannonballs fired from the ground ...
Manu H's user avatar
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6 votes
1 answer
196 views

Was merchant Hugh McCulloch the first Scotsman to set foot in California?

In June 1822 the Scottish merchant Hugh McCulloch landed at San Diego from the brig John Begg. He was the founding partner of the business McCulloch Hartnell & Co which for three years from 1 ...
macean's user avatar
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14 votes
2 answers
2k views

Was there a way for ships to disengage from boarding actions?

I was doing some research about Naval tactics in Age of Sail - especially in boarding tactics. I read several personal diaries, letters and accounts of these battles written by combatants. From ...
Prahara's user avatar
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34 votes
2 answers
10k views

How were horses disembarked from sail ships?

Back in late 18th century, ship of the line embarked soldiers (e.g. royal marines) that can perform land actions. To disembark, they took place into longboats. If a specific land action was planned, ...
Manu H's user avatar
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9 votes
1 answer
4k views

How did pumps work during the Age of Sail?

During the 17th and 18th century, sailing ships were equipped with pumps to avoid flooding. This can be seen during the opening battle of master and commander: the far side of the world. Part of the ...
Manu H's user avatar
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9 votes
1 answer
790 views

How close did a Manila galleon ever come to Hawaii?

Between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries, Manila galleons sailed regularly between Mexico and the Philippines. Consistent ocean currents informed their clockwise route. After the Spanish had ...
user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
220 views

How possible was it for colonizers to sail up the Paraná River to today's states of Paraná and São Paulo?

I know that there was a harbor as far as in Porto Feliz (state of São Paulo) on Tietê river. But I wonder whether it was only for the downstream transport, or also the upstream. I have searched on ...
Martin L's user avatar
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12 votes
2 answers
3k views

What date did Henry Morgan capture his most famous flagship, the "Satisfaction"?

When Henry Morgan captured the French privateer ship, "Le Cerf Volant" he rechristened it the "Satisfaction" and used it as his flagship until it was lost near Panama in 1671 during a mission to ...
LuminousNutria's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
1k views

How many ships did the fleet of the Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie (VOC) possess at its peak (around 1670)?

The Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie (1602–1800) was a huge Dutch company primarily earning lots of revenue in the spice trade among other activities. For this work they needed a lot of ships from ...
Tom Sol's user avatar
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6 votes
1 answer
852 views

Why did sailing ships so often employ Chinese cooks?

During the age of sail, it was common for Western ships to employ Chinese cooks. I don't have any numbers except that there are pages and pages of relevant results from search queries including "...
user avatar
10 votes
1 answer
611 views

In the 18th century, who built ships built using two-pointed nails?

On April 20th 1774, near Carmel, California, Juan Bautista de Anza wrote in his diary about finding the mast of a ship of unknown origin (his compatriot Garcés did not record it). Here is his complete ...
user avatar
13 votes
2 answers
869 views

Communication lag during the Age of Sail: what if enemy claimed that peace agreement was signed?

In the past due to the communication lag the hostilities could proceed long after peace agreements were signed. This was especially severe for the overseas territories and ships. I'm somewhat more ...
OON's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
3k views

How were old wooden warships with structural damage to the hull repaired at dock?

How were ships, with cannon damage done to the hull, repaired at dock?
Lukas's user avatar
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39 votes
11 answers
10k views

Why did it take so long to abandon sail after steamships were demonstrated?

1807, Robert Fulton's Clermont the first ship to demonstrate the feasibility of steam propulsion for commercial use, but it also carried sail. 1819, The first steamship to cross the Atlantic was the ...
user avatar
10 votes
3 answers
4k views

Why did people stop building square-rigged ships?

Sailing ships are still being built, but square riggers are a thing of the past. Why? Did fore-and-aft rigging prove superior? If so, why not earlier? Does it have to do with the disappearance of ...
user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
484 views

How did the design of the hull differ between an Indiaman and a frigate?

Indiamen and frigates look similar. The Indiaman seems a little bigger, but both are similar in the following ways: full rigged design for overseas operation (able to cross oceans) armed As indiamen ...
Manu H's user avatar
  • 697
4 votes
1 answer
192 views

Range of sailors' ages on a typical Pacific trading ship in 1810

This question is about crew ages on trading voyages in the North Pacific around 1810. The number of crew members on these voyages was often in the low dozens. Funding could come at least in part from ...
user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
279 views

Has there been any big collisions with ice bergs after Titantic or during the Age of Sail? [closed]

Has there been any big collisions with ice bergs after Titantic or during the Age of Sail? What happened? Especially during WW2, wasn't there a lot of naval moments in the Arctic?
d-b's user avatar
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4 votes
0 answers
79 views

Which ship took Tolman to Kamchatka?

William Tolman was reportedly a mechanic from New England who got to Petropavlovsk on a whaling ship in 1813. Somehow he stayed behind and lived his whole long life in Kamchatka. None of the sources ...
user avatar
10 votes
1 answer
530 views

Why didn't the Trafalgar Way messengers sail up the English Channel?

The dispatches from the British fleet at the battle of Trafalgar were brought by ship to Falmouth. From there, messengers rode by horse over land to the Admiralty in London, following a route known as ...
Chris Harrison's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
186 views

Which prayer did sailors in Russian America expect to hear?

Father Ioann Veniaminov (Saint Innocent) was a Russian Orthodox priest who ministered in Russian America. Leaving Sitka, he recorded the following in his journal: Tuesday, June 30, 1836. Having ...
user avatar
1 vote
3 answers
595 views

Murder–suicide by sinking the ship

Humankind has a sad, horrible history of intentional mass murder and murder–suicide by airplane and road vehicle. Are there known cases of a sailor or an officer on a ship trying to kill himself and ...
user avatar
13 votes
1 answer
5k views

How much gunpowder could the average Napoleonic ship of the line carry?

I've run across a few references to a ship's magazine detonating during combat, and by all accounts the explosions were massive. I'm trying to put them into context a bit by figuring out how much ...
Hobbits's user avatar
  • 131
7 votes
1 answer
258 views

Kabris, the "half-wild Frenchman", in Kamchatka

A Frenchman who had gone native in the Marquesas Islands, Jean Cabri or Kabris, returned to Europe in the early 1800s and became a well-known attraction and swimming teacher. His return voyage ...
user avatar
11 votes
5 answers
4k views

Did any age of sail ship have a "back-bone cannon"?

Did any age of sail ship have a "back-bone cannon"? What I mean by "backbone-cannon" is a cannon too large/heavy to be carried other than by having the ship being essentially built around it. This ...
Billy Bob Bobster's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
261 views

Which STD did adults & children have in Kamchatka?

In 1817 Vasili Golovnin sailed a ship named Kamchatka from Kronstadt to Kamchatka and met there its governor, Rikord. In "Around the World", he wrote that: Almost all the local common people of ...
user avatar
6 votes
0 answers
181 views

Who owned the ship Ensayo, and what were they doing near Baja California in 1842?

According to Plummer's The Shogun's Reluctant Ambassadors, in 1842, sea drifters from the Eijū-maru were picked up and by the Ensayo, a "Spanish pirate ship" with a Philippine crew. It was "carrying ...
user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
520 views

What was the tonnage carried in the Triangle Trade?

I'm interested in metrics regarding trans-atlantic trade in the era of the sail. The specific timespan doesn't matter. The specific cargo also doesn't matter. I've searched but not found any ...
user49466's user avatar
  • 101
2 votes
1 answer
167 views

Wreck of the Juno

K.T. Khlebnikov wrote a biography of his boss, Baranov: Chief Manager of the Russian Colonies in America. In this book he described the wreck of the Juno as taking place November 3, 1811 (O.S.), "not ...
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45 votes
11 answers
17k views

Why did Europeans (and not people in other regions) dominate oceans?

Having a brief look at civilization history, I find that Europeans have a significant dominance over other regions when it comes to sailing. This becomes more obvious after the 15th century when ...
Dionis Beqiraj's user avatar