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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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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. ...
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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 ...
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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?
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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, ...
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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? ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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, ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 "...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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?
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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?
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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How old were the youngest employees of the Russian-American Company?

The Russian-American Company, founded 1799, employed some real lowlifes. Golovnin about 1810 found them "composed for the most part of dissolute persons, many of whom have been flogged with the knout ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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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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 ...
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When was the potato introduced to Mexico?

There are wild potatoes in Mexico, but eating potatoes are generally cultivars imported from the Andes. They became popular elsewhere after Europeans with sailing ships took them around the world. ...
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Six bulls for ship's provisions

The Ortega family at Rancho Refugio did a brisk business in clandestine trade with visiting ships. According to Katherine Plummer, in March of 1815, the Forester stopped there and loaded firewood, ...
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Couldn't Japan have solved the problem of drifting at sea?

The Edo period shogunate received annual tributes from local clans, on the order of the rice to feed a thousand people. The sengokubune ships used on this route were suited for calm inland waters, ...
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What sorts of things would a 16th century explorer document?

For a project, I must re-create a journal of a [made up] 16th century explorer. They were a sailor who sailed to the Pacific Ocean via the Cape Horn route in the 16th century, similar to Willem ...