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Ships handling


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I have an engineering question. I hope this is the place. Upon looking at my ship I have a question. Considering the height of the masts and the size of sails, it looks as though wind blown from astern would try to drive a ships hull down or conversely any side wind would try to blow the ship over. How would ships designers account for this?

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The shape and depth of the lower hull, amount of ballast and length to beam ratio all came into play.  Prior to the late 1700's, generally by trial and error.  Scientific approaches implemented at varous times in different nations. Note as well that there was, in naval captains, a strong tendency ti over mast the ship.


See Ships and Science for a very readable and thorough overview.

Edited by trippwj


Neither should a ship rely on one small anchor, nor should life rest on a single hope.

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Excellent point, Bluenose, and something that did occur with some frequency.  Captains would often modify the rig to improve the ships sea keeping ability.


One of the reasons for the disappearance of the spritsail topmast in the late 17th and early 18th centuries was the fact that it had a depressive effect on the bow of a ship.





Laissez le bon temps rouler ! 



Current Build:  Le Soleil Royal

Completed Build Amerigo Vespucci

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