Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Traveling Tuesday: Sailing Vessels and Steamships

Traveling Tuesday: Sailing Vessels and Steamships 

Photo: Pixabay/
Susann Mielke
Like most folks living the modern era, I tend to take modes of transportation for granted. I expect my car to start when I turn the key, and for the vehicle to get me to my destination. The same applies to airline flights, train trips, and the cruises I’ve taken. The research I’ve done over the last couple of years about the 1800s has given me a new appreciation for the technological advances that surround me: specifically water travel. 

My husband and I have been to be able to take quite a few cruises over the years. Gigantic ships that come with stabilizers to ensure smooth passage and engines designed to run efficiently, effectively, and quietly made our journeys delightful excursions. From what I’ve read, the term “cruise” could hardly be applied to ocean-crossing voyages of old. 

Scholars know that early civilizations (as long ago as 4,000 years) used watercraft for transportation. It is thought the Egyptians used the first seagoing vessels, followed by the Phoenicians, Cretans, Greeks, and Romans. A thousand years later the Chinese and Japanese travel the internal and coastal waterways. However, it wasn’t until the spice and tea trades arose that shipping came into its own as an industry.

Photo: Pixabay/enzol
The Age of Sailing is considered to have lasted from the mid-1600 through the mid-1900s. A “sailingship” is simply defined as a sea-going vessel that uses sails mounted on masts in order to use the power of wind to propel it. There are a variety of sail plans or the way a ship is rigged such as the square-rigged, in which the primary driving sails are carried on horizonal spars which are perpendicular (or square) to the keel of the vessel or a fore-and-aft in which the sails are mounted along the line of the keel. 

As understanding of wind and currents progressed, and more speed was desired, the number of masts and configuration of ships changed, as did their names. A brig has two masts that are square-rigged. A full-rigged ship referred to a vessel with three or more masts. Schooners were typically fore-and-aft rigged with the foremast shorter than the mainmast. A variant is the topsail schooner that has a square topsail on the foremast. Additional variants are the barque, barquentine, and brigantine. And don’t forget the galleon or the clipper. Are you as confused as I am?? Fortunately, there will NOT be a test. As sailing ships became longer and faster over time, with taller masts and more square sails countries developed large fleets of well-armed warships. However, even the fastest ship couldn’t go more than fifteen knots, or just over seventeen miles per hour. Thus, voyages from Europe to America took from six weeks in good weather to as many as fourteen weeks in inclement weather. A long journey, to be sure. 

Photo: Pixabay/jgerim
In 1807, Robert Fulton’s steamship Clermont was the first ship to demonstrate the feasibility of steam propulsion for commercial use, but it was not until the 1840s that steam-propelled vessels came into their own. Another sixty years would pass before, the ships stopped carrying sails as a backup. By the 1860s, steamships allowed for more tonnage than sailing ships. Additionally, the speed of a steamship surpassed that of a sailing ship, some traveling as fast as nineteen knots or over twenty-one miles per hour. This seems like an imperceptible difference, but it allowed steamships to cross the ocean in just two weeks – a thrill for travelers whose berths were nothing like the spacious well-appointed cabins of today’s cruise ships. 
Have you ever taken a cruise? Do you sail or kayak? Or would you rather stay on land? 


Gold Rush Bride Tegan

She’s out to prove herself. He’s only looking for adventure. Neither one realizes they’ll find more than gold “in them thar hills.”

Tegan Llewellyn has always been different than her adopted family, except Grandmother Hannah, a prospector during the 1829 Georgia gold rush. Now, seventy years later there are reports of gold in Nome, and the opportunity is too good to pass up. But Tegan doesn’t count on the dangers that strike from the moment she steps off the steamer, including the threat of losing her heart. 
Elijah Hunter has prospected for gold all over the US and Canada and likes being on the move. The last thing he expects to find on his latest search is a lady miner who proves to be nothing but trouble. Can he convince her that leaving is for her own good before it’s too late...for both of them? 

Gold Rush Bride Tegan is part of the exciting multi-author Gold Rush Brides series set in 19th century America. First, there was Hannah, then Caroline, and now Tegan. If you enjoy clean romances with a taste of intrigue, you’re sure to enjoy this series of books. You might even catch some gold fever of your own.

Purchase Link: https://amzn.to/3HClHA0

1 comment:

  1. I've been on a dozen cruises, from Australia to South America, and several European, Caribbean, and Alaskan. It's a great way to travel solo.