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The History of Old Sailing Ships

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On: Sat, Sep 4, 2010 at 1:45PM | By: Sherry Christiansen


Old sailing ships can provide a fascinating glimpse into the past, particularly for modern boaters and sea captains who understand the challenges of navigating at sea. Many of the greatest old ships have long been buried beneath the ocean, but others still exist and have been restored to the original beauty they once had. When you think of the history of old ships, it’s interesting to note that many old ships helped transport people to a new world, fight wars, or were the only means to transport international goods. In reality, the tall ship of the past were instrumental in shaping the world as we know it today

Old sailing ships often convey a sense of nostalgia as they remind us of a long lost time when exploration was mostly done by sailing vessels and courageous crews who searched for distant new worlds. The ancient sailors had to summon their courage to overcome the fear of many superstitions about dangers of the sea, not to mention the wide-spread belief that the earth was flat, anticipating that any moment they could sail right off the edge of the mysterious oceanic abyss.

Today the historic ships are especially cherished because they have a graceful character and a legendary beauty that remains timeless. Modern ships simply cannot completely emulate the historic beauty that the older sailing ships possess. Consider also that the tall sailing ships of the past did not have the advantages of modern navigational equipment. There were no marine GPS systems or marine navigation lights that are vital in modern day ocean navigation.

The tall ship associated with its country of origin was a sign of great pride and patriotism. One of the most famous of all the historic ships that continues to sail today is The Cutty Sark. It is one of the last clippers built in England, in 1869, specifically intended to transport tea from China. A very impressive ship, the Cutty also embarked on 20 voyages as far away as Australia as a merchant ship. She is preserved in Greenwich London yet today. A fire in 2007 severly damaged the ship, but the Cutty Sark is currently being repaired and restored to her original condition. The vessel will be re-opened for public viewing in the spring of 2011.

The HMS Victory is the oldest surviving warship in the world, built for the British Royal Navy between 1759 and 1765. She is most famous for her involvement in the Battle of Trafalgar, but now serves as a living museum to the Georgian Navy and as the flagship for the Commander-in-Chief Naval Home Command. The historic warship has seen many battles and is now dry-docked in Portsmouth, England. The ship is a historical representation of English fortitude, fighting, and uniting against foreign adversaries, including the infamous Napoleon


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