Why Do Boats Have Triangular Sails? (Explained)


Boat triangular sails, more formally known as lateen sails, have been around for thousands of years. Northern sailors, since the sails originated around the region of the Mediterranean, named the lateen sail after “Latin.”

Why Do Boats Have Triangular Sails? Boat triangular sails allowed for much more efficient navigation through half winds. A half wind is a wind at 90 degrees to the boat. This benefitted the boat by making maneuvering the boat much easier, especially when there were no favorable winds. Another benefit of the triangular sail was that nobody had to row the boat anymore, and waste muscle power to get from one place to another.

Lateen sails came after the invention of square sails, which only proved helpful when the wind was blowing in a certain direction at a certain time. Other than that, the sail had no use.

Further down the line, in the second century AD, the lateen sail was invented by the Arabs and was adopted into the Eastern Mediterranean. Though, the sails were not fully accepted until the fifth century AD.

What Was The Difference Between Square Sails And a Triangular, Or Lateen, Sail?

The difference is the efficiency each has for the boat they accompany, and how both work for a boat when they are combined together. Square sails are often made of cotton while triangular sails were commonly made of cloth. The material of the sails affects how they will work.

When you think of square sails, think of large pirate ships floating across sea searching for gold. That’s exactly what they look like. They were less effective than triangular sails but were invented long before.

These sails were commonly facing the wind up until they were able to be turned and became more versatile and slightly more effective. That was until they were combined with the triangular sail, which benefitted the maneuvering of sails so greatly that square sails have very little use today.

Although they have little use today, it doesn’t go unseen that the square sails were also one of the most important inventions in the history of sails because it led us to where we are today. Though it had little use, some use was better than nothing.

When the sail became more versatile with the ability to spin it around, it became more effective in catching wind and the boat would move faster- therefore, making it a little easier to get where they were going. All inventions that serve a beneficial purpose, are good inventions.

You may also like: 20 Unwritten Rules of Boating Etiquette (Every Boater Follows)

What Were The Advantages Of Triangular Sails?

They allowed for much more efficient navigation through half winds. A half wind is a wind at 90 degrees to the boat. This benefitted the boat by making maneuvering the boat much easier, especially when there were no favorable winds.

The triangular sail is mounted in a way that ran across the entire boat. Another benefit of the triangular sail was that nobody had to row the boat anymore, and waste muscle power to get from one place to another.

You may also like: 5 Facts About Twice Boiled Tap Water (Healthy Or Harmful?)

More cargo could be carried with the triangular sail, and this was significant in several ways. For many years triangular sails have greatly affected commerce, traveling, exploration, and even the military.

Triangular boat sails are incredibly effective when facing lighter winds at sea because there is less drag than any other kind of sails. This allows the boat to be “closer to the wind.” This means that it sails approximately 45 degrees into the wind. This is one of the main reasons the triangular sail was such a significant invention in the world of traveling or working at sea.

The further improvements of the triangular sails allowed for larger ships to be developed and still have the ability to maneuver freely throughout the sea. It was also a crucial invention that played a major role in the war.

You may also like: Why Do Swimmers Have Broad Shoulders? (Here’s How And Why)

How Did People Travel Before Either The Triangular Or The Square Sails Were Invented And Used?

Before either of the sails were invented, people would sit in the boats on either side, each one holding an oar and they would row themselves to where they needed to go. It was also hard to carry as much cargo on these boats, because the power of the human muscles can only do so much.

Oftentimes, several boats with plenty of people would be sent out with portions of the cargo needed to be exported out of one place and into another.

It was very painful for those who had to row the boat, and often caused many injuries that could not be reversed again. Since there were so many men, poor posture was one of the ways backache and poor ergonomics occurred.

With oars, the boat was easy to maneuver, but it wasn’t exactly the fastest traveling time. When the square sails were invented they didn’t have an incredible efficiency with maneuvering but took a large weight off of those who used the oars previously, backs. Literally.

Then, when the triangular sail was invented, there wasn’t much use left for the square sail as it was combined with the triangular sail until it was no longer used. The significance of the evolution of sails is something remarkable and has benefitted many industries incredibly. It even offered Countries such as Spain, and England gains power through the development of triangular sails.

You may also like: Do Boats Hold Their Value? (With Examples)

Conclusion

It is clear to see the changes these sails made for many people, ranging from those who worked the oars, loaded cargo, sold sails, and others as well. As it changed before, it could easily change again. But the triangular sail, as of the present, still proves to be the most used sail as well as the most efficient.

Technology is advancing every single day and a lot of what technology provides makes life much more convenient. Triangular sails were just one way that technology proved to make things much more efficient.

Hopefully, you now understand in depth, Why Do Boats Have Triangular Sails.

John

Hi, I’m John who owns multiple different boats and i love all kinds of water activities. From boating to fishing, from scuba diving to windsurfing, from water tubing to snow tubing.

Recent Posts