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Sailboat history timeline

April 02, 2011

4000 BCE: Phoenicians and Egyptians sail under cloth sails on single log and simple long narrow sailboats.

3000 BCE: 900: Square sails are common

2000 BCE: Extensive sailing trading networks starts at the Mediterranean Sea. Ice boats in Scandinavia.

1200 BCE: Greek and Phoenician big cargo ships along the Mediterranean

500 BCE: Phoenicians built ships with two big masts

100 BCE: The Roman Empire has largest cargo and passenger ships of 180 by 45 feet.

400s: First catamarans along the Southeast Asian coasts.

900: Lanteen and triangle sails are used.

1000-1200: The Vikings built 80 feet long and 17 feet wide sailboats for war, trading and colonising.

1000: Norse explorer Leif Eiriksson probably the first European to land in North America. The first of the great explorations in this sailboat history timeline.

1200: First Viking longboats and British merchant sailboats are made with small wholes from which bowmen could fire their guns.

15th century: The Barque or later Bark with sails running breadthways

1500-1650: Sailmakers start using flax fibre to create sails.

1660: King Charles II introduces sport sailing in England. Dutch shipyards give British King Charles a small sailboat, named the Royal Yacht Mary

1680: The Barca-longa two or three-masted lugger in Spain, Portugal and in the Mediterranean Sea.

17th century: The Bermuda rig or Marconi rig with mast and rigging is created in Bermuda.

1720: World’s first yachting club founded in Ireland, the Water Club of Cork.

1790: First iceboat at the Hudson River in New York.

1797: Edmund Hartt Shipyard launches the USS Constitution, a three-masted heavy wooden frigate of the US Navy.

1800: Barquentine vessels with three or more masts are built.

1863: The Star of India is built as a fully square-rigged ship.

1900: Sailing becomes an Olympic sport in Paris.

1920: First aerodynamics designs for increasing speed.

1949: The Optimist Dinghy is introduced by Clark Mills.

1960: German engineer Wilhelm Pröls invents the Dynaship or Dyna Rigg concept. The 12-foot Aqua Cats is created by Art Javes.

1976: The J-24 is presented by Rodney Johnstone and the Toulon dockyard in France constructs the Phocea, world’s largest sailing yacht till 2004.

1977: The Freedom 40 is launched by Gary Hoyt.

2000: The steel-hulled five-masted full-rigged tall cruise ship Royal Clipper is constructed by Zygmunt Choren. According to the Guinness World Records book the Preussen is the largest square rigged ship. The three mast full-rigged clipper Stad Amsterdam is built by Gerard Dijkstra in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

2004: Royal Huisman Shipyard the clipper-bowed three-masted gaff-rigged luxury sailing yacht Athena. The largest yacht in sailboat history.

— Compiled by The Surfer