Traditional Boats and Rigs of the Baltic, The


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by H. Warington Smyth

reprinted from Mast and Sail in Europe and Asia

The Baltic may well claim precedence among the seas as the boat-sailers’ paradise. Not even the classical Mediterranean can surpass it in interest or beauty. While in the Mediterranean the sailor’s mind goes groping back to reconstruct, if possible, the craft of Egypt, Phcenicia, or Rome, in the Baltic his eye may gaze upon the almost identical longships, or ‘keeles, which carried the brave Norse boatmen of old to build up nations in the West. As the Mediterranean is the nursery of the high-peaked lateen, the parent of the longyard lugsails of the South, so the Baltic remains the sea of the storm-enduring squaresail, the parent of the short-headed lugsail of our Northern isles. The one is the home of the silent, clean-lined, carvel build; the other of the strong, simple clench, or clinker-build, first understood and practised by the wonderful old Norse boat-builders, and by them handed down, through the fishing-boats of the Northern nations, to our own time.

24 pages


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