From star orientation to GPS: these are the 10 greatest inventions in the history of sailing that have changed sea travel. And, without which it is already difficult for us to imagine our life.
10 major inventions in the history of navigation
First sailing ships
The first images of sailing ships date from around 5500 BC. They were found on painted discs of the ancient Mesopotamia, on the territory of modern Kuwait... These simple sailing boats that sailed on Neil, were made of reed and carried on the mast one rectangular sail of papyrus.
Many ancient civilizations including Egyptians, Greeks and Romans made their contribution to the theory and practice of navigation. Polynesians used canoes hollowed out of wood with balancer floatsto explore the surrounding islands. They also created navigational charts made of twigs connected in a special way, coding in them the wave situation and the nature of the currents in the region. Experienced pilots of that time should have known the information from these "maps" as a keepsake.
Twig maps, in which the navigators of Oceania encrypted the location of the islands, the nature of the waves and currents in the region. Maps from the islands of Polynesia and Micronesia
They had their own traditions of navigation Arabs, Chinese and Indians... A viking ships although they were driven by oars, they were able to reach from the European islands in the north Atlantic to North America mainly under sail.
Exactly Europeans firmly seized the primacy in the development of navigation technologies during the so-called "The Era of the Great Geographical Discoveries".
Steering paddles and rudder blade
As the importance of navigation increased in the life of ancient civilizations, designers sought to create innovations that improve the performance of ships. One of the key technological breakthroughs was steering paddle - an invention that predates the more modern rudderfixed at the stern.
In fact, such the steering wheel was just an enlarged paddle or even a board attached midships to the right or stern. Actually, the English name of the starboard side, starboard, and there is a modified steerboard - the side on which the steering wheel is attached. This invention allowed the helmsmen to manage ships more efficiently.
Vikings only used on their ships steering oars... And small boats like English skiffsare still equipped with this type of control.
Invention pen credited Chinesewho came up with the idea to attach a movable steering gear to the back of the ship's hull. This happened around the 1st century AD, during the dynasty Han... But Western civilization took another thousand years to reach this innovation.
Drakkar - The original Viking ship, discovered in 1904 in Norway, is kept in the Drakkar Museum in Oslo. There is a steering paddle on board on the right
The prospect of sailing in a space devoid of visible landmarks - such as night sea - and today looks frightening for the uninitiated. And the fact that ancient civilizations were capable of this is another evidence of human genius.
Astronavigation - the method that sailors of past eras used to navigate their ships in the dark or out of sight of the earth. It requires measuring the angles between celestial bodies and the horizon, accurately fixing the time of measurements in order to determine its coordinates and keep the ship on course.
Written evidence of the applied use of astronavigation is found already in the legendary "Odyssey"folded Homer about 3,000 years ago. So, nymph Calypso advises Odyssey keep the constellation known as Ursa Major or Bucket on the left side when he observes some of the other constellations to determine his location.
Structural beam, running from the bow to the stern and located below the rest of the hull, was invented by the Vikings, fearless northern sailors. Since their ships had rectangular sails, they were prone to a lot of drift when they went steeply into the wind. Keel reduced this displacement, increased speed and made Viking ships more stable.
The keels were initially small and did not significantly affect the draft of the vessel. Today's stationary keels can go quite deep into the water, preventing the passage of the ship in shallow water. However, their proliferation has greatly contributed to the increase in the stability of modern ships.
Keel and rudder of a yacht under water
Keel gives the yacht stability as it lowers the center of gravity and thus helps keep the boat from capsizing. And on racing yachts often do swinging keels, deviating, if necessary, to the right or to the left, which impart a restoring moment to the boats when heeling.
Brunel team racing yacht. The swinging keel of the boat and the rudder blade are clearly visible
Latin (oblique) sail
One of the most significant breakthroughs in the history of navigation was the invention of the so-called latin sail... it oblique sail, attached by a luff to an inclined rail, the lower end of which reaches the deck. It is located as if "along" the wind. And the driving force arises from the pressure difference between the concave and convex parts - just like the lift of an airplane wing. Such a sail allows the boat to go steeply to the wind in zigzags, changing tacks.... And this is its constructive advantage over rectangular sails, which are effective only at full courses.
The exact time and place of origin of the oblique sail are unknown. But it is known that he is the first sailing armament this type. Some researchers suggest that it was already in use among the Greeks in the 1st century BC. Others attribute it to the period Roman Empire, I-II century A.D. It is also possible that this sail came to Mediterranean from Arab or Persian sailors. The Polynesians also invented their own oblique sail type... He was mastless, and its design was completely different from that used in Mediterranean sea.
Exactly latin sail, giving the ship the ability to go steeply to the wind, in many ways contributed to the offensive the era of the great geographical discoveries.
The simplicity and efficiency of the Latin sail still make it popular in navigation today.
Karakka and the first trip around the world
Karakka - this was the type of ship on which people performed first circumnavigation... This journey of the Spanish expedition took almost four years, and it was not completed by the captain who started. Portuguese Fernand Magellan, the head of the Spain in 1519 expedition, died in the Philippines in 1521. Spaniard Juan Sebastian Elcano brought the karakka "Victoria", the only surviving of the five ships, back in 1522.
Karakki were three- or four-masted ships created by the Genoese in the 15th century for commercial purposes. Their capacity allowed them to make long voyages, which was important for European colonial expansion during the era of the Great Discoveries. Able to walk in the ocean, large enough to be confident in harsh waters, karakki carried rectangular sailing rigs on the foremast and mainmast, and an oblique Latin sail on the mizzen.
A modern replica of the Victoria Karakka - the ship on which the first circumnavigation of the world was made in the history of mankind
Of course, karakki were not the final word in sailing shipbuilding. Over time, they were surpassed by more fast ships like clippers, which reduced the time of transportation of people and goods around the world. But the next new round in shipbuilding was engine.
The first engines were powered by steam and were adapted for the needs of the fleet about a hundred years after Thomas Newcomen created a commercially successful steam engine in 1712.
Scottish engineer William Symington built the world's first practical steamer, Charlotte Dundas in 1802. And after 17 years, a ship with a steam engine made first transatlantic crossing... In 1819 a ship called "Savannah", left the American port of Savannah, Georgia, to Liverpool, England.
The improvement of technology continued throughout the century, until eventually steam engines were replaced by diesel... The obvious effect of using the engine was the ability to go at a constant speed even in unfavorable wind and weather.
Steamer Charlotte Dundas is the first example of a steam engine in the Navy
The emergence Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRB) significantly increased the safety of sea travel.
The activated radio beacon transmits a signal to the Cospas-Sarsat satellite search and rescue systemwhich was created by international efforts for detecting ships, aircraft and other objects that have suffered an accident.
Though beacon can be started manually, it also has an automatic emergency function. If the ship starts to sink, the barostat at a depth of 6-7 meters cuts the pin holding the shutters of the protective container, the beacon is spring-pushed out and activated upon contact with water... Upon receipt of the signal, ground rescue services are required to respond to it and make efforts to locate survivors.
Emergency beacon signals are monitored by the Cospas-Sarsat international satellite system. The main task of the system is to help rescuers find the survivors of the disaster during the so-called "golden day" - 24 hours, when most of them can be effectively assisted.
Since 1979, radio signals sent by emergency buoys have helped save tens of thousands of lives. By the way, the name Cospas-Sarsat consists of two abbreviations, Russian and English.It stands for this: Kosmicheskaya WITHsystem NSoisk Avarian WITHsatisfactorySearch And Rescue Satellite-Aided Tracking. Participated in the development and launch of the system at one time USA, USSR, Canada and France.
Mariners and scientists have spent a lot of effort looking for a way to accurately determine the location of a vessel on the open sea or ocean.
The last technical breakthrough took place when ships began to be equipped with GPS equipment... Working on the same principle as car navigators, the global positioning system (Global Positioning System, GPS) made maritime navigation less dependent on paper charts, but more on electronic ones.
GPS receivers are part of a space navigation system that provides information about the ship's position and time in all weather conditions, at any point Of the earththat falls within the field of view of four or more satellites.
Humanity has come a long way since the days when sailors had to navigate by the stars. Today we are walking along World Ocean with the help of celestial bodies created by people.
GPS on board yachts has become a technical breakthrough that has greatly simplified navigation
Internet on board
It may seem fantastic, but the wave really goes into the Internet sitting on a yacht somewhere in the middle of the ocean. However, such a pleasure is not cheap.
Information age and the availability of gadgets gave mariners the opportunity to use satellite internet far from land, catch Wi-Fi from the shore, or use mobile internet on their phone if coverage is available.
However, prices for Satellite Internet not nearly as affordable as gadgets. Depending on the volume, traffic can cost thousands of dollars. Of course, prices will come down as technology advances. And the fact that, being far out at sea, you can be in touch with your loved ones and even share videos with them, once again indicates that we live in a world where science fiction becomes reality.
Translation and editing: Dmitry BUSHUEV