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Thread: Heeling as promoting weather helm

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    Default Heeling as promoting weather helm

    I was following an online course on ancient Greek sailing ships by an ex West Point army instructor. He made some questionable claims, but one that seems to check out is the promotion of weather helm by FORWARD rather than just LATERAL forces when heeled. The CE of the sail goes to leeward and torques forward around the still centered CLR towards upwind. Is this effect unappreciated by those who do "roll tacking" and think maximizing the roll is simply about "fanning the sail" for more power rather than it's torquing effect helping to come about?



    That stern view from http://hayward.peirce.me/the-physics...ng-ce-and-clr/ shows black dots of the center of effort to the side of the center of resistance, just like paddling on one side of a canoe gives a yawing force.



    That birds eye view from http://www.yachtingmonthly.com/saili...cruisers-33642 shows the same thing, and notice without heeling there may be a lee helm from the lateral forces. They also show another non-lateral force which is pitching down from the sail effort.

    Well, the army instructor said this was the genesis of the jib, except it would be set flat to the wind to counter wx helm by the ancients. Anyway now it may be more pronounced by high aspect triangular mainsails, especially with upper twist giving a forward thrust from way to leeward and the foot of the sail possibly blanked out by the lifted hull rail. Food for thought - maybe this effect is best minimized by lower aspect sails. Either a clunky "lumberyard in the sky" kind of gaff sail or those elegant new truncated top triangle mains with a Z pattern of battens holding up a squared off top.
    Last edited by rudderless; 10-24-2017 at 01:09 PM.

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    Default Re: Heeling as promoting weather helm

    I think it's even more complex than these factors. As the hull heels, it becomes asymmetrical below the waterline. Depending on the particular boat in question, this can in itself change the helm. Likewise, as the lower diagram above illustrates, you would want to match that suggested lower sailplan with a shorter keel if the object was to keep the center of effort and center of drag as close as possible.
    -Dave

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    Default Re: Heeling as promoting weather helm

    It is very complex! However one factor that can avoid creating undue weather helm, in a heavy displacement hull, when heeled is by designing a bit of tumblehome into the hull. This delays asymetrial change in hull shape untill the boat is heeled well beyoind her sweet spot. This is only one factor of many that combine to make a good seaworthy and sweet sailing hull.
    Jay

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    Default Re: Heeling as promoting weather helm

    For little boats where you may be weigh more than the boat moving forward and heeling can get you tacking without doing anything else. In fact, for my skiff I rarely take a rudder.

    For many boats changing the shape of the hull in the water has much more to do with weather or lee helm than playing with the sails. Fluid is denser. Even on my old 18' catboat if I could heel it to weather I could almost dial out the weather helm created by the big ole main stuck out on one side!
    Ben Fuller
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    Default Re: Heeling as promoting weather helm

    I think the shape of the heeled hull has more to do with it. Plank-on-edge cutters developed lee helm as they heeled, because there was more curve in the buttock lines than in the waterlines.



    Such hulls become asymmetric in a quite different way than shallow, beamy boats.

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    Default Re: Heeling as promoting weather helm

    Right you are John! Some of those boats were so narrow that when a romantic couple went below one backed down and the other faced forward going down the companion way ladder!
    Jay

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    Default Re: Heeling as promoting weather helm

    Probably everyone here is correct part of the time with some boats/sail combination and wrong part of the time. In strong wind, I find that heeled sail force is dominant in producing turning moment. Hull symmetry is a factor as well but often not a dominant one. Directional stability of long full keels can mask some otherwise important factors as well. Sailing a triangular course with the rudder tied on center can teach a lot about some of these
    Tom L

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    Default Re: Heeling as promoting weather helm

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Greer View Post
    Right you are John! Some of those boats were so narrow that when a romantic couple went below one backed down and the other faced forward going down the companion way ladder!
    Jay
    Jay, I know you've been around a bit. But surely not for that long! How does such information percolate through the sailing ages?
    -Dave

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    Default Re: Heeling as promoting weather helm

    Quote Originally Posted by rudderless View Post
    Is this effect unappreciated by those who do "roll tacking" and think maximizing the roll is simply about "fanning the sail" for more power rather than it's torquing effect helping to come about
    I don't think it's unappreciated, nor all that strong an effect during roll tacking. As you heel to leeward to start the tack the torquing effect will help the turn. However, the same torquing effect will try to squeeze the boat back upwind too far on the new tack, when the rig will initially be to leeward before you start to roll.

    Boats like Lasers don't need extra turning moment when roll tacking; the hull assymetry is more than enough.

    Secondly, in classes like the Laser the torquing effect in general is well known and widely said to be one reason to heel to windward downwind. If it's recognised downwind it would also be recognised upwind, presumably.

    The torquing effect is also seen in windsurfers. The early Windsurfers had the C of E and CLR too close together and IMO the biggest reason you lean the rig so far to windward is not to balance the heeling effect of the rig, but to use the torquing effect to stop the board from rounding up. This was so striking to sailors in the early days that many non-windsurfers thought it was the key to the speed of boards, but of course the calculations easily show it's not (the lift is not all that great and is subtracted from forward driving forces) as does practical experience - windsurfers actually try to keep the rig as vertical as possible and often suffer from excessive vertical lift.

    Windsurfer coaches also note the "torque" effect gained by moving the rig to the outside (as well as aft) during a tack, which is one more indication that the effect is well known and therefore unlikely to be unappreciated when roll tacking, if it was significant.

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    Default Re: Heeling as promoting weather helm

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris249 View Post
    I don't think it's unappreciated, nor all that strong an effect during roll tacking. As you heel to leeward to start the tack the torquing effect will help the turn. However, the same torquing effect will try to squeeze the boat back upwind too far on the new tack, when the rig will initially be to leeward before you start to roll.

    Boats like Lasers don't need extra turning moment when roll tacking; the hull assymetry is more than enough.

    Secondly, in classes like the Laser the torquing effect in general is well known and widely said to be one reason to heel to windward downwind. If it's recognised downwind it would also be recognised upwind, presumably.

    The torquing effect is also seen in windsurfers. The early Windsurfers had the C of E and CLR too close together and IMO the biggest reason you lean the rig so far to windward is not to balance the heeling effect of the rig, but to use the torquing effect to stop the board from rounding up. This was so striking to sailors in the early days that many non-windsurfers thought it was the key to the speed of boards, but of course the calculations easily show it's not (the lift is not all that great and is subtracted from forward driving forces) as does practical experience - windsurfers actually try to keep the rig as vertical as possible and often suffer from excessive vertical lift.

    Windsurfer coaches also note the "torque" effect gained by moving the rig to the outside (as well as aft) during a tack, which is one more indication that the effect is well known and therefore unlikely to be unappreciated when roll tacking, if it was significant.
    Usually, when I see cat-rigged dinghy sailors heeled to windward, it seems to serve two purposes, neither related to torque. They do this running, when the sail is out to one side, and heeling the boat moves the CE from say 3 ft. off the centerline to maybe half that. At the same time, the asymmetry of the hull heeled to windward encourages lee helm, negating the rest of the weather helm. The result both things is, the skipper uses less helm, and slows the boat less with steering inputs.

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    Default Re: Heeling as promoting weather helm

    I think that movement of the C of E you describe is "torquing" as used here.

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    Default Re: Heeling as promoting weather helm

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Fuller View Post
    For little boats where you may be weigh more than the boat moving forward and heeling can get you tacking without doing anything else. In fact, for my skiff I rarely take a rudder. !
    One of the "finals" used to do when I taught sailing at U of O was set up a short windward/leeward slalom, have the students sail thru it and then do it again after I'd taken their rudders away. Nobody flunked and they all came back with big grins.

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    Default Re: Heeling as promoting weather helm

    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh MacD View Post
    One of the "finals" used to do when I taught sailing at U of O was set up a short windward/leeward slalom, have the students sail thru it and then do it again after I'd taken their rudders away. Nobody flunked and they all came back with big grins.
    One of the skills you must demonstrate just to be allowed on the Royal Yachting Association Dinghy instructor course and part of some of the higher Dinghy courses

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    Default Re: Heeling as promoting weather helm

    Watch a wind surfer sometime. All change in direction is done by moving body weight around
    Elect a clown expect a circus

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    Default Re: Heeling as promoting weather helm

    Oops posted in an old thread, should have been here

    These work the same way as windsurfer. Weight back to bear away, weight forward to luff. Much better than having to put the brake on every time you want to turn.

    https://youtu.be/eJKhrzuftjg

    https://youtu.be/eKuecjDqAL8

    I race a Streaker (12 ft cat rigged dinghy) in light airs downwind one of the fleet lifts his rudder up and weight steers. I used to do it on my International Canoe all the time. All steering by heeling

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    Default Re: Heeling as promoting weather helm

    Quote Originally Posted by Woxbox View Post
    Jay, I know you've been around a bit. But surely not for that long! How does such information percolate through the sailing ages?
    I got that one from L.Francis Herreshoff. He was in favor of proper beam in a vessel as well as the female form!
    Jay

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    Default Re: Heeling as promoting weather helm

    Quote Originally Posted by Bobcat View Post
    Watch a wind surfer sometime. All change in direction is done by moving body weight around
    Depends on the board and wind. It's certainly not all; moving the sail fore and aft is about as common and in some boards and conditions it's far more important.

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    Default Re: Heeling as promoting weather helm

    Quote Originally Posted by tink View Post

    These work the same way as windsurfer. Weight back to bear away, weight forward to luff. Much better than having to put the brake on every time you want to turn.

    https://youtu.be/eJKhrzuftjg

    https://youtu.be/eKuecjDqAL8
    They're great boats, but they do appear to be quite slow to tack and turn. The same problem occurs with windsurfers. Having no rudder is very efficient in a fairly straight line, but try to get a standard 12'9" racing longboard around the corners as fast as a good dinghy and you get very frustrated!

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    Default Re: Heeling as promoting weather helm

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris249 View Post
    Depends on the board and wind. It's certainly not all; moving the sail fore and aft is about as common and in some boards and conditions it's far more important.

    Point well taken: Moving the mast in any direction changes the CE in relationship to the CLR. So similar to moving around on the board or boat
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    Default Re: Heeling as promoting weather helm

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris249 View Post
    They're great boats, but they do appear to be quite slow to tack and turn. The same problem occurs with windsurfers. Having no rudder is very efficient in a fairly straight line, but try to get a standard 12'9" racing longboard around the corners as fast as a good dinghy and you get very frustrated!
    true, but that is the whole point - balance the boat (not as simple as it sounds - heel, trim, sail, board) and minimise use of the rudder on the straight bits. Use heel and a bit of rudder to get around the corners efficiently.

    After a season of hard sailing my daggerboard is stiff to get up. On short reaches I leave it down because it takes too long to get it up. I get onto the plane quickly but have to use a lot of rudder. If I lift the board the boat steers herself but fighting with the board for 1/3 of the leg up and 1/3 down is slow.

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    Default Re: Heeling as promoting weather helm

    Any such genteel helm tuning went out the window today; I fought an unfamiliar source of wx helm and was glad when I could at least get some response with the rudder turned 45 degrees to finish coming about. That boat has pretty much incurable wx helm anyway which I remedy with a tiller dampener to hold it at maybe 15-20 degree deflection. Today big gusts made me luff the sail at times, which which made the still filled aft end of sail into a mega windvane, esp when coming about.

    I realize this brings to mind other ways to deal with it, but it is just a dorky rubber dinghy with sailkit and way over it's stated wind limit with the tiller dampener failing. I was skeptical of the cautious stated wind limit because Europe lets them post a low one for free, but makes them do exhaustive expensive certification to claim competence at a decent amount of wind and wave.

  22. #22

    Default Re: Heeling as promoting weather helm

    The amount of "windward" heel needed to balance the rudder going dead downwind in a Laser is very little, nowhere near enough to bring the centre of effort directly overhead. This shows the hull shape has a big steering effect.

    Going into a roll tack doesn't require any heel as the boat naturally has some weather helm even sailed dead upright. Of course a little heel will help promote the turn.

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    Default Re: Heeling as promoting weather helm

    I suppose our trig West Pointer most succinctly bred has a partial point and he can happily sail in a soldier's breeze.

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    Default Re: Heeling as promoting weather helm

    Uffa Fox wrote about sailing a replica of a plank-on-edge cutter. He said it developed its best speed heeled rail under, and developed so much lee helm at that rate of heel that his hand was under water on the tiller as well.

    In any case, the yawing force has nothing to do with the development of jibs. Many boats balance perfectly well without jibs. They are structurally simpler than a mast standing up in the bow, but prior to jibs, there was not problem with balancing rigs. Take, for example, this replica of the Matthew:


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    Default Re: Heeling as promoting weather helm

    Quote Originally Posted by johnw View Post
    Uffa Fox wrote about sailing a replica of a plank-on-edge cutter. He said it developed its best speed heeled rail under, and developed so much lee helm at that rate of heel that his hand was under water on the tiller as well.

    In any case, the yawing force has nothing to do with the development of jibs. Many boats balance perfectly well without jibs. They are structurally simpler than a mast standing up in the bow, but prior to jibs, there was not problem with balancing rigs. Take, for example, this replica of the
    Commpletely off topic but I remember that something like six weeks after leaving Bristol Matthew had only made ten miles progress into the Bristol Channel. Not surprising on of the first steam ships came from Bristol.

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    Default Re: Heeling as promoting weather helm

    Much less likely to be weatherbound in port.

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    Default Re: Heeling as promoting weather helm

    Quote Originally Posted by johnw View Post
    In any case, the yawing force has nothing to do with the development of jibs.
    He was talking about Greek triremes, huge ships that only have skinny oars as rudders. They have horrible rudder authority, so have a small sail on the bow, much like your photo. But for a thousand years 700bc - 300ad this mini sail was generally not used as an assisting forward driver to the main, as is often mis-depicted. Rather it was turned broadside to the wind to give more or less lee pointing effect to balance the wx pointing from the huge main. At least this is according to Stephen Ressler, Ph.D. United States Military Academy, West Point.



    The last one above is Roman, whose influence in modern technology and law is massive. Maybe in the ensuing dark ages their jib/helm approach was discarded, because without oars the manpower could focus on balancing the whole sail set for helm rather than one convenient "jib". Anyway this landlubber professor did seem to lay a gaffe where I believe he said while triremes could sail 11 degrees from broadside into the wind, modern boats can sail 22. Maybe he was thinking about modern boats being able to sail within 22 degrees into the apparent wind.

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    Default Re: Heeling as promoting weather helm

    Viking ships had no real problem with weather helm even with one sail. And jibs didn't appear until about 1600, so they had nothing to do with triremes, therefore he must be talking about the forward square sails and not be aware of the difference.

    Usually, when we talk about how close a vessel can sail to the wind, we talk about the angle between the direction of the wind and the course of the vessel. That angle, for most modern boats, is about 45 degrees, for an older type like a Friendship sloop, more like 55 degrees. a 6 meter, more like 35 degrees. He seems to have been talking about an angle that shows how much closer to the wind than a beam reach a boat can sail, and his numbers are still wrong, at least for fore-and-aft rigged vessels.

    He's using the wrong language to talk about how the sails act, which makes me wonder if he's really studied how sailing vessels work at all. A square-rigged trireme couldn't heel much without sinking, because the holes for the oars would go under. How the vessels were loaded would have a quite substantial effect on their helm, which is perhaps why they needed a foresail to get the balance right. Viking ships balanced fine, as do the replicas, with a single rudder no bigger than the ones shown on the Roman vessels. Probably they require better attention to trim when being loaded.

    I have a book at home that has a chapter about the ships of Columbus written by a museum curator. As you read his entry, it becomes evident that he's looking at the hull back to front, and describes the lines at the stern as the lines at the bow. Sometimes, people who set themselves up as experts are, well, not. I'm sure the West Pointer has a PhD in history, but I don't think he knows much about sailing.

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    Default Re: Heeling as promoting weather helm

    First of all, it is not about the foresail solving some inherent helm problem. The ancient foresail is "power steering", but it only works in one direction - more or less leeward. So you would want to design the rest of the rig to counteract that - to slightly windward pointing so you get assist for either turn. Then this huge boat with 200 on board (none slaves) could be steered and sail handled simply by the 10 sailors https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olympias_(trireme)#Crew .

    They didn't have "rudders" with proper tiller or wheel linkage; it is crude and exhausting to rely on oar steering alone. Say there are 2 sailors to man the steering oars around the clock, then 5 for adjusting the main, then 3 for the front sail "steering". It's a quite simple and elegant starting solution, especially in those fierce named offshore winds which I have experienced at times:



    For ancient sailing it is only logical to measure your progress against a baseline perpendicular to the wind. It seemed miraculous to make any headway against the wind, and at most you would make a few degrees, so why would you talk about 80 degrees instead of 10 degrees. Every degree made a huge difference - if you advanced from 7 to 11 that was supremely meaningful just like those numbers are more proportionately indicative than 83 to 79.

    Obviously I knew about the modern conceit of measuring degrees from the wind - 22 off of apparent may be 45 from true. We use this convention because modern boats point so good, but in any case folks can do the math when the reference point is explained. Anyway, this is about broad historical views, more poetic and metaphorical than literal engineering handoffs.

    The Army professor possibly made another landlubber gaffe with all kinds of force vector diagrams that did not consider perpendicular sail lift. I think his analysis was simply naive rather than the usual Bernoulli wars between that theory vs conservation of momentum. Actually lift can only be explained by conservation of momentum AND conservation of energy (= Bernoulli) AND conservation of mass (counterintuitive math-only theory). They 98% overlap but have a few unique insights.

    P.S. Any summer visitor to Greek isands probably knows the Meltemi winds that lead to ferry cancellations. But I'd like to give a shout out to the Greek airline tycoon Stelios who made sure our visit to St Tropez wasn't ruined by the Mistral which shut down the port. I had noticed a last minute absurdly cheap private cabin passage on his new ship for $15 per day, which turned out to be leftover space on a shakedown cruise by his family and friends. The Mistral was just about stripping the paint off the ship, but he found a remote sheltering port and hired private transportation for us cheapskates. I heard him rating visible ships and coastal real estate with his Norwegian captain one quiet morning aboard.

    P.P.S. On my only name dropping post I have to add that the US president is staying tonight one block from where I type, and if they have a rear facing bathroom window it looks directly at me and almost nothing else. Streets are all blocked for security, and thus trapped I have excess time to type blather. Traffic din is weirdly silent, so I will take a peek for arriving large vehicles.
    Last edited by rudderless; 11-03-2017 at 08:00 PM.

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    Default Re: Heeling as promoting weather helm

    I'm not sure where you got the impression that I didn't know how these boats were steered. As I pointed out, the Vikings had the same sort of steering oar, and did not need multiple sails.



    Crews sailing modern replicas have had no trouble steering single-sailed Viking ships with a single steering oar, so the problem the forward sail is solving isn't steering oars.

    Last edited by johnw; 11-03-2017 at 08:14 PM.

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    Default Re: Heeling as promoting weather helm

    Thanks John, I really do respect and appreciate most of your posts and probably don't show it enough. I hadn't thought of the Vikings even with my solely Norge heritage documented for 600 years. Although Wiki-wisdom sez at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Longship#Rudder

    Modern facsimiles are reported to steer quite well but require a very large amount of physical effort compared to the modern fore and aft tiller.
    Anyway here I found a random snippet of the boating portion of this course. It was the first point where I had questions about his otherwise solid sounding chat in 2 courses, including one on science of the world's greatest structures. I hear West Point was originated to be exclusively an engineering school because all battles were expected to be addressed by defensive border fort construction, so I bet the land focused discussions are more educated in spite of the popularized tone.

    Last edited by rudderless; 11-03-2017 at 10:12 PM.

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    Default Re: Heeling as promoting weather helm

    Quote Originally Posted by johnw View Post
    ... but prior to jibs, there was not problem with balancing rigs. Take, for example, this replica of the Matthew:

    The observer will note that the sails are backwinded and the ship is running on engine.
    Someday, I'm going to settle down and be a grumpy old man.

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    Default Re: Heeling as promoting weather helm

    Quote Originally Posted by rudderless View Post
    Thanks John, I really do respect and appreciate most of your posts and probably don't show it enough. I hadn't thought of the Vikings even with my solely Norge heritage documented for 600 years. Although Wiki-wisdom sez at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Longship#Rudder



    Anyway here I found a random snippet of the boating portion of this course. It was the first point where I had questions about his otherwise solid sounding chat in 2 courses, including one on science of the world's greatest structures. I hear West Point was originated to be exclusively an engineering school because all battles were expected to be addressed by defensive border fort construction, so I bet the land focused discussions are more educated in spite of the popularized tone.

    So, if the rudders were effective, the ability to steer with the sails was intended to solve a different problem. They might have taken some stress off the helmsman, but I suspect this was a side benefit. Long, narrow hulls act as a foil in the water, and making the hull deeper at the bow or stern can have a large effect on how the boat steers. This is what I mean about the trim of the vessel. You could be a lot less careful about trim if you could adjust the amount of lee or weather helm In addition, the second mast would make the vessel more maneuverable. For a merchant ship with a small crew, that's a big advantage coming into port. For warships, making the vessel less trim sensitive may have been the big advantage.

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    Default Re: Heeling as promoting weather helm

    Quote Originally Posted by johnw View Post
    For warships, making the vessel less trim sensitive may have been the big advantage.
    I would suspect your comment on short-handed merchant ship applications were probably more of the driving force behind the development of multiple masts and divided sail plans. Ship-to-ship warfare up to the late fifteenth century (and actually well past that) mostly consisted of grappling whips together and commencing as if on land with sword, bow and club. By the time firepower actually became an effective naval warfare tool, multi-masted ships were well established, so while I don't think it was a driving force, it certainly allowed the ships to be manouvered by fewer men, allowing it to be "fought" with the greater share of the crew.

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    Default Re: Heeling as promoting weather helm

    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh MacD View Post
    I would suspect your comment on short-handed merchant ship applications were probably more of the driving force behind the development of multiple masts and divided sail plans. Ship-to-ship warfare up to the late fifteenth century (and actually well past that) mostly consisted of grappling whips together and commencing as if on land with sword, bow and club. By the time firepower actually became an effective naval warfare tool, multi-masted ships were well established, so while I don't think it was a driving force, it certainly allowed the ships to be manouvered by fewer men, allowing it to be "fought" with the greater share of the crew.
    I don't think the Med had much fighting under sail until the development of cannon.

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