17th Century Sailing Ship

The 17th Century Sailing Ship was very fascinating, or at least I would have thought so. It would be hard for me to detail every single ship there was but I will try to do my best.

Generally, in this period, the ships were much faster compared to, say the 15th and 16th centuries. Although that was in a way, good since it allowed for speedier travels, they were also more dangerous!

Another important thing to note is that sailing ships from every corner of the world started to ply the oceans.

If you think about it, we have come a long way since they first started sailing and needless to say, they served different purposes. I mean it was hard to think of sailing as a recreational or competitive sport as it is today. Who would have thought? Okay, now lets move on.

The very first sailing ship to be built in America during this period was the Pinnace Virginia. It was first noted in southern Maine in the very first decade of the 17th century and was recorded in the Fort St. George as well as the Popham Colony.

The beginning of the war between the Dutch and British caused them to make it their top priority to monopolize the trading routes and this led to them dominating the ship designing and construction. This meant that merchant sailing ships were now the primary focus of these countries.

In the beginning, the Dutch were producing ships that were far superior to the British. There were records, which noted that the ships that belonged to the Dutch were “so easy to sail” and used a crew size that was only a third in size compared to that of the British.

It is obvious that with more crew members, more had to be paid in terms of food and other provisions. As a result, the British produced the East Indianman, which is not only big but also expensive. It was their way of competing with the Dutch for a slice of the India and Spice Islands trade. Another good example of a 17th Century Sailing Ship would be the Mayflower, which was known as a Pilgrim Ship. In the year 1620, the ship sailed from Plymouth harbour, Britain to New England, America.

As I had mentioned earlier, the ships of this period were considered to be more dangerous and this is proven by the fact that at least half of its passengers perished in their very first winter season in America.

In another example, a new Swedish warship by the name of the Vasa had capsized and sunk. This took place in her maiden voyage in 1628 in the Stockholm harbour. The main reason for this was due to the design of the ship in itself. It was said that it was constructed too narrow to hold her length.

In addition, the heavy guns on both the upper and lower decks played a role in this tragic event.

I hope you have had a good insight to the 17th Century Sailing Ships in brief. If there was anything that we learnt from this, it would be that the design of the ships were vital for it to be effective.

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