History of Sailing Blog


My name is Han, 66 years of age, born in Rotterdam as the last offspring of a long line of fishermen, grown up by the sound of riveting-hammers on the nearby shipyard.

My sailor's career started on a seagoing tug, after which I sailed a number of rich people's yachts from Holland, and also some from England, to destinations around the Mediterranean, which earned me a good life and a boat of my own. Followed a list of landlubber's jobs, because I wanted to be a reasonably good father; but, as an amateur, I used to sail a lot on friend's boats and/or yachts. Also, during five consecutive years, I acted as sailing teacher/instructor in summer-camps for youngsters. My last "sailor's" job was as harbourmaster of a yacht-harbour in Holland, where I also taught and instucted.

Now retired, I live in Brittany, France.

To my everlasting chagrin I can't sail any more, caused by health-problems. To compensate for that, I like to write on this site.

Best Regards,
Han

See Han's History of Sailing forum so that you can ask questions on Old Sailing Ships and Sailing History. A great resource!


Han's Posts

Click below to see Han's blog posts:

I wish you all, and Alex in particular, a very happy New Year and many thereafter... 
But this must be a farewell. I'm 69 now, just been hospitalized with more coming this month. I'm tired to the bone and have to end my regular involvement …

The Pacific Proa 
I've spent some time considering which vessel (including it's builders and sailors) to honour as the last one in this blog, and chose for one of the oldest …

Frisian eeltrade in London 
In my article on the Lemsteraak (also called palingaak = eel-barge) I mentioned this type of ship had a berth in London. The title-picture is of that berth …

The Spritsail rig. 
Without doubt the spritsail rig is, next to lateen rig and junk rig, one of the oldest types of fore-and-aft rig; one of the earliest depictions of it …

Wars at sea: the ships of the line. 
With the introduction of cannon aboard ships, see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naval_artillery_in_the_age_of_sail , the tactics changed from random clashes …

Viking longships and knorrs. 
The Vikings were, apart from their other qualities, excellent shipwrights and sailors. They sailed south and east along Europe's coasts as far as the Black …

Sculling single-oared. 
At the end of my article on the corrach, which was meant to be the first part in a series about historical sailing, I promised to come back later in history; …

The St. Brendan legend. 
St. Brendan was an Irish monk, surnamed The Traveller, who allegedly sailed (as the first European, some 500 years before the Vikings and 900 years before …

The Anglo-Norman ships of the Cinque Ports. 
This site has demonstrated that many people nowadays are interested in shipping in the Middle Ages. Early in these series I chose to describe the cog as …

The art of manoeuvring Venetian gondola's. 
Look at these crafty skippers, and admire their skills in these narrow canals. At 2 minutes and 43 seconds you see a few seconds of sculling: …

Exotic sailing ships: felucca, dhow and junk. 
The ancient exotic ships sailing past in this article all have had, in one way or another, a strong influence on north-western European shipbuilding and …

Why are the Headsails the most important sails? 
As Alex regularly points out on this site, the staysail, and in particular the genoa, provides the main source of propulsion, especially on close-hauled …

Docking: silted tidal channels, into the wind and Ship's Camels. 
The two Dutch V.O.C. main ports were Flushing, to be reached by the deep Wester Scheldt and mostly downwind, and Amsterdam, where the situation was quite …

Ice Sailing and Beach Sailing 
Complementary to Alex's article on ice sailing in Extreme Sailing, I researched it's history and came to the origins, 1800 BC in Egypt. A Pharaoh then …

Duyfken, first to chart part of Australian coast. 
As I mentioned on SailTube, there's more to know about this ship and it's replica. Please look at the following sites: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duyfken, …

The Lemsteraak and the Freedom of the Seas. 
The title-picture of my blog and the picture above show a Lemsteraak; one of the figureheads of the great number of Dutch round-bottom seaworthy fishermen. …

A big and a small American racer, and the famous J-class. 
One famous schooner had a, after more than 150 years, still resounding name: America. It was launched in 1851 and won the Cup which was named after her: …

The fore-and-aft rig. 
As compared with the square rig, the fore-and-aft-rig (to be abbreviated from now on to faa-rig) is much less complicated and easier to handle by a smaller …

The Lugger rig. 
One of the subjects maritime historians fight about is the origin of the lugger rig. See, for example, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lugger , where the …

On the possible origins of the wooden hull. 
In contrast with the skin-on-frame-boats (coracle, currach and kayak) which we've read about in the first two articles, the development of the wooden hull …

Preface to "History of Sailing" blog. 
This series of articles, based on the book "The Ship" by Björn Landström, tries to give you an impression of the development of sailing ships and sailing. …

The last real square-rigged ships in the 18th., 19th. and 20th. centuries. 
At the second half of the 18th. century the hull of the sailing ship had been developed from the galleon to it's almost ultimate shape, at least below …

Need for speed and violence led to elegance: the Dutch Yacht and the Pinnace. 
Several factors incited the Dutch at the end of the 15th. century to develop small, shallow-draught, fast, seaworthy and easily manoeuvrable, close-to-the-wind …

The Baltic trade routes and growing Dutch influence: the Fluyt. 
About the same time the Hanseatic League weakened, an important shortcut for the route from the North- to the Baltic Sea, the Limfjord, silted up. Because …

Arabic and Iberian infusion: lateen sail and the Armada Invencible. 
Standing like the dwarf on Orion's shoulders, it is not only possible to look forward, but also backward; this time not in the scientific sense, but in …

A new development: Hanseatic trade and the cog. 
With the Viking's powers dwindling, trade became the economic flywheel on the North- and Baltic Seas and along northwestern-Europe's Atlantic coasts. Of …

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