History of reaching
I was wondering about the history of reaching.
I guess the first sailor on earth just put up a sheet of cloth and felt the wind blow into it. He made a sail out of it and there was the first sailboat, ready to be pushed across the lake.
This is how I thought sailboats worked when thinking about it as a child. But how could boats sail other courses than plain downwind?
I still don't fully understand how lift works, and I wondered: when and how did man discover that you could also sail perpendicular to the wind, even close hauled? Or did one have to wait for the wind to blow in your desired direction in earlier times?
For example, in Virgil's Aeneis, book 4, Aeneas (the hero) seeks to flee from Carthage and it's queen Dido, to Rome. He had to sail northeast to get from current Tunisia to Rome, "amidst of north winds" ("mediis properas aquilonibus ire per altum", v.311)
Was this at all possible back then?
PS. Here you can find a map of the Phoenician empire with Carthage and Rome: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/9/9b/Carthaginianempire.PNG