The origin of sailing

by Les

Why would anyone sail? We really have no way of knowing how the very first sailing vessels developed, but here is one way it could have happened.

Many thousands of years ago, some primitive human found it was easier to drag a piece of firewood in shallow water than across dry land. Wood floats, and the effort of pulling or pushing a log through water is much less than the effort need to drag it across dry land. Of course, it is harder to walk in water than on dry land, so this first experiment must have been made in very shallow water.

Later, someone found that several logs lashed together made a floating platform. The raft came into use. Because it supported people as well as cargo, it could be pushed through the water with poles by people standing or sitting on top. Eventually, someone noticed you could still move a raft when the water was too deep for the poles to reach the bottom. The oar or paddle was invented.

Then someone loaded a raft with bushes piled high, and noticed the raft travelled in the direction of the wind with no effort. So next time they wanted to go where the wind was blowing, they held a branch or a mat up to catch the wind.

LAZINESS TRIUMPHS! And the sailboat is born.