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Sailing Collection

History Archive - Sailing Collection

In the 21st century, most sailing represents a form of recreation or sport. However, until the mid of the 19th century, sailing ships were the primary means for marine travel, a period known as the Age of Sail (1571-1862). Many of our collections are centered around maritime exploration and adventure and prominently feature the topic of sailing.

The age of sail runs roughly from the Battle of Lepanto in 1571, the last significant engagement in which oar-propelled galleys played a major role, to the Battle of Hampton Roads in 1862, in which the steam-powered ironclad CSS Virginia destroyed the sailing ships USS Cumberland and USS Congress, demonstrating that the advance of steam power had rendered sail power in warfare obsolete. The Suez Canal, in the Middle-East, which opened in 1869, was impractical for sailing ships, and made steamboats faster on the European-Asian sea route.

The period between 1850 and the early 20th century when sailing vessels reached their peak of size and complexity is sometimes referred to as the "Golden Age of Sail". During this time the efficiency and use of commercial sailing vessels was at its peak-immediately before steamboats started to take trade away from sail. By 1873, the Age of Sail had definitely ended, with HMS Devastation (1871), commissioned in 1871. HMS Devastation was the first class of ocean-going battleships that did not carry sails.

Sailing ships sometimes continued to be an economical way to transport bulk cargo on long voyages into the 1920s, even if steamships also were used for such transports and became more and more common. Sailing ships do not require fuel or complex engines to be powered; thus they tended to be more independent from requiring a dedicated support base on the mainland. Crucially though, steam-powered ships held a speed advantage and were rarely hindered by adverse winds, freeing steam-powered vessels from the necessity of following trade winds. As a result, cargo and supplies could reach a foreign port in half the time it took a sailing ship.

However, eventually sailing vessels were pushed into narrower and narrower economic niches and gradually disappeared from commercial trade. Today, sailing vessels are only economically viable for small scale coastal fishing, along with recreational uses such as yachting and passenger sail excursion ships.

Available Books

Book Title Date
Sailing - Narrative of a Journey to the Shores of the Polar Sea Narrative of a Journey to the Shores of the Polar Sea 1823
Sailing - The King of Pirates The King of Pirates 1720
Sailing - The Voyage of the Jeannette Vol. 1 The Voyage of the Jeannette Vol. 1 1884
Sailing - An Account of the Pelew Islands An Account of the Pelew Islands 1788
Sailing - The Eventful Voyage of H.M. Discovery Ship The Eventful Voyage of H.M. Discovery Ship "Resolute" 1851
Sailing - Shipbuilding from its Beginnings Vol. 1 Shipbuilding from its Beginnings Vol. 1 1913
Sailing - The Three Voyages of Captain James Cook Round the World Vol. 2 The Three Voyages of Captain James Cook Round the World Vol. 2 1821
Sailing - Narrative of a Voyage to Senegal Narrative of a Voyage to Senegal 1818
Sailing - Album Pittoresque de la Fregate La Thetis et de la Corvette L'Esperance Album Pittoresque de la Fregate La Thetis et de la Corvette L'Esperance 1828
Sailing - A Voyage of Discovery A Voyage of Discovery 1819
Sailing - The Pirates of Panama The Pirates of Panama 1914
Sailing - Narrative of the United States Exploring Expedition Vol. 3 Narrative of the United States Exploring Expedition Vol. 3 1845
Sailing - A Two Years Cruise off Tierra del Fuego Vol. 2 A Two Years Cruise off Tierra del Fuego Vol. 2 1857
Sailing - Journal of a Second Voyage for the Discovery of a North-West Passage Journal of a Second Voyage for the Discovery of a North-West Passage 1824
Sailing - A Voyage of Discovery, into the South Sea and Beering's Straits Vol. 1 A Voyage of Discovery, into the South Sea and Beering's Straits Vol. 1 1821
Sailing - Journal of a Voyage for the Discovery of a North-West Passage Journal of a Voyage for the Discovery of a North-West Passage 1821
Sailing - Journal of a Cruise Made to the Pacific Ocean Journal of a Cruise Made to the Pacific Ocean 1822
Sailing - The Sinking of the Titanic and Great Sea Disasters The Sinking of the Titanic and Great Sea Disasters 1912
Sailing - The Three Voyages of Captain James Cook Round the World Vol. 4 The Three Voyages of Captain James Cook Round the World Vol. 4 1821
Sailing - Narrative of the Surveying Voyage of H.M.S. Fly Vol. 2 Narrative of the Surveying Voyage of H.M.S. Fly Vol. 2 1847
Sailing - Notes on a Yacht Voyage to Hardanger Fjord Notes on a Yacht Voyage to Hardanger Fjord 1855
Sailing - A Voyage up the Mediterranean in His Majesty's Ship the Swiftsure A Voyage up the Mediterranean in His Majesty's Ship the Swiftsure 1802
Sailing - Entdeckungsreise in die Sudsee und nach der Berings-Strabe Vol. 2 Entdeckungsreise in die Sudsee und nach der Berings-Strabe Vol. 2 1821
Sailing - Historic Ships Historic Ships 1926
Sailing - The Voyage of the Jeannette Vol. 2 The Voyage of the Jeannette Vol. 2 1884
Sailing - A Visit to the Indian Archipelago, in H.M.S. Maeander A Visit to the Indian Archipelago, in H.M.S. Maeander 1853
Sailing - Captain Cook's Three Voyages Round the World Captain Cook's Three Voyages Round the World 1895
Sailing - Voyage de La Perouse Autour du Monde Vol. 1 Voyage de La Perouse Autour du Monde Vol. 1 1797
Sailing - The Cruise of H.M.S. Galatea The Cruise of H.M.S. Galatea 1869
Sailing - The Heart of the Antarctic Vol. 1 The Heart of the Antarctic Vol. 1 1909
Sailing - A Voyage to Terra Australis Vol. 2 A Voyage to Terra Australis Vol. 2 1814
Sailing - Narrative of a Visit to Brazil, Chile, Peru, and the Sandwich Islands Narrative of a Visit to Brazil, Chile, Peru, and the Sandwich Islands 1825
Sailing - A Summer Search for Sir John Franklin A Summer Search for Sir John Franklin 1853
Sailing - A Treatise on Navigation by Steam A Treatise on Navigation by Steam 1828
Sailing - Erdumsegelung der Königl. Schwedischen Fregatte Eugenie Erdumsegelung der Königl. Schwedischen Fregatte Eugenie 1856
Sailing - Journal of a Third Voyage for the Discovery of a Northwest Passage Journal of a Third Voyage for the Discovery of a Northwest Passage 1826
Sailing - Voyage de Francois Pyrard, de Laual Voyage de Francois Pyrard, de Laual 1619
Sailing - A Voyage to Terra Australis [Atlas] A Voyage to Terra Australis [Atlas] 1814
Sailing - A Voyage to Terra Australis Vol. 1 A Voyage to Terra Australis Vol. 1 1814
Sailing - The Last of the Arctic Voyages Vol. 2 The Last of the Arctic Voyages Vol. 2 1855
Sailing - The Three Voyages of Captain James Cook Round the World Vol. 5 The Three Voyages of Captain James Cook Round the World Vol. 5 1821
Sailing - The Voyage of the 'Discovery' Vol. 2 The Voyage of the 'Discovery' Vol. 2 1905
Sailing - The Sea: It's Stirring Story of Adventure, Peril & Heroism Vols. 3 & 4 The Sea: It's Stirring Story of Adventure, Peril & Heroism Vols. 3 & 4 1880
Sailing - The Sea: It's Stirring Story of Adventure, Peril & Heroism Vols. 1 & 2 The Sea: It's Stirring Story of Adventure, Peril & Heroism Vols. 1 & 2 1880
Sailing - Brazil and La Plata; The Personal Record of a Cruise Brazil and La Plata; The Personal Record of a Cruise 1856
Sailing - A Visit to the South Seas, in the United States Ship Vincennes Vol. 2 A Visit to the South Seas, in the United States Ship Vincennes Vol. 2 1832
Sailing - A Voyage of Discovery and Research in the Southern and Antarctic Regions Vol. 1 A Voyage of Discovery and Research in the Southern and Antarctic Regions Vol. 1 1847
Sailing - Shipbuilding from its Beginnings Vol. 2 Shipbuilding from its Beginnings Vol. 2 1913
Sailing - Voyage of the Barracouta to Japan, Kamtschatka, Siberia, China, etc Voyage of the Barracouta to Japan, Kamtschatka, Siberia, China, etc 1859
Sailing - Premier Voyage Autour du Monde Premier Voyage Autour du Monde 1801
Sailing - Narrative of a Voyage Round the World Performed in Her Majesty's Ship Sulphur Vol. 2 Narrative of a Voyage Round the World Performed in Her Majesty's Ship Sulphur Vol. 2 1843
Sailing - A Descriptive and Topographical Guide to Costa Scena A Descriptive and Topographical Guide to Costa Scena 1823
Sailing - The Atlantic Telegraph The Atlantic Telegraph 1865
Sailing - Narrative of a Voyage Round the World Performed in Her Majesty's Ship Sulphur Vol. 1 Narrative of a Voyage Round the World Performed in Her Majesty's Ship Sulphur Vol. 1 1843
Sailing - Narrative of the Voyage of H.M.S. Samarang Vol. 1 Narrative of the Voyage of H.M.S. Samarang Vol. 1 1848
Sailing - Journal of a Cruise Among the Islands of the Western Pacific Journal of a Cruise Among the Islands of the Western Pacific 1853
Sailing - A New Voyage Round the World Vol. 2 A New Voyage Round the World Vol. 2 1830
Sailing - A General History of Pyrates Vol. I A General History of Pyrates Vol. I 1724
Sailing - The Three Voyages of Captain James Cook Round the World Vol. 7 The Three Voyages of Captain James Cook Round the World Vol. 7 1821
Sailing - A Voyage to the South Sea, and Round the World Vol. 1 A Voyage to the South Sea, and Round the World Vol. 1 1712
Sailing - Narrative of the Surveying Voyage of H.M.S. Fly Vol. 1 Narrative of the Surveying Voyage of H.M.S. Fly Vol. 1 1847
Sailing - The Cruise of the Antarctic to the South Polar Regions The Cruise of the Antarctic to the South Polar Regions 1896
Sailing - Narrative of the Expedition of an American Squadron to the China Seas and Japan Vol. 1 Narrative of the Expedition of an American Squadron to the China Seas and Japan Vol. 1 1856
Sailing - A Visit to the South Seas, in the United States Ship Vincennes Vol. 2 A Visit to the South Seas, in the United States Ship Vincennes Vol. 2 1832
Sailing - A General History of Pyrates Vol. II A General History of Pyrates Vol. II 1724
Sailing - An Authentic Narrative of the Loss of the American Brig Commerce An Authentic Narrative of the Loss of the American Brig Commerce 1817
Sailing - Service Afloat Service Afloat 1887
Sailing - The Little Sea Torch: or, True Guide for Coasting Pilots The Little Sea Torch: or, True Guide for Coasting Pilots 1801
Sailing - The Three Voyages of Captain James Cook Round the World Vol. 3 The Three Voyages of Captain James Cook Round the World Vol. 3 1821
Sailing - Narrative of the United States Exploring Expedition Vol. 1 Narrative of the United States Exploring Expedition Vol. 1 1845
Sailing - The Heart of the Antarctic Vol. 2 The Heart of the Antarctic Vol. 2 1909
Sailing - The Sea-Gunner The Sea-Gunner 1691
Sailing - Le Voyage et Nauigation, faict par les Espaignolz es Isles de Mollucques Le Voyage et Nauigation, faict par les Espaignolz es Isles de Mollucques 1525
Sailing - Narrative of the Voyage of H.M.S. Samarang Vol. 2 Narrative of the Voyage of H.M.S. Samarang Vol. 2 1848
Sailing - Narrative of the United States Exploring Expedition Vol. 2 Narrative of the United States Exploring Expedition Vol. 2 1845
Sailing - Voyage of the Prince Albert in Search of Sir John Franklin Voyage of the Prince Albert in Search of Sir John Franklin 1851
Sailing - Narrative of the Expedition of an American Squadron to the China Seas and Japan Vol. 3 Narrative of the Expedition of an American Squadron to the China Seas and Japan Vol. 3 1856
Sailing - Shipbuilding from its Beginnings Vol. 3 Shipbuilding from its Beginnings Vol. 3 1913
Sailing - Magellan's Voyage Around the World Vol. 3 Magellan's Voyage Around the World Vol. 3 1906
Sailing - Magellan's Voyage Around the World Vol. 1 Magellan's Voyage Around the World Vol. 1 1906
Sailing - Narrative of the United States Exploring Expedition Vol. 5 Narrative of the United States Exploring Expedition Vol. 5 1845
Sailing - A Voyage Towards the South Pole Vol. 1 A Voyage Towards the South Pole Vol. 1 1777
Sailing - Narrative of the Voyage of H.M. Floating Dock Narrative of the Voyage of H.M. Floating Dock "Bermuda" 1870
Sailing - A Voyage Towards the South Pole Vol. 2 A Voyage Towards the South Pole Vol. 2 1777
Sailing - A Narrative of the Cruise of the Yacht Maria A Narrative of the Cruise of the Yacht Maria 1855
Sailing - The Three Voyages of Captain James Cook Round the World Vol. 1 The Three Voyages of Captain James Cook Round the World Vol. 1 1821
Sailing - A Voyage to Cochinchina A Voyage to Cochinchina 1806
Sailing - Discours du Voyage des Francois aux Indes Orientales Discours du Voyage des Francois aux Indes Orientales 1611
Sailing - Early Voyages to Terra Australis Early Voyages to Terra Australis 1859
Sailing - After Icebergs with a Painter After Icebergs with a Painter 1861
Sailing - A Voyage Towards the South Pole A Voyage Towards the South Pole 1825
Sailing - Voyage de La Perouse Autour du Monde Vol. 4 Voyage de La Perouse Autour du Monde Vol. 4 1797
Sailing - A Brief Narrative of an Unsuccessful Attempt to Reach Repulse Bay A Brief Narrative of an Unsuccessful Attempt to Reach Repulse Bay 1825
Sailing - The Voyage of the 'Discovery' Vol. 1 The Voyage of the 'Discovery' Vol. 1 1905
Sailing - Voyage de La Perouse Autour du Monde Vol. 2 Voyage de La Perouse Autour du Monde Vol. 2 1797
Sailing - Voyage au Pole Boreal Voyage au Pole Boreal 1775
Sailing - A Voyage Towards the North Pole A Voyage Towards the North Pole 1774
Sailing - Deck and Port, or, Incidents of a Cruise in the United States Frigate Congress to California Deck and Port, or, Incidents of a Cruise in the United States Frigate Congress to California 1850
Sailing - Entdeckungsreise in die Sudsee und nach der Berings-Strabe Vol. 3 Entdeckungsreise in die Sudsee und nach der Berings-Strabe Vol. 3 1821
Sailing - Journal of a Voyage to the Northern Whale-Fishery Journal of a Voyage to the Northern Whale-Fishery 1823
Sailing - Kitab-ı Bahriye [Book of Navigation] Kitab-ı Bahriye [Book of Navigation] 1525
Sailing - Entdeckungsreise in die Sudsee und nach der Berings-Strabe Vol. 1 Entdeckungsreise in die Sudsee und nach der Berings-Strabe Vol. 1 1821
Sailing - The Last of the Arctic Voyages Vol. 1 The Last of the Arctic Voyages Vol. 1 1855
Sailing - Iournael ofte Beschryvinghe van de Wonderlijcke Reyse Iournael ofte Beschryvinghe van de Wonderlijcke Reyse 1644
Sailing - Voyage de La Perouse Autour du Monde Vol. 3 Voyage de La Perouse Autour du Monde Vol. 3 1797
Sailing - A Woman's Journey Round the World A Woman's Journey Round the World 1852
Sailing - The Cruise of the Corwin The Cruise of the Corwin 1917
Sailing - A Voyage of Discovery, into the South Sea and Beering's Straits Vol. 3 A Voyage of Discovery, into the South Sea and Beering's Straits Vol. 3 1821
Sailing - Journal of a Cruise Made to the Pacific Ocean Journal of a Cruise Made to the Pacific Ocean 1815
Sailing - Narrative of the Expedition of an American Squadron to the China Seas and Japan Vol. 2 Narrative of the Expedition of an American Squadron to the China Seas and Japan Vol. 2 1856
Sailing - Atlas Maritimus, or a Book of Charts Atlas Maritimus, or a Book of Charts 1672
Sailing - Narrative of a Voyage, in His Majesty's late ship Alceste Narrative of a Voyage, in His Majesty's late ship Alceste 1818
Sailing - Narrative of a Second Voyage in Search of a North-West Passage Vol. 1 Narrative of a Second Voyage in Search of a North-West Passage Vol. 1 1835
Sailing - Ships and Sailors Ships and Sailors 1898
Sailing - A Voyage of Discovery, into the South Sea and Beering's Straits Vol. 2 A Voyage of Discovery, into the South Sea and Beering's Straits Vol. 2 1821
Sailing - The Principal Navigations, Voyages, Traffiques and Discoveries of the English Nation The Principal Navigations, Voyages, Traffiques and Discoveries of the English Nation 1599
Sailing - The Three Voyages of Captain James Cook Round the World Vol. 6 The Three Voyages of Captain James Cook Round the World Vol. 6 1821
Sailing - Magellan's Voyage Around the World Vol. 2 Magellan's Voyage Around the World Vol. 2 1906
Sailing - A Voyage Towards the South Pole A Voyage Towards the South Pole 1827
Sailing - Account of a Voyage of discovery to the West Coast of Corea Account of a Voyage of discovery to the West Coast of Corea 1818
Sailing - A New Voyage Round the World Vol. 1 A New Voyage Round the World Vol. 1 1830
Sailing - Narrative of the United States' Expedition to the River Jordan and the Dead Sea Narrative of the United States' Expedition to the River Jordan and the Dead Sea 1849
Sailing - Narrative of a Second Voyage in Search of a North-West Passage Vol. 2 Narrative of a Second Voyage in Search of a North-West Passage Vol. 2 1835
Sailing - A Short Narrative of the Second Voyage of the Prince Albert A Short Narrative of the Second Voyage of the Prince Albert 1853
Sailing - A Two Years Cruise off Tierra del Fuego Vol. 1 A Two Years Cruise off Tierra del Fuego Vol. 1 1857
Sailing - A Voyage Round the World A Voyage Round the World 1814
Sailing - South: The Story of Shackleton's Last Expedition South: The Story of Shackleton's Last Expedition 1920
Sailing - A Voyage to the South Sea, and Round the World Vol. 2 A Voyage to the South Sea, and Round the World Vol. 2 1712
Sailing - Narrative of the United States Exploring Expedition Vol. 4 Narrative of the United States Exploring Expedition Vol. 4 1845
Sailing - The Atlantic Telegraph [Chart] The Atlantic Telegraph [Chart] 1865
Sailing - Voyage de La Perouse Autour du Monde Atlas Voyage de La Perouse Autour du Monde Atlas 1797
Sailing - A Voyage of Discovery and Research in the Southern and Antarctic Regions Vol. 2 A Voyage of Discovery and Research in the Southern and Antarctic Regions Vol. 2 1847

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