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Questions tagged [age-of-sail]

For questions set in the historical period dominated by sailing ships, or an analogous historical period in a fictional world. Usually pertains to transportation.

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67 votes
22 answers
9k views

Why would there be any use for sea shanties in space?

I understand that sea shanties were a type of work song, and often used to help sailors operate in sync with each other. They've survived as an art form, but so far as I know they don't have any ...
0 votes
1 answer
73 views

What is the danger zone of a waterfall to aircraft?

In my world, which is similar to that described in this answer, with suspended platforms between 5 and 40 km above the global sea, with 1 ATM at 25km altitude, with a similar gravity and scale height ...
0 votes
1 answer
200 views

Designing a catamaran as workable masted airship for swashbuckling on the maindecks

I am crafting a hybrid power/sailing airship that needs an exterior scene similar to swashbuckling on the main decks among the sails. Putting a mast on an airship with a big round envelope just isn’t ...
8 votes
2 answers
397 views

How should I determine the properties of keels and ether?

I was reading this PDF on the speed of sailing ships, and it occured to me that I need to determine the physics of the flying sailing ships in my world. Being flying sailing ships, there will be no ...
2 votes
5 answers
169 views

Wind Powered Air Sailing Vessel

Using just one fantastical element (a rock that under certain conditions produces a strong buoyant force) how would sail ships in the air be designed? It doesn't need to look like a traditional naval ...
12 votes
6 answers
3k views

How can I make combination weapons widespread in my world?

I'm writing a low fantasy fiction in a XVIII century-tech kind of world. The reason of the setting is that I love early modern muzzleloading weapons, and I think guns can make fantasy more interesting....
4 votes
3 answers
3k views

Would hoofed creatures bother with sails on their ships?

So I am working on a species of large quadrupedal sentient beings at a level of technology similar to 16th century Asia. Specifically I was trying to conjure up an image to what their sailing vessels ...
2 votes
1 answer
150 views

Can I make a functional wingsail out of pre-industrial materials?

Definition of a wingsail, from Wikipedia: A wingsail, twin-skin sail or double skin sail is a variable-camber aerodynamic structure that is fitted to a marine vessel in place of conventional sails. ...
6 votes
6 answers
577 views

What military exploitation is possible of an isolated, barren island by a pre-industrial world?

I've got a world with a long oceanic navigation tradition, but no reliable steam engines. Imagine it's the 1600s in our timeline. There's two superpowers (think two Chinas), and between them an ocean ...
6 votes
2 answers
370 views

Age of sail navigation tools for a planet with a ring

Alright so I have a planet where the locals are about seventeenth century level of technology, meaning sailing ships and single shot black powder weapons are the standard and there is plenty of ocean ...
3 votes
4 answers
282 views

Sail Plan For A Flying Vessel

What precisely is the ideal sail placement for a ship that flies? Anti-Ballast which is basically a rock that pulls up is the key technology here, allowing the construction of a framework (essentially ...
4 votes
1 answer
339 views

What would 17th century warships look like if gunpowder had not been invented?

In our age of sail, more or less every ship used cannons as their primary weapon. However, suppose that gunpowder had not been invented, but sail technology still advanced to the point that massive, ...
5 votes
5 answers
2k views

All the crew of an airship drop dead, how long does it remain airborne?

I’m currently working on a scene for a book where the heroes stumble across a seemingly abandoned Age of sail airship. After a brief investigation they find that the entire crew seems to have ...
2 votes
2 answers
177 views

Age of Sail ship design to face rogue waves?

I'd like to write about the golden age of piracy and this thought came to me: is there a standard way for a 1600's ship to handle a rogue wave, or does this vary by ship design? My inexistent degree ...
3 votes
4 answers
420 views

Sailing Ship Needs to Make a Fast Getaway

Here's the setting I'm working out. The fantasy ship I came up with here (see "Dawn Treader" post at the bottom) needs to leave the harbor in a hurry. A strange "magical" purple ...
6 votes
7 answers
2k views

Fantasy Sailing Ship with Oars Speed and Plausibility

I am looking to fashion a passably believable fantasy ship for a crew of about 30 privateers* (see remark, this could be changed if needed, although I prefer not to have a massive crew in the story). ...
4 votes
1 answer
187 views

Group dynamics, family life and childrearing aboard a generational sailing fleet

Background A while back I posed a scenario of a privately owned nomadic trading fleet that sailed around the world for centuries. A commercial enterprise spanning multiple generations, without any ...
15 votes
11 answers
5k views

Can a low-tech sailing ship tell how deep the water is?

I'm trying to figure out the challenges faced by a low-tech civilization mapping its world. They have access to roughly Renaissance level technology, plus some (not very abundant) magic. One question ...
4 votes
5 answers
341 views

How could wyverns fight effectively if they can't carry stuff around?

So, two nations are in a war, land is off-topic as it's filled with zombies and necromancer zombies. The other logical option is the sea. Now, one nation has these creatures, called wyverns. Wyverns ...
15 votes
7 answers
3k views

Is a privately owned nomadic trading fleet economically viable?

A popular trope with some basis in history is the "travelling merchant", who visits remote villages carrying merchandise both common and rare, and many stories from strange lands. I've got a scenario ...
15 votes
5 answers
1k views

An Aztec ship sails east - where does it land?

Given: An ahistorically powerful and advanced Aztec civilisation, anno late 1400s. A set of circumstances much like the ones that led Columbus west: one mad Aztec convinced the world was rather small ...
5 votes
1 answer
190 views

How feasible is a mobile city that sails across a salt flat?

Imagine a huge salt flat like Bonneville or Salar de Uyuni. Due to other logistical concerns, commerce between the economic powers on either side of the flat is forced travel across it. This has ...
1 vote
8 answers
1k views

Massive naval cannons on age of sail ships?

So in a related question, I asked about cannons vs ships made of treated (magically) hardened, and while answers weren't as helpful as I hoped, comments provided a direction in which I focused my ...
-1 votes
3 answers
254 views

How can my 1.2 km long aircraft carrier catch ships like "Queen Anne's Revenge"? [closed]

Rod Reiss is the name of my fictional aircraft carrier. It's a 1.2 km long, 180 meters wide and 90 meters high slab of metalic foam of an alloy of aluminum, designed to withstand high temperatures. It'...
4 votes
2 answers
273 views

Practicality of a ship-sized twisted-rubber engine

I was considering this answer I wrote: https://worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/a/21374/75 It got me to wondering... if we had a flying sailing ship with a twisted-rubber energy storage device that ...