The Age of Sail (15th-19th centuries) has long past but we still enjoy seeing beautiful sailboats moving on the water sailed by modern day yachtsmen and women. Such elegance and poise as they cleave through the waves!

However, in a move to get away from fossil fuels and to help curb the rate of climate change, not to mention a reduction in operating costs, sailing cargo ships are making a comeback! We now have advanced engineering skills and many technological advances to make this possible and efficient. The first wind assisted cargo ship, the Canopée, launched in 2022.
Here are some wonderful designs to celebrate sailing ships! Shown above is the amazing wire wrapped pirate sailing ship pendant tutorial by Erika Pal of WireArtTutorials.

The gorgeous yacht pendant necklaces in sterling silver and gold plate shown beloware made with gemstones as the sailing boat's hull! The designer is UK based HenrykaJewellery.

It takes a creative eye to see possibilities in cultured (manmade) sea glass. I just love these sailboat earrings by Damian of BeyondBeadsDesign

This beautifully hand carved sailboat pendant is by husband and wife team, Fabian and Nicoleta of GatewayAlpha.


The incredible beadwoven sailing ship brooch tutorial shown above is by Veronica of LeBdiBerenice. Veronica makes many unique beadwork designs. Do pop by her shop.

This crochet pattern for sailing boats by Alena of FunnyRabbitToys. It can be used as wall decor for a nautical theme. Possibly as a large brooch as well. Amigurumi fans will love her shop!

This crochet yacht pattern can be used as decor or the basis for pot holders. The designer is Kate of LittleOwlsHut. She too has many adorable crochet patterns. 

How an 18th Century Battleship Works

I remember the tall ships which came to Halifax, Nova Scotia in 2004, back when I used to live there. One of the most spectacular was the Japanese Kaiwo-Maru (shown below), one of the world's largest modern sailing vessels. The ship is a regular participant of sailing events and is used as a training vessel for merchant marine cadets. I was in awe to watch dozens of these barefoot cadets climb up to the yard arms to release the sails when they were ready to leave!

Picture Source

The long nautical history of such ships has influenced even jewelry makers. Some of the knots used come from those used on board sailing ships (see links below) such as the Turk's Head knot, sometimes known as the sailor's knot.

These old sailing vessels typically had about 26 miles of rope! Just the amount of rope used to control ONE sail is staggering, considering how many sails are on board. 

Watch the amazing 3D animation below of how an eighteenth century sailing battleship works by Jake O'Neal of Animagraffs.

The poop deck is not what small boys would like to think!

What amazed me was how many crew members they could cram into a small ship like this - Admiral Nelson's flagship, the Victory (video), was only 187 feet long. At the Battle of the Trafalgar (1805), there were 820 men and boys on board. Most of the men were gunners as a team was needed for each canon.

Naval cadets were known as midshipmen and they were typically teenagers. Admiral Nelson started in the navy at age 13.  There were even younger boys usually orphans or from poor families, were aged 12-14 and sometimes as young as 10. They were selected for their speed and small stature so that they could maneuver in tight spaces. The task of these powder monkeys was to deliver the small bags of gunpowder from the main store deep in the bowels of the ship. Sometimes women were also powder monkeys - there is evidence women served on board British naval ships at the Battle of the Nile (1798). 

Many of the phrases we use today have a nautical origin . A few examples : 

Pipe down 
Quiet down - from the signal from the boatswain or bosun's pipe, to let the men know to go below deck to sleep.

Tide over
Making do on what we have until more is available - from when there is no wind, the ship having to float with the tide and wait for the wind to return.

Feeling blue
Sad - from the blue flags and the painting of blue lines around ships which have lost their captains or officers at sea.

Taken aback
Startled - from when the ship sails are suddenly blown back or flattened against the masts.

Toe the line
Conform to policies - from when British Navy crew members, at inspection, had to be barefoot and at attention with their toes up to a line (seam of planks). 

Long shot
Lucky occurrence - the old guns (canons) of sailing ships were notoriously inaccurate, so if the cannonball fired from a long distance hit the target, it was a considered a lucky strike.

Slush Funds
Monetary reserve - from the grease the ship's cooks would skim off the top of meat stews and saved to sell to tallow (candle) makers. Such smelly candles were used by poorer folks who could not afford beeswax candles. This slush fund was kept separate from ship's accounts and was used to buy small luxuries for the crew.

Before You Go:

 jewelry making supplies


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Original Post by THE BEADING GEM