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Swedish skate sailing history

Copyright © 1996-2009 Anders Ansar. All rights reserved. You are welcome to use pictures and words as long as you include a link to my pages.

I am sure the Vikings skate sailed here in Sweden some 1200 years ago. Bone skates, made from a particular part of the cow's skeleton, have been found at Viking settlements and they were good sailors. Those skates were not sharp so unless they had harp ones they could probably only sail downwind.

When not sailing with those skates the are thought to have propelled themselves with one or two poles with sharp ends.

[Three generations
                of skate sails]
The photo shows three generations of skate sails

Left. Around 1880 a sail shaped like a parallel trapezoid was developed. The sailor stood on the leeward side of the sail which was rigged on bamboo poles. He sheeted the sail with a sheet connected to the lower front corner. Top speed around 70 km/h (45 mph).  Comment: Rather bad control of sail with the sheet.

Middle. At the beginning of this century a five corner shape was developed. It enabled the sailor to control a larger sail area. Top speed around 100 km/h (60 mph). 
Comment: Good sail control as the sailor grips the rig with both hands and the rig rests on his shoulder..

To the right. The stand inside wing skate sail. Top speed is around 120 km/h (75 mph). Comment: The great performance is mainly due to the total low air resistance as the sailor is inside the wing instead of outside as in the other designs.

The last links to my pages in the Skate sailing index are:

Back to Skate sailing index, where you find some links to others pages at the end.
The best tactical compass for sail boats? You see the wind shifts directly on the compass! No figures to read, write or compare. Can it get simpler?  The position of the white pointer directly shows where the direction of the wind is between best lift and worst header, in oscillating wind shifts. Picture on to the right is an animation. 

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Modified July 2009. Counter: 4891.