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Schooners, brigantines and barques, and the clippers which could reach speeds of over 17 knots – the tall ships sailed the world’s oceans, carrying cargoes from one continent to another, the fastest of them sometimes covering several hundred miles in a day. How were they able to harness the natural force of the wind to such effect, and to cope with storms and even hurricanes, and shipping routes from the Pentland Firth to the seas around Cape Horn?

Naval architect Dennis Davidson examines the physics of sail power, and former boatbuilder Len Wilson look into the story of the ships themselves and their sailing rigs.

You can watch this free event from here, through the YouTube link below, or if you’d like to join questions and discussion, you can also go to the Science Festival’s YouTube channel

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