Originally Posted by svrodeorm
As for the Viking era longships, I believe we have to go well into the 20th centuery to find faster and more efficient sailing craft. The terribly top heavy and notoriously slow and non weatherly crafts of the Spanish, Portuguese etc. could not even compare. ......
It is good not to exaggerate
Yes longboats were quite advanced regarding the X century but stating that no more efficient sailboat were designed till the XX century just does not make sense. If it was the case all countries would be using them till the XX century.
There were along the history
boats that fulfilled many functions. The Drakkars where essentially raiding boats with very little load carrying capacity. The boats that the Portuguese used were basically of two types, the Caravela, the best upwind sailboat of its time that come from the Arab and med tradition and the Nau, essentially a ship with a huge cargo capacity, a very good stability and able to carry a huge number of cannons, giving it a huge fire power.
Basically the Caravelas were used to cartograph the winds on the Atlantic and when the trade
winds were established the bigger and heavier boats with not good upwind potential could transport huge amounts of cargo.
Along the history there has been many amazing sailboats, or rowing/sailboats, like the Drakkars. Drakkars were great boats and very adapted to the use they were developed for as many other boats through the history, from the Roman triremes to the Venetian Galé to the fast sloops of the XVIII century or the Cutters from the XIX century, not to mention the Ships of the line of the XVIII century or the tea Clippers.
All great boats that fulfilled different needs. Some were a lot faster than the Drakkars while rowing, other much faster and better upwind, many more seaworthy
and only on very special wind
conditions could a Drakkar be faster downwind (or that type of boat) at the cost of a very little loading ability and no ability to carry big cannons.
Boats very similar to Drakkars were used in different countries on the medieval ages and a bit after as auxiliary navy
vessels. In Portugal
and on the Muslim coast of Africa
they were called Fustas and they were used basically for the same Vikings used the Drakkars, for raiding and piracy
, or to fight against piracy
. If the Drakkars (exact model) would be better for that you could be sure that they would be using Drakkar copies.