Close your eyes and think of the word, “cruise.” Certain images probably pop into your head. You might mounds of food stacked on a sea of tables. Perhaps in your mind you can picture hundreds of people gyrating on a cruise ship’s deck, during a late night dance. Most of us associate vessels such as the “Titanic” or the “Love Boat,” with cruises. However, other types of cruises, such as windjammer cruises, can also provide thrilling voyages.
The windjammer, a huge ship that sails and wind power, is used today for pleasure cruising. However, before windjammer cruises existed, windjammers functioned as sailing ships of the 1800s. Equipped with huge steel or iron main bodies (hulls), they were used for hauling cargo. In fact, at that time no other cargo sailing ships were huger than the windjammer!
Windjammers of the past were enormous. Their unique appearance boasted of three, four, or five gigantic masts and square sails. These ships could dislodge many thousand tons of water. Windjammers were less expensive to construct than cargo sailing ships with bodies constructed of wood. This fact was due to three primary reasons:
Iron was sturdier than wood, so as the production of windjammers increased, the costs for producing individual units decreased.
Iron hulls were less costly to preserve than comparable wooden hulls.
Iron hulls consumed less space and could haul more cargo
Windjammer Cruises’ History
Before today’s windjammer cruises, windjammers were primary constructed from the 1870s until the 1890s. They began to lose popularity when iron hulls were substituted with steel hulls. Also, due to the inexpensive costs of coal, steam engines became a more efficient choice for transporting cargo. Furthermore, windjammers shared the disadvantage of other sailing ships. They required a huge crew and their operation was essentially pricey to operate. Additionally, windjammers were unpredictable due to their reliance on good wind conditions.
By the 1930s, prior to the dawn of windjammer cruises, the popularity of windjammers had plummeted, and they were eventually no longer an industry. Eventually, windjammers’ forte became transporting cargo from isolated ports. They were primarily used to transfer the chemical compound nitrate, from South American ports. Also, windjammers were used to transport products such as fertilizer and wool, from remote islands and Australia.
Today, instead of cargo, windjammers haul people on windjammer cruises. During the second half of the 1900s, numerous time-honored schooners with wooden hauls were constructed in the Northeastern U.S., for the windjammer industry. Instead of transporting products such as wood, fish, and oysters, schooners hosted travellers who wanted to experience traveling when sailing ships were kings of the sea. Numerous windjammers with steel bodies were also manufactured in the Caribbean, during the latter half of the 20th century.
Today’s cruises are not exclusive to conventional cruise ships. Windjammer cruises also allow you to relax at sea and travel to mysterious, faraway places.