Early humans learned to travel on water before the invention of wheel. One day a man tied some logs together to make the first raft and this invention allowed man to travel on water. The humans that lived close to rivers noticed that wooden logs floated on water, and this gave them the idea for traveling on water, and eventually the dugout boat was invented. Once man understood the principle of a watertight hull, animal hides or the bark of trees were attached to a framework of bamboo or wicker to make simple, small, lightweight boats. The primitive boat builder learned how to add planks to raise the edges of the original dugout canoes, and wooden struts were put in to hold them in place.
Before the sail was invented people used their hands to paddle along in their tiny boats and eventually they devised pushing poles to move their rafts along the rivers. Man eventually redesigned the poles by flattening them and widening it at one end, and now we had the paddle which could be used in deeper waters. This was again ingeniously transformed to become the oar-a-paddle that is fixed on the sides of boats.
A sail is a piece of material extended on a mast to catch the wind and sailing involves ships traveling on water and this is accomplished by using wind power blowing through the ship’s sails in order to drive the boat forward. Sails became a great turning point in maritime history, because it was more difficult to paddle upstream it was found that sails could be used to replace the action of human muscles and this allowed sail boats to embark on longer trips and carry heavier loads.
The Nile river had inherent characteristics that worked out great for boating. The boats that were traveling north, were propelled by the current going into the Mediterranean Sea. When the ships traveled south, they generally had the wind blowing in their direction and this is when they would use their sail. Oars were useful when traveling in either direction to gain more speed. The first sailing vessels were developed by the Egyptians and they used square sails which are best suited for sailing down wind. The first sailing boats were used on the Nile River and they were simple, square-rigged reed ships that featured a single square papyrus sail which was attached to a mast in the middle of the boat.