Can you define earlier times ?
I wish i knew enough about sails to define the rig of this specific Dhow. It looks square (to me
) and not the bastard lateen expected in these historic ships. I wonder if this one can sail 'against' the wind, using the 'beating', a series of 'tacks' executed in a zigzag mode.
Square sails achieve faster speeds but only travel with the wind by the back (before wind, they say). They have to ponder in their route to reach a determined destination; in such way that, as is said, Cabral 'found' Brazil due to his having to sail far to West to then turn around to touch the Cape, on his way to India, whilst seeking favourable winds.
But if contrary winds constituted a serious problem for tall sailing ships, total wind absency was even lethal, when they were caught in the middle of the Ocean. The (only) alternative was to tow the ships, using their own rowing boats, to either a wind blowing area or a favourable position when in combat.
I bring this appendix to attention as, by coincidence (or not), the Dhow you posted looks as being towed, with the waters (and wind) so calm and a rowing boat right in front at close distance.
May i attach pictures of an example of lateen sail used over here, in this case a deep waters fishing boat specimen exclusive to my home town. Having disapeared from circulation in the fifties to give place to motorization, the locals built a fully functional replica totally faithfull to original techniques. This lateen sail version is called 'pendão' (pennant) due to the manner it pends from the mast, held by a huge spar.