This captivating book examines the author's interest in sailing ships that span 3,000 years from the Bronze Age to present. In his extensive design career, Mudie became fascinated by the design and building standards he saw in vessels of antiquity. Working from re-creations of ancient vessels and modern sailing ships, Mudie discusses the shapes and purposes of each, explaining why they were designed and built as they were, the construction methods and materials used, and how the ships performed in a variety of conditions. Detailed "walkthroughs" of the hulls provide insights to the ships' layouts and working conditions. For the more technically minded, there are details of rigging, ballasting, weight distribution, and performance.