Best Defense

Would it be possible to construct an aircraft carrier entirely of wood?

There is an inherent size limit on wooden ships.


No, according to that Swedish expert in traditional ship rigging I was quoting the other day. He says there is an inherent size limit on wooden ships: “Beyond about 50 meters, wooden hulls would break their backs, wooden masts would snap, or rigs would fail.” 

(Tom note: Yes, wooden ships longer than 50 meters have been built, but many were barges and such. Actual wooden sailing ships longer than 50 meters often had problems with sagging and hogging and so leaked.)

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at @tomricks1

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